The Hard Way: Port’s Route to the FA Cup Final

 

Yes, we’re still pinching ourselves, but after last Wednesday’s epic, exhausting FA Cup semi final against Bangkok Utd, Port are in the 2019 Chang FA Cup Final! Port’s last FA Cup win was a decade ago, since when silverware has been conspicuous by its absence, with only the 2010 League Cup being added to the trophy cabinet. In fact Port haven’t reached a cup final of any kind since 2011, so this is a pretty big deal.

But, you may ask yourself, how did we get here? Well, as is customary with Port, it certainly hasn’t been easy or straightforward with Port having to get past three of Thai football’s giants en route to Wembley. I mean Army. Here’s a look back at Port’s 2019 cup run…

 

Round of 64

1 May 2019 – Port FC 6-0 Samut Sakhon FC

Port’s cup campaign began with a walkover against regular friendly opponents Samut Sakhon FC, aka The Proud Junk Ship, who were more Junk than Pride on this particular occasion. Two goals each from Boskovic (remember him?) and Sumanya, along with goals from Bodin and Suarez saw Port into the last 32 without breaking a sweat. A game apparently so unremarkable that we didn’t even bother doing a match report.

 

Round of 32

19 June 2019 – Port FC 4-1 Sukhothai FC

From now on there would be no more gimmes for Port, as they would face T1 opposition for the rest of the tournament. And whilst the Firebats are struggling against relegation this season, they were the first team to beat Port in 2019 and in John Baggio they have a player who simply loves playing against Port, so this would likely be no easy task. Thankfully for Port, on the night the Firebats decided that fighting relegation took precedence over the FA Cup and put out a second string side, and Port were 3-0 up by half-time with goals from Pakorn (2) and Bodin, with Rochela adding a penalty early in the second half.  A late Sukhothai penalty was small consolation on a night that saw Port through to the last 16, to face familiar opposition…

Match Report

 

Round of 16

17 July 2019 – Muangthong Utd 0-2 Port FC

Many teams might have balked at having to visit Muangthong in the cup, especially with them newly reinvigorated by the arrival of coach Alexandre Gama. But the SCG has been Port’s playground for the last 3 years and so it was no surprise that they came away with a very comfortable win. It wasn’t a classic game by any means, played in a quiet stadium with Port fans banned as usual, and it took Port until the last 20 minutes to take the lead, with MTU ‘striker’ Theerasil getting the final touch on a peach of a Pakorn cross for the best own goal of the season; then minutes later debut boy Rolando ‘Tony’ Blackburn took advantage of some defensive confusion to round the keeper and fire Port into the quarter-finals. Not a classic then, but every win against MTU is memorable and this was no different, especially given the importance of the game.

Match Report

 

 

 

Quarter Finals

7 August – Port FC 3-2 Chiang Rai Utd

After that grim game at the SCG, Port fans were served up an absolute classic in the QFs, two of T1’s top clubs going head-to-head and producing one of the greatest games the PAT has seen in years. Port tore into the Beetles from the whistle and went a goal up after 15 minutes when a Sumanya corner was deflected in; the same player then doubled the lead in the 20th minute, racing through the Chiang Rai defence and firing home from the edge of the box for one of the goals of the season. Suarez made it 3-0 early in the second half before the Beetles scored twice, but just as fears of Operation Fuckup were growing, some excellent midfield dark arts from Go got Thin Bill a second yellow, and the game was put to bed, with Port taking their place in the semis against the biggest bogey since Winston Churchill.

Match Report

 

Semi Finals

17 September – Bangkok Utd 0-0 Port FC (4-5 on penalties)

I’m sure we don’t need a recap on this one. 120 minutes of grim, attritional, rain-soaked football, with Port reduced to 10 men for the last half an hour, followed by THAT penalty shootout. Football, bloody hell.

Match Report

 

Final

2 November – Port FC v Ratchaburi FC

More T1 opposition for Port, but by this point surely we fear noone. It won’t be easy, but my prediction is a 3-1 win for Port.

 

Thanks to Allie Suwanrumpha for the header photo

 

Tim Russell

Tim Russell

The founder and editor of The Sandpit, Tim has been in SE Asia since 2003 and in Bangkok since 2012, where he runs a travel tech business. Tim has followed Port FC since 2014, and is also a fan of his hometown club Coventry City, and French club AS St-Etienne. He has written for the likes of Football365, ITV.com, NME and The Quietus, and is a regular contributor to God Is In the TV. He's a keen photographer and his work can be seen on his website.

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