Japaneasy: Port FC 3-0 Cerezo Osaka (Leo Cup Quarter-Final)



Port’s Leo Cup campaign continued impressively with a comfortable win over J-League side Cerezo Osaka’s U23s on Sunday night. Port’s form is coming to the boil nicely and they never looked troubled by a feisty and well-organised but limited Japanese side.


Port lined up with Worawut (36) back between the sticks following his howler against Ceres Negros, whilst Siwakon (16) took his place back from new boy Kanarin. Otherwise it was the same side that beat Nakhon Ratchasima on Thursday night, with Adisak (9) in the lone striker role.

Cerezo shocked Port right from the off, pressing high up the field & flying into tackles as if they had previous beef with the home side. The game was in danger of boiling over within ten minutes as the likes of Suarez (5), Go (8) and Siwakorn, none of whom need much of an excuse to get the handbags out, responded in kind. Thankfully the Japanese youngsters swiftly realised that getting physical was not in their best interests, and the game eventually settled down.

It was a pretty dull first half, Port probing Cerezo’s rearguard & coming up against a well-drilled defence, and it took until the 38th minute for them to break the deadlock. A quick throw-in on the right from the ever-excellent Nitipong (34) found Suarez in the box, and the in-form Spaniard turned his marker before chipping delightfully over the keeper to put Port ahead just before half time.

The second half was a much more entertaining affair with Port dominating from the off, taking just 6 minutes to double the lead when a sublime long ball from Nitipong found Suarez on his own up front, the Spaniard rounding the keeper and slotting home for his fourth goal in two Leo Cup games. 13 minutes later the Spaniard turned provider, teeing up Go on the edge of the box and the Korean firing home from 20 yards to seal the win for Port.

So another comfortable Leo Cup win, and whilst Port are still lacking a decent striker to lead the line (Adisak & Chenrop are simply not good enough for this club), there’s no doubt that Suarez and Heberty will cause sufficient chaos in opposition defences this season for Port to bag plenty of goals. The midfield and defence look solid too, with even Tanaboon (71) starting to look like a footballer, so there are many reasons for optimism as Port take a run at the T1 title.

The Sandpit Man of the Match: Sergio Suarez

Two goals on Thursday night; two more and an assist yesterday. Let’s just hope SS isn’t peaking too early…


Next up:

Port FC v Chiang Rai – Thursday 30 January 17:00 at Leo Stadium (Leo Cup semi-final)

Port FC v Chiang Rai – Sunday 2 February 19:00 at SCG Stadium (Champions’ Cup)


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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