FA Cup Semi-Final Ticket Info

 

After this week’s late but sensible change of venue, tickets for Port’s FA Cup semi with Bangkok Utd go on sale this Friday at Thai Ticket Major outlets and online at https://www.thaiticketmajor.com/sport/chang-fa-cup-2019-semi-final-royal-thai-army-stadium.html. Tickets range from 80-100-150BHT.

The game takes place at Army Stadium (18 September, KO 19:00) and the various ticket areas are shown above and in more detail below. The general consensus amongst Sandpitters seems to be E1. See you there!

 

 

 

 

A Bogey the Size of The Titanic: Bangkok Utd 2-0 Port FC

 

 

For once, prior to an encounter with Bangkok Utd, the stars seemed aligned. The Angels were on a wretched run of form, whilst Port had been reinvigorated by new coach Choketawee. Factor in Buriram dropping points at home to Sukhothai in the early game, and you had a golden opportunity for Port to dispose of the biggest bogey since Winston Churchill’s whilst simultaneously reigniting a title challenge. So it will come as no surprise to seasoned Port-watchers that that’s exactly what didn’t happen.

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The Field of Broken Dreams: Bangkok Utd vs. Port FC Preview

 

Mission Impossible, or another rung climbed on the ladder of redemption? Saturday’s away trip to the far-flung Thammasat Stadium could make or break our fluctuating season and the portents are not good (and now we’ve got them in the Cup!). Prior to that stirring, toe-to-toe, 1-1 home draw on a mournful, emotionally charged night in May, Port had lost eight consecutive games to their cross-town rivals, with a negative goal deficit of 5-26.  In fact, the last time Port beat Utd in a League match was June 6th 2010. Port were pretty good back then, beating Buriram 2-1 in the Toyota League Cup Final and making it to the quarter-finals of the AFC Cup, losing to Al Qadsia of Kuwait 3-0 on aggregate. I was following Port in those days and this is the best squad I have seen at the club in those intervening 9 years, in spite of some mid-season hiccups.

With results largely going our way at the weekend, Port have a wonderful opportunity to stake a claim for at least second place and an AFC spot once more. It will be difficult, but, as Sir Winston Churchill once opined, “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” Dear Reader, which are you?

The Angels have had their wings clipped in recent times, losing to Prachuap and Chonburi, with draws against Nakhon Ratchasima and relegation haunted Suphanburi. With Port on a high after three consecutive wins, surely there is no better time to grab our first win on the road against them. What do we have to fear?

 

 

Nelson Bonilla (11), if he is fit, for a start. His haul of 16 goals this season is only bettered by Lonsana Doumbouya of Trat and he has nasty habit of scoring against Port. Even if we can keep him quiet, we do need to score ourselves and even our best attempts have been regularly thwarted by Danish/Filipino Michael Falkesgaard (1), probably the best goalkeeper in the league. Sanrawat Dechmitr (29) has also been a constant thorn in our side in recent games, but his temperament is suspect, as witnessed in his petulant sending off at Port, so maybe a good winding-up might see him get his marching orders again. This would be helpful, as he tends to make them tick. And of course there’s ex-MTU rightback Tristan Do (7). The only problem with winding up figures of hate at the Thammasat Stadium is that they will never actually hear you, its cavernous depth making it one of the worst away stadiums for both view and atmosphere. A far cry from the up-close, eardrum-bashing abuse they get at Port.

 

 

Port will be without Sumanya (11) for the next three weeks, which is a pity as he was beginning to show some form, as well as finding the net. Given Port’s recent form, it is unlikely that many changes will be made but with Pakorn (7) possibly still unavailable, Choke will have an interesting tactical decision to make. Will he be bold and adopt an attacking line-up (1) or prompt for caution (2)? I might have included Adisorn but am not sure what has happened to him during my long absence.

 

Option 1

 

 

Option 2

 

 

Whichever of these fascinating permutations he goes with, I am going to, for once Sir Winston, be the optimist, and predict a 2-1 Port win. You have to, don’t cha!

 


 

The match will be shown live on True4U and True Sports HD2 at 19:00 on Saturday 24 August, 2019. For those who can’t make it to Thammasat 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.

