FA Cup Chiang-Over? Chiang Mai FC vs. Port FC Preview

 

Port’s scarcely believable penalty shootout victory over Bangkok United may have put Port fans’ heads in the clouds, but both fans and players are going to have to have to come back down to earth and adjust to a very different reality for Sunday’s away clash against Chiang Mai.

Wednesday’s victory, against a team most fancied to overcome Port, was a victory against the odds, not to mention against a team who we hadn’t beaten in… well, forever pretty much. It was also in front of thousands of vocal Port fans cheering their team come rain or… well, just rain really. The Lanna Tigers are bottom of the table, playing in a stadium which may as well be empty, and there is unlikely to be much of a traveling contingent in the stands. We’ve all seen Port defy the odds against superior opposition before crashing and burning against teams we should be beating comfortably. Overconfidence seems to be as much part of our DNA as Leo and shit strikers.

Having said that, Chiang Mai are well and truly there for the taking. Let’s see why.

 

Chiang Mai FC

Players to Watch

 

Top of my list has to be Brazilian striker Eliandro (9). This monster of a forward is practically bursting out of Chiang Mai’s very attractive shirts, and doesn’t mind throwing his weight around. After an electric start to the season though, Eliandro has slowed down considerably, and isn’t playing with the same free-scoring confidence we saw from him when he burst on to the T1 scene. I could say the same about Mustafa Azadzoy (10), the Afghan forward who usually plays as a no.10 has similarly slowed down after an excellent start. Rounding out the front three is one of the nine (yes, 9) loanees from sister club Chiang Rai: Caique (7). Signed by Chiang Rai, presumably just so he could be loaned to Chiang Mai, Caique has netted 3 times in 8 games since his arrival. I haven’t seen enough of him to give much of a judgment, but just looking at the numbers it’s a respectable return for a struggling team.

 

 

When I saw that Chiang Mai had signed Nattawut Sombatyotha (11) from Ratchaburi in mid-season I thought he’d do an excellent job for them. He’s probably not playing as far forward as he’d like, but he’s still nailed down a first team place and scored twice since his arrival. He’s also rid himself of that horrible blonde mop and looks normal again, which helps. Nattawut is best deployed as an attacking midfielder, but with Chiang Mai basically already having three up top he’s had to fulfil a role with more defensive responsibility.

 

 

Speaking of defensive responsibility, most of that falls on Brazilian centre half Evson Patricio (30). He’s one of those defenders who it’s quite hard to judge based on the fact that he’s playing with a load of dross at the back. The most recent of that dross is actually former Port squad player Worawut Namvech (34), who has started the last few games at centre back, but may not be fit having been withdrawn before the half hour mark last time out. Well, I say he may not be fit, just look at him…

 

 

In goal, Nont (20) has fallen out of favour after failing to perform consistently, so the more experienced Narit (1) has stepped in.

 

 

Form

 

The last 6 games look like this for Chiang Mai. They’ve taken two massive wins from 4 home games, but having failed to get on the score sheet in the last 2 games, they are still big favourites for the drop. The real worry is their failure to score, which has not really been a problem for them all season until now. They’ve got plenty of attacking talent, but have been conceding goals for fun all season, as they have done in each of their last 6.

  • Prachuap 2-0 Chiang Mai
  • Chiang Mai 0-1 Suphanburi
  • Chiang Mai 5-1 Korat
  • Chiang Mai 1-3 Trat
  • Chiang Mai 2-1 Chonburi
  • Chainat 2-2 Chiang Mai

 

Port FC

Feet on the Ground

 

Port need to approach this game with as much professionalism as they can muster. Changes should be made from the side who triumphed in the cup, both to make sure the XI who take the field are fit and raring to go, and to make sure players are fresh to face tougher opposition in Port’s tricky run-in.

Suarez (5) is likely to be an enforced change, with the Spaniard sporting an extremely swollen ankle after an extremely dirty tackle from Peerapat on Wednesday. Josimar (30) and Rolando (99) are both available to lead the line, with Josi raring to go after being cup-tied, and Rolando still grinning like a Cheshire cat after making a mug of Falkesgaard in the penalty shootout. What. A. Finish.

One of Go (8) or Siwakorn (16) should probably be due a rest, but Choke may be nervous removing either of the two, who are among the most consistent players in the team.

Likewise at the back, sitting out Dolah (4) seems unthinkable, and Choke doesn’t seem to be able to bring himself not to start Tanaboon (17). I’m sure we could get away with giving Nitipong (34), who put in an astonishingly hard-working performance, a well-deserved breather. Steuble (15) could cover at right back, with Kevin (97) or Panpanpong (19) stepping in on the left hand side.

In goal, Worawut (36) got a nasty cut on his back making an incredible save from Jaycee John, but we’re not sure if he’ll have recovered in time for this one. Rattanai (17) put in an assured performance in his absence, keeping out his second and third penalties of the season in the shoot-out, and as we don’t tire of saying, Port have three no1’s at our disposal anyway. Worawut can take as much time to recover as he likes with both Rattanai and Watchara ready and able to step in.

 

Predicted Lineup

 

 


 

The match will be shown live on True4U and True Sports HD at 18:00 on Sunday 22 September, 2019. For those who can’t make it to Chiang Mai, The Sportsman on Sukhumvit 13 will show the match on a big screen with sound. We’re expecting a big crowd (in the pub, not the stadium) so get there early to bag the best seats. 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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  1. […] Chiang Mai. also known as Chiang Rai reserves. However, we all knew that Port could experience a ‘Chiang over’ and needed to avoid ruining their title hopes by failing to win here. This one will not go down […]

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