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!

 

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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