 

Ying Tong Iddle Tai Po: Port Face Hong Kongers in Friendly

 

With the Thai season about to take an international break, Port have lined up a friendly against Hong Kong Premier League side Tai Po FC, aka The Green Warriors, presumably for their shirt colour rather than any commitment to environmental activism – one doubts any genuine eco-warriors would fly 20-odd people over to Bangkok just for a friendly. But they’re the current HKPL champions so won’t be a pushover for what we presume will be a largely second-string Port side. They also boast an Englishman in their ranks in the form of midfielder Toby Down.

The game takes place today at 17:00, but will be played at Customs Stadium rather than the hallowed turf of the PAT. Entrance is free.

 

 

Semi Slot: Port Face Angels in FA Cup Showdown

 

The draw for the 2019 Chang FA Cup semis was made earlier this week, and Port will play perennial bogey team Bangkok Utd, with Buriram facing a somewhat easier task against Ratchaburi. The game takes place on Wednesday 18 September at 19:00.

With Rajamangala being refurbished in order to host an U23 tournament in January, and with the FAT having apparently fallen out with Chulalongkorn University, landlords of Supachalasai, Port’s semi will take place at the 4500-capacity Boonyachinda (Police Tero), with the other semi taking place at 72nd Anniversary (Thai Honda) – rather like the English FA announcing that, what with Wembley being refurbished for a couple of U18 girls’ games and what with them having fallen out with Spurs & Arsenal, the FA Cup semis will be held at Brentford and Wycombe. But from an organisation that considers Thammasat a suitable venue for a World Cup qualifier, what else can one expect, other than an appropriately sponsored pissup in a brewery.

We will share news about ticket sales and TV coverage as soon as we get it – 17 September probably.

UPDATE

Following, one assumes, someone at Port having a quiet word in the FAT’s ear, the semi-final will take place at Army Stadium. Whilst it’s still not a proper football stadium, at least it has a decent capacity. One wonders why Boonyachinda was chosen in the first place, but at least common sense has prevailed!

 

Elephantastic!: Suphanburi FC 1-3 Port FC

 

 

Port travelled upcountry to 15th place Suphanburi. Although the War Elephants are in the relegation zone, they have not lost in their last seven league games with 2 wins and five draws going back to June.

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Port’s Asian Adventure Stopped by AGMKO

 

Port’s AFC Futsal Club Championship 2019 came to a dramatic end on Wednesday night, as Uzbek powerhouses AGMK dominated for 38 and a half minutes before almost letting the game slip in the final 90 seconds.

Port had cruised through the group stages scoring ten and conceding just one in three comfortable victories over South Korea’s FS Seoul, Kyrgyzstan’s Osh EREM and Shenzen Nanling Tielang. AGMK had endured a much tougher passage, scoring thirteen but conceding twelve, finishing runners up to Vietnamese champions Thai Son Nam, and indeed suffering a comprehensive 1-4 defeat at the hands of the group winners.

Port, then, probably (I’m guessing) went in as slight favourites, but as soon as the game got underway it became clear that they were in for a tough evening. The Uzbeks were passing and moving with a pace and precision that Port just couldn’t match, and the directness of their opponents’ play meant that Port were constantly under pressure. Numerous mistakes at the back, most notably from national team star Chaivat (7), led to chance after chance for the marauding Uzbeks, who deservedly took the lead after 3 minutes.

 

 

The pressure continued unabated for most of the first period, although in the last few minutes of the half Port did manage to fashion some chances. AGMK in particular though were guilty of spurning opportunities, and although I didn’t count I would conservatively estimate that they hit the woodwork 4 times, while Port ‘keeper Kanison (12) was also called on to make several key saves. Port also hit the woodwork a couple of times, but their chances were few and far between in comparison. Port were lucky to go in just a goal down.

The second period was much better for Port, but it still always felt as though it was only a matter of time until AGMK doubled their lead. They finally broke Port’s resistance in the 26th minute with a header in to an open goal after Kanison had saved well with his legs. Two goals in arrears, Port started utilizing the power play, taking Kanison off and going for all-out attack. Port were not having any luck though, and when AGMK netted a fortunate, scrappy third goal the game was surely over. Port could never score 3.

Wrong! They waited until the 39th minute to start the fight back, but boy did they fight back. Chaivat, who had been guilty of some poor mistakes in the first half, got some redemption when he fired in a rasping shot that young striker Osamanmusa (11) directed towards goal to reduce the deficit to two.

 

 

Port almost immediately shot themselves in the foot though, with captain Pornmongkol (14) forgetting how to control the ball, gifting an open goal (at considerable distance mind you) to Choriev, who calmly stroked home from well inside his own half to restore the 3 goal cushion.

