Toothless Sharks: Port FC vs. Chonburi FC Preview

 

Port take on Chonburi in a big clash for both teams, which also represents a hilarious role reversal from the first half of the season. Chonburi, in possession of one of the most prolific strikers in the league in Lukian (91), had already upgraded their second string Brazilian, bringing in Prachuap’s Caion (7) for the less than impressive Patrick Cruz, and looked set to have one of the stronger forward lines in the league.

Then last week some behind-the-scenes dealing involving former Chonburi boss and all-around Thai football big-wig Wittaya Laohakul, apparently a bid to raise cash, went horribly wrong. I heard this story from a friend, and whether or not it’s 100% true I don’t know, but it’s too good not to tell. Wittaya was apparently using his J League connections to shop star striker Lukian around in a bid to net Chonburi a big transfer fee, but he neglected to tell the club what he was up to. Lukian, with his head well and truly turned, asked Chonburi if he could leave, and his Japanese suitors submitted their offer. A mere 2 million baht. That’s one fifth of a Chenrop, believe it or not. Chonburi, confused as to what the hell was going on, asked Lukian who he had been talking to. Lukian named Wittaya, and Chonburi told Lukian he wasn’t leaving, before asking Wittaya what the hell he was thinking doing business on their behalf behind their backs. Lukian then refused to play until the offer was accepted, and Wittaya, apparently truthfully, said he was just trying to help and it had all gone horribly wrong. Oh yes it did. The upshot is that Chonburi have lost one of the best strikers in the league for either nothing or a pittance, and having already made their two foreign quota transfers, can’t even replace him.

Port, on the other hand, had been watching big name striker Boskovic (23) labour through the last few weeks of the first leg looking nothing like a striker who could help fire Port to a T1 title. Things were not looking good up top. Port took immediate action, bizarrely bringing in Josimar (30) from T2, not exactly a big name or a striker anyone would associate with a T1 title chase. Then they watched his debut and decided they’d made a mistake. Panic ensued, with Boskovic rumoured to be back in the squad with Josimar unceremoniously dropped. That didn’t happen. Then rumours circulated about Panamanian forward Rolando Blackburn (99), and despite a last-minute delay, a deal was eventually agreed. So, that’s 3 strikers in the squad, who along with Suarez (5) and Rochela (22) have just 3 squad places to play for. The next rumours suggested once again that Josimar, having barely taken his coat off, would be axed after just one start with Blackburn coming in. That didn’t happen. The latest news, and what appears to be the final decision, is that both Josimar and Blackburn will make the T1 cut, with captain Rochela dropping out. Both him and Boskovic will stick around to play out Port’s cup run. Essentially, they’re extremely expensive cheerleaders.

So the point of all these mental stories was to point out that Chonburi, until recently, had one of the best strikers in the league, but with the delayed loan signing of Arthit (29) from Port, and other injuries and suspensions ruling out useful striking options like Leesaw (14) and Sittichok (11), they’re now one injury to their run-of-the-mill Brazilian Caion away from having literally no strikers left. Port, on the other hand, were in such a state of disarray last week that they played with 4-6-0 formation featuring Suarez as the most advanced player, but now have 2 foreigners to choose from up top as well as Arthit and new signing Chenrop (39). Football, eh. Bloody hell.

 

Chonburi FC

Players to Watch

 

I’ll keep this brief after that epic of an introduction.

I can’t very well not include Caion (7), who is Choburi’s only fit striker. I was full of praise for him in my early season preview, with him having netted 5 goals in 5 games. My assessment was that, despite not looking particularly special, he had a knack of consistently popping up with goals, but it appears that may have been more luck than skill. The following 10 games saw him net just one more goal before making the move to Chonburi.

 

 

Besides Lukian, there’s really not a lot else threatening to talk about. Talented youngster Worachit (8) has the next most with 3, but he’s been in and out of the team, and has apparently struggled for form this season.

At the back, Chonburi have signed 6 foot 3 Junior Lopes (33). The Brazilian centre half and he’s got one of those CV’s that goes on forever. Chonburi will be his 21st club. That’s impressive for a 31 year old. Or bad news, more likely.

