Know Your Enemy: Pairoj Walks Plank

 

The opening game of the week pitted the Swatcats against the Angels in what was to be an exciting 1-1 draw. Both goalkeepers were the outstanding performers, with Samuel Cunningham in the Korat goal and Michael Falkesgaard for Bangkok making a succession of crucial saves, whilst only being beaten by two superb efforts from Anon Amornlerdsak and Methee Thaweekulkarn respectively. Falkesgaard was truly outstanding though, even keeping out a Leandro Assumpcao penalty. After having watched highlights of his performance, I’m pretty sure his wrists are made of concrete. It’s another disappointing result for Mano Polking, who clearly hasn’t yet settled on a favoured formation or found a way to accommodate Mike Havenaar, who started today, and Nelson Bonilla, who came off the bench at half time.

Champions Buriram were in a good position to take advantage, with their opponents being the visiting Samut Prakarn City. Buriram, still without Modibo Maiga, who hasn’t managed to cement his place in the first team after some lackluster performances, were forced to look elsewhere for goals, and it was left back Korrakot Wiriyaudomsiri who obliged first. The national team star showed the awareness of a seasoned striker in lobbing the Samut Prakarn ‘keeper in the first half, before Pedro Junior added two simple goals in the second half, one provided for him by 16 year old wunderkind  Supanat Muenta, and the other by his older brother Supachok. Incredibly, Buriram still almost managed to throw away their three goal lead. Kyaw Ko Ko firs banged in a deflected effort, before promising winger Picha Autra, who is having an excellent season so far, danced through the defence and finished coolly to make it 3-2. Striker Chayawat Srinarong had a chance to rescue a shock point, but took too much time over his attempted 87th minute finish.

Getting Sunday up and running was the top vs. bottom clash between Prachuap and Chonburi. Bottom club Chonburi took an early lead through Burmese defender Zaw Min Tun after some set-piece defending very uncharacteristic of Prachuap’s solid start to the season. Patrick Cruz should have made it two just moments later but missed an absolute sitter, before Lukian showed sharp reactions to head home after yet more abominable set-piece defending from Prachuap. Such is Chonburi’s lack of confidence at the moment though, that they threw away their lead in the second half. In a week of superb goals, Caion surpassed all others with a sweet volley before Chonburi’s defence switched off to allow 37 year old full back Adul in for a simple goal at the far post. Prachuap almost took the lead through Filiposyan, before Lukian sent the home crowd wild in added time with a powerful header from the other Burmese recruit Sithu Aung. Chanin tried to help Prachuap secure a dramatic late draw by going missing from a late Prachuap free kick, but his blushes were saved by Adnan Orahovac, who headed the ball wide at the death. A big win for Chonburi, who showed the belief in themselves that their talented squad warrants for the first time since their opening day draw with Buriram.

 

 

I mentioned in our last roundup how the sack race had two early leaders, namely Chonburi and Ratchaburi. Well, Ratchaburi came out triumphant, sacking their third coach of 2019 before the tricky home match with Muangthong, who were finally starting to look in decent form after two early league defeats. The famed new manager bounce was in full effect though, with the new man Marco Simone starting by correcting the most obvious mistake of his predecessor by putting Ukrit Wongmeema – a bloke who can actually save and catch – between the sticks in place of the hapless Pairoj. Muangthong apparently have still not learned from their mistakes though, as evidenced by the presence of Adisak in their starting XI. Normally just wasteful in front of his own goal, Adisak ratcheted his ineptitude up a notch by gifting the ball to Ratchaburi in the left back position, while attempting some skills that he is clearly not capable of executing. Steeven Langil robbed him with ease, before crossing for Boli, who headed home from close range. The goal inspired a short period of Ratchaburi dominance in which they managed to grab a second. Nattawut Sombatyotha’s effort was well stopped by Dang Van Lam in the Muangthong goal, but after the Muangthong defence showed no interest in clearing the danger, our old friend Kang Soo-il ghosted in to finish off the job with a tidy side-footed effort. To my surprise, shortly after succumbing to an unexpected third defeat of the season, Muangthong coach Pairoj became the second man out of a job since the start of the 2019 season. He fell on his own sword, having set himself a points target which he fell short of, and resoundingly proving right those of us who suspected he would not be able to handle the expectation and pressure of the Muangthong hot seat. Now, I hear Zico is available…

Trat, as I’ve already touched on in my preview for today’s big game against Port, secured the finest win of the week with a 4-0 annihilation of unbeaten Suphanburi. Lonsona Doumbouya opened the scoring with a calm control and finish from Tatchanon Nakarawong’s cross, before loose marking allowed Bireme Diouf to double the advantage before half time. Adefolarin Durosinmi drilled home a beautiful left footed finish to make it a hattrick of African goalscorers, but Doumbouya made sure there was no doubt who the main man is with his second and Trat’s fourth in the 69th minute.

 

 

After a slow start to the season, PTT Rayong now seem to be separating themselves from the teams who will be scrapping it out in a relegation fight. Port are just one of many examples of teams who have struggled away to Chainat in recent times, and whilst Rayong didn’t secure their win in the most convincing fashion, difference maker Ariel Rodriguez’ clinical late strike ensured that they took the all-important 3 points. Rodriguez made the first goal with fantastic balance and trickery down the left flank, before using his pace to round the ‘keeper and calmly pass in to an empty net in the dying minutes. Chainat’s goal came courtesy of Dutch winger Leandro, whose first goal for Chainat was an absolute peach from the edge of the box, leaving excellent Rayong stopper Peerapong rooted to the spot.

 

Public Enemy Number One

 

 

There are a host of strikers on my shortlist this week, but I’m giving the award to a goalkeeper. Ariel Rodriguez, Lonsona Doumbouya, Lukian and Pedro Junior all impressed, but the performances of Samuel Cunningham and Michael Falkesgaard really stood out, with Bangkok United’s Filipino Dane Falkesgaard once again proving that he’s one of the most important signings in recent seasons.

 

Results and Highlights

 

Korat 1-1 Bangkok United

Sukhothai 3-1 Port

Buriram 3-2 Samut Prakarn City

Chonburi 3-2 Prachuap

Ratchaburi 2-0 Muangthong

Trat 4-0 Suphanburi

Chainat 1-2 PTT Rayong

 

Tom Earls

Tom Earls

Having moved to Thailand aged 10, Tom has been playing or watching football in Thailand for more than 18 years. A keen follower of the Thai National Team and an avid fan of Port FC, he is a regular contributor to The Sandpit.

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