In the final minute of play Kanison threw the ball out to Osamanmusa who, after the simplest exchange of passes, found himself with a tap-in to bring the score back to 2-4. With 31 seconds still left on the clock could the unthinkable happen?

Well, it almost did. 3 seconds were left on the clock when Osamanmusa smashed in his hattrick from a straightforward corner routine, and incredibly it was 3-4. AGMK only had to last 3 more seconds though, and passing the ball back from the centre, before a defender dodged one final desperate lunge from a Port attacker was all there was time for before the buzzer sounded.

A valiant fight back in the end, but one that was left far too late.

Port’s coach, on being interviewed after the final whistle, commented that the relative weakness of the Thai league compared to their Uzbek counterparts was the reason Port found it so difficult. It’s not for me, who knows next to nothing about either league, to say whether or not that’s a fair conclusion, but Port were most certainly outplayed on the day by a team who thoroughly deserved the win.

 

 

Port do, however, sit a healthy 7 points clear at the top of this season’s Thai Futsal League, so unless something drastic happens in the run-in, they will likely be back next year for another bite at the cherry. Better luck next time, chaps!

 

Stampeding Towards the Champions League: Suphanburi FC vs. Port FC Preview

 

Last time out against the War Elephants was the 3-2 thriller at home, courtesy of a late Boskovic winner, sending us 4 points clear of Buriram at the top of the table. Much has changed since then with Boskovic being dropped from the T1 squad and replaced by the returning Josimar. Our title challenge had seemingly slipped away after a string of poor performances and results in key games during June and July, including heavy defeats at home to fellow title challengers Chiangrai United and Buriram, but Port are still currently 3rd in the table, 4 points behind current champions and pack leaders Buriram United, and are in need of a win on Sunday in Suphanburi to keep up the pressure on the top 2.

 

Suphanburi FC

Form

 

Despite having impressively held league champions Buriram United to a 0-0 draw away, and then going on an unbeaten run for the next 5 games (albeit 4 with draws along the way) Suphanburi approach this fixture still sat in the dreaded relegation zone. However, with a game in hand on other relegation rivals, this is a big opportunity for them to secure some points and to keep them afloat in the top division of Thai football.

Key Players

 

Cleiton Silva (23), a name probably familiar to Port supporters as a former Muangthong striker, has been Suphanburi’s leading scorer this season with the Brazilian bagging 7 goals in 21 appearances during the 2019 season, and is a couple of strikes away from making it to 100 goals in T1. The 32 year old has made quite a habit of scoring against Port, with a goal at the PAT back in September of 2018, and another goal (again at the PAT) during the 3-2 match earlier in the season, so fingers crossed he remains off the scoresheet come the end of the weekend.

 

 

Fellow countryman Jonatan Reis also joined in on the scoring in our aforementioned victory, and, further back, got a brace against Port in the 2018 season while playing for Prachaup, but he has now been replaced by Dellatorre (10), who his back for his second stint with the War Elephants. Dellatorre also has a history when it comes to getting on the scoresheet against Port, but hasn’t had a very productive start to the second leg. 

 

 

Port

Form and News

 

While perhaps not in the form shown earlier in the season, Port are now picking themselves back up from the ground and dusting themselves off after their poor performances in July. Confidence should be on a high after being 5 games unbeaten in all competitions including a 2-0 win over our rivals in red (the 3rd of the season!) and a marvelous win in the FA Cup against Chiang Rai United to send us into the semis. This game is a great opportunity to continue our winning ways against poor opposition, and enabling us to continue to apply pressure on Chiang Rai and Buriram, with the top 2 both facing less than difficult fixtures at home this week.

 

Starting Lineup

 

With Suphanburi being strong at the back recently, having gone 7 games without conceding 2 or more goals, I believe Port must have a proper goal scorer leading the line, and after a great performance off the bench against Muangthong, surely Josimar (30) should be the one to start and hopefully continue scoring.

 

 

Score Prediction

 

Should be a comfortable result for Port. 3-1 with Josimar finding the back of the net again.

 


 

The match will be shown live on True Sports HD2 at 18:00 on Sunday 18 August, 2019. For those who can’t make it to Suphanburi Provincial 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.

 

Port End 10 Years of Hurt, Turning the Sandpit in to a Moshpit

 

What a result!

Indulge me if you will as I attempt to see through the fog of beers and cheers and try to remember what was a truly enjoyable once upon a (life)-time experience.