 

 

Form

 

Another side who always keep a clean sheet when they win, and when they concede they always lose without scoring. They’re absolute garbage on the road, with their last away goal coming in March. Bloody hell, that’s bad.

  • Chonburi 1-0 Ratchaburi
  • PTT Rayong 1-0 Chonburi
  • Chonburi 2-0 Muangthong
  • Chainat 1-0 Chonburi
  • Chonburi 1-0 Buriram
  • Samut Prakan 1-0 Chonburi

 

Port FC

Unpredictable

 

This will be one of the hardest Port lineups to predict in recent seasons. Normally it’s obvious what Jadet is going to do, but that is most certainly no longer the case.

Firstly, we’ve no idea why Rattanai (17) replaced Watchara (1) in goal against Ratchaburi, but he did bloody well so there’s every chance that even if Watchara was injured and is now fit that Rattanai could keep his place.

At the back there is a question mark at both centre back and left back. With Rochela (22) missing out, it will likely be either Todsapol (6), who did so well in the first half of the season, or Tanaboon (71), who more mirrors the calm style of the man he may be replacing. Then at left back after Kevin’s (97) re-injury, Jadet has to choose between Panpanpong (19) and new Filipino Martin Steuble (15). I haven’t really seen enough of Steuble yet to pass judgment, but the fact that he was substituted on shows that he’s in the frame.

In midfield, Port will likely return to the Go-Siwakorn axis which was so successful for most of the first leg. Two of Pakorn (7), Nurul (31) and Bodin (10) will also get the nod on the wings, with the injury Bodin picked up last week probably making him favourite to miss out.

Expect Suarez (5) to keep his place behind the striker, and if he’s fit I’ll be surprised if Rolando Blackburn (99) isn’t the man leading the line. Josimar (30), Chenrop (39) and Arthit (29) are also lining up to replace him should the need arise.

 

 

Predicted Lineup

 

 

This could be very wrong.

 


 

The match will be shown live on True4U and True Sports HD3 at 19:00 on Saturday 13 July, 2019. For those who can’t make it to PAT Stadium, The Sportsman on Sukhumvit 13 will show the match on a big screen with sound. Don’t forget to wear your Port shirt for a 10% discount on drinks.

 

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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3replies
  1. toni says:

    Iam a Muangthong Fan and I decided to watch this game at the stadium today. The first half was fine, i think port were slightly better and chonburi did pretty well in creating quality chances but the second half defies logic. Something seems to be seriously wrong with managment, I dont know if its the coach or the owner influencing the coaches decision or a mixture of both.

    The substitution of Josimar for a midfielder and playing suarez upfront must have been the worst piece of managment ive ever seen.

    Josimar was pretty decent in the first half, he tied down defenders and was a danger in the box , if I remember correctly he had an assist for the 1-1 and had a great chance to head in a goal at long post from a cross.

    For a club that can afford to dismiss a player like Boskovic for the second half of the season , bring in 3 new strikers instead and then dont play any of them when youre drawing at home is just… I cant find words. Its somehow hard to believe all this is the work of the manager and more likely interference of the owner.

    After watching this game I dont think Port have a good chance on advancing on Wednesday. Good luck.

    Reply
    • Tim Russell
      Tim Russell says:

      Thanks for your comments! Fully agree on the substitutions, they were absolutely clueless. Suarez is a great player but he’s not a striker, and as you say to have 3 strikers sitting on the bench and playing 4-6-0 at home to a struggling side is just ridiculous.

      Reply
  2. toni says:

    Also it looked like Port were obsessed with playing through the left wing, giving up on stretching the play and setting up anything on the right when it was obvious the best pass was a simple one out right instead cutting inside and playing low % long balls into the left corner even if the area was already congested.

    With the subbing of Josimar for no Striker that made even less sense since crosses are not a good option anymore and its hard from there to play yourself in the box. Shoulve gone through the middle with underlapping runs instead. Very wierd.

    Reply

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