Port’s “Battle of Who Could Care Less” Muangthong United 2 – 1 Port

Derby day: the day where no matter what’s going on, the players should be up for it. Despite our current form, which is mediocre at best, we could draw confidence from the fact that our recent form against Muangthong was good. Looking at the starting-11: I was nervous.  Steuble (15) has been shaky at best in recent games, and Tanasith (11) hasn’t done enough to justify a place on the bench, yet surprisingly: they were starting in a game that is of the utmost importance. Rattanai (18), after playing well, was dropped to the bench, which shows that if you like and share a certain person’s Facebook posts, you’re more likely to get a game.

Before I forget here’s a lovely picture of Pang from earlier in the week. Anyway back to the match report.

 

With that being said, we started quite well, though we ultimately did nothing with it. Muangthong looked quite good too at times, and it’s hard not to be impressed with Mirzaev, who in my opinion is the best foreign player on their books. The first-half was end to end at times, with neither side able to find the back of the net, though Suarez drew first blood (the claret kind) when he collided with an obstructing Muangthong player. So, we went into the interval level, but in standard Port fashion: we came out for the second-half looking nothing like the team we were in the first half.

Muangthong drew first blood (of the goal kind) in the 51st minute, when we allowed Wattanakorn all the time in the world to pick his cross to an untracked back-post run by Mirzaev, who slammed it home. It was horrendous defending, and sadly… it’s not the first time this has happened. There are certain players in the backline that are so badly out of form at the moment that they could use a few games in the stands, although they appear to be at the point where they just wouldn’t care if they were dropped. Regardless, we were soon awarded a penalty when Chatchai collided with Adisak (9), in what was his only meaningful contribution after replacing Boli (94) at half-time. Sergio (5) stepped up and tucked the spotkick away with venom in the bottom-left corner. Game on.

But this is a Port game, and we don’t like to do things easy! Instead of taking control of the game, we began to play around with the ball at the back, and instead of building out from the back: we built our downfall. Go (8), who is usually quite reliable, made a mistake, and although we scrambled well: VAR called upon a check from the referee on the monitor. To me, it looked like the ball hit his body and deflected onto his shoulder/armpit. Usually, that would mean that it wasn’t a penalty, but this is Thai football, and we do things a bit differently! My expectations of Thai match officials are incredibly low, so I was hardly surprised when a spotkick was awarded to the hosts. To which, Popp tucked it away, and ultimately consigned us to defeat.

 

The ball hits the back of Go, unquestionably a penalty and a yellow card. All hail the miracle of VAR that has come to save the game.

The final 20-minutes was dire at best, with the only meaningful thing to happen being Nattawut (45) handling the ball twice and tucking it away, with it correctly being chalked off. Apart from that, we were aimless in attack, and the final whistle was soon blown. It’s never easy to lose a derby, but when you see some of the performances tonight… it’s tougher to swallow.

 

Sergio Suarez, goal scorer and bright spot

 

So: what next? We have Rayong on Sunday, and if we play as we have been recently… they’re getting their 4th win of the season. With his time at Port well and truly up, it’s time for Oud to wield the axe, and show the bigger name players that enough is enough. There are only a few players at best that aren’t playing poorly in my opinion, with Suarez and Worawut Namvech (24) the only players to come out of this game with pass marks, though I felt that Bordin did quite well too, but his end product was lacking.

What would I do for the Rayong game? Drop a lot of the players. Watchara (1) seems to not be allowed to play, so get Rattanai back in goal. Nitipong (34) out for Thitawee (2), who despite being underwhelming in his games so far for the club: deserves a chance at redemption. He couldn’t be any worse than what we’re getting at the moment… Get Tossapol (6) in for Dolah(4) and Jaturapat (21) in for Steuble. It might be a makeshift defence, but again… it couldn’t be any worse than our defensive unit at the moment, which funnily enough [for opposition fans at least] has forgotten the basic skills and requirements of defending.

In the midfield, get Kannarin (31) in at the base of it, and play Go alongside Sergio, with them both being given a bit more license to go forward. Suarez is carrying us at the moment, and his back must be incredibly sore from all the deadweight. We’d be in a world of hurt without him, and we really can’t afford for him to get injured. Go looks a little tired to me, but he’s still a good player, but that mistake that led to the penalty, was frustrating, to say the least! Sometimes you need to just pump it long and push the defensive line up and get the shape, maybe we can try that next time?

For our front-3: drop Tanasith from the squad altogether. He’s had more than enough chances now, and we’re better off giving them to Nattawut (45) instead. We should persist with Bordin (10), who will play himself into form, and if Bonilla (99) isn’t fit, persist with Boli. It’s a real shame what we’ve done since signing him, as he’s a proper number 9, but if we can’t give him any service, he’s going to struggle. That being said, he’s had a few chances in recent games, and fluffed them, so it’s up to him to stick a few in the back of the net and silence some of the boo boys.

At the rate that we’re going, 2nd place is looking very unlikely, and at the end of the season when we’re reviewing what went wrong, we’ll be highlighting this run of games. I think there’s less than a 1% chance that Oud remains in charge next season, and I genuinely wouldn’t be surprised if he doesn’t make it to the end of the season. When you consider our form before the break, and what’s happened since the resumption of the league… Questions should [but won’t] be asked. To me, it appears that he’s gone from being allowed to pick his own team, to being told who he’ll play, and it’s little surprise that we’ve struggled since that’s begun.

Hopefully, we will see a better performance on Sunday, one that can make us believe that the players ACTUALLY care, because looking out there tonight: you wouldn’t know. With a return of fans to stadiums rumoured to be on the way, there’s at least some hope that we can play our part in a return to form. We can make the PAT a fortress once again, and let the lads know exactly what we expect from them. To put it simply: we expect BETTER.

 

Another match another frustrated Oud pic

 

The game on Sunday is at PAT Stadium, with kickoff at 6pm. If the rumours are true, PAT will be allowed 50% of its capacity. If you’re unable to make it to the stadium, the Sportsmen will show the game on one of their big screens. Despite this appearing to be quite negative, I’m hoping to see the lads turn things around ASAP.

Let’s finish this season strongly, and start that off by getting a convincing win on the weekend!

UnTacticalTimes

UnTacticalTimes

The author of this one decided to use a nom de plume of their choosing.

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