If memory serves me correctly, an evenly balanced relatively non-eventful first half sparked into life around the 30 minute mark as Port began to exploit ‘Tongs weakness on the left-side of their midfield and defense. 4 clear cut chances came and went as Port peppered coaches’ favourite ‘danger area’ in and around the apex of the six yard box. (More of this later.)

As is always the case, first touch football tore ‘Tongs defence to shreds time and again only for Port to graciously fail to take advantage, the worst culprit being Josimar who came on as a replacement for Pakorn who got all carried away with the occasion and uncharacteristically tracked back, injuring himself in the process. Admittedly playing out of position on the right side of midfield, somehow the Brazilian striker contrived to scoop a ‘sitter’ over the bar when passing the ball into an empty net seemed the easier option. Cue hands in heads all round and seeds were sown in the back of Port minds that, ‘please god it’s not going to be one of those nights is it?” sprouted around the stadium as half-time arrived with Port in the ascendancy but profligate and still level.

 

 

All the half-time chat was whether Port could maintain their dominance or would ‘Tong, having surely been on the end of a rocket from their management team during the break, come out guns-a-blazing determined to make Port pay for their generosity.

Ten, or was it twelve, or fifteen beer-befuddled minutes into the second half and Port and Josimar finally made amends and sent the sell-out crowd into paroxysms of delirium as a flowing one-touch move (funny how that works eh?) down ‘Tongs right this time ended with an overlapping Suarez pulling the ball back into the perfect place at the apex of the near six-yard box for Sumanya to gleefully pass-smash the ball into the net at the keepers near post. Cue pandemonium in the stands and on the touchline as even the owner, un-missable in her fetching candy-striped pants, joined in the players’ celebration and relief.

 

 

Could they do it?

A brief period of Port ascendancy ensued as they sought the second killer goal, but soon they were visibly tiring, especially Sumanya who had also clearly decided that having scored he could now spend the rest of the game showboating and basking in the glory of his goal.

As Port retreated closer and closer to their own goal allowing ‘Tong to push on dominating possession and territory, supporters hearts crept closer and closer to their mouths. Would they hang on or would ‘Tong fashion a largely undeserved equalizer?

A couple of astute substitutions allowed Port to start threatening on the break and in turn the defence grew in stature, confidence and self-belief as time and again different Port players stepped up to the plate and snuffed out ‘Tongs attacks before they could develop into truly heart-stopping chances.

As the 90th minute approached Port swept forward on the counter-attack and just when it looked like a fast-flowing one-touch move (yet again) had ended with Port losing the ball, the impressively hard-working Josimar nipped in at the perfect time at the edge of the penalty area to calmly curl the ball past an unsighted keeper into the inside of the same near post as the first goal and round off of a truly splendid copy-book counter-attack.

 

 

Krakatoa couldn’t have competed with the eruption from the stands as older fans suffered pulled groins and tweaked hamstrings celebrating the second sweet goal of the game which guaranteed a thoroughly deserved victory and meant the 3 minutes of added time were simply 3 minutes of singing and basking in the glory of a first home win against the hated ‘Tong in 10 years as well as becoming a prelude to several hours of post-match moshing, quaffing and even talking pleasantly to plain-clothesed farang ‘Tong fans who’d had the balls to brave the potentially hostile Port terraces only to witness their team handed a comprehensive footballing lesson and a thoroughly comprehensive defeat.

Yes friends this was one of ‘those’ games, one of those ‘you should have been there’ nights. One that will live long in the memories of those 8,000 or so fortunate fans who went mental from minute one to minute 90 and beyond. Well, for those that can remember it of course.  I think I was there, wasn’t I?

Until the next time.

Now, bring on Bangkok United!

 

Port’s Non-Starter XI

 

After Port’s mid-season, featuring a spate of off-the-wall signings, I thought I’d try and cobble together a team of players who now could feasibly fail to register a single minute of T1 action between them in the rest of 2019. Why? Partly because I’ve got nothing better to do today, and partly to make the point that after cutting the squad down to a manageable size a couple of seasons ago, it has once again swelled to the point where it’s hard to see how many players are ever going to get a game, and if that’s the case, what are they doing there? The amount of players currently registered for T1 action is 29, while a further 2 (incidentally probably the two highest paid players in the squad) are only available for cup action or not at all. There are also 7 players out on loan, taking the tally to 38.

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