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Know Your Enemy: Dirty Dozen

 

Gameweek 7

Results and Highlights

 

With last week’s Songkran holiday I didn’t have time to keep up with all of the gameweek 7 action, so in the absence of my reports above are the results and highlights of the action. All you really need to know is that due to Port’s resurgence in form and Buriram’s match being postponed, Port went top of the league, while an agonizing late concession from Suphanburi sent them bottom to the fortune of Muangthong, who went in to their gameweek 8 with clash in second bottom on goals scored. Indulge me a second while I bask in the hilarity of Muangthong being lucky to be second bottom.

 

Port 5-0 Prachuap

Bangkok United 4-0 Suphanburi

Trat 1-1 Samut Prakan City

Sukhothai 0-0 Chonburi

Ratchaburi 0-2 Chiang Rai

Korat 3-1 Muangthong

 

Gameweek 8

The Action

 

OK, there we go. Now, on to gameweek 8.

Buriram, as I mentioned, missed their last fixture, meaning that they needed victory over strugglers Trat to replace Port at the top of the league. There have been a lot of personnel changes for the champs throughout this season, with the most notable being the ignominious exit of big summer arrival and former Premier League player Modibo Maiga. Fortunately for Buriram, strike partner Pedro Junior has been picking up the slack in Maiga’s absence, while the gradual introduction of Japanese star midfielder Hajime Hosogai is now complete, with the former Budesliga man now finally fit to start. Fit being the operative word. This guy is an absolute workhorse. For the entire 90 minutes against Trat he never stopped running, harassing, putting his body on the line and providing a platform for his team’s creative talents to build on. I would credit him with most likely having most touches of the ball, most fouls, and most fouled. The Genki Nagasato award for effort can be handed out now. Unfortunately for Buriram, Hosogai’s hard work didn’t lead to much up top. Pedro returned to his early season form, looking anonymous and devoid of ideas, and the same could be said of most of his teammates throughout a poor first half for the favourites.

 

 

Trat stuck to the tactics that have served them well enough so far this season – putting Doumbouya up against physically inferior centre backs and hoping that he eats them alive – and once again he was as voracious as ever. Filipino-Austrian full back Stephan Palla, playing out of position on the left hand side of Buriram’s back 3, was the latest victim. Doumbouya shrugged him off like he wasn’t there just before the hour mark, running on to Chenrop’s hopeful flick and powering his way through before deftly chipping it over Siwarak. 10 minutes later Trat survived one of the most ludicrous goal mouth scrambles I’ve ever seen, but a few minutes later substitutes Sasalak, Supachai and 16 year old Suphanat Muenta, who recently became the AFC Champions League’s youngest ever scorer, eventually combined to draw Buriram level. It wasn’t to be enough for the champs though, who now had to watch and hope that Port wouldn’t extend the lead to 4 points when they faced Muangthong on Saturday.

As we well though know, having faith in Muangthong this season is a losing strategy. The report on a wonderful, mental day for Port fans is here courtesy of Linny Russell, although a sad, salty Muangthong fan in the comments section also plays a starring role.

Buriram, and indeed Port, were given another surprising bonus on Saturday, with underdogs Chainat the latest team to expose Bangkok United’s much discussed poor early season form. This time I can find absolutely no fault with Mano Polking’s team selection – he went with Havenaar and Bonilla up front and picked more or less the team that I would consider is his strongest – but still Bangkok have been unable to string a couple of polished performances together in 2019. The defence was culpable for Chainat’s opener, as Bangkok allowed both of Chainat’s strikers a chance to take a swing at a loose ball in the box. Leandro missed the ball almost completely, but Ricardo Santos eventually connected to send the ball past a wrong-footed Falkesgaard. I have only watched the highlights, but as seems as though Anon Amonlerdsak was a bright spark for Bangkok, hitting the post and drawing a save from Teerath, but it’s all about converting chances, no matter how scrappy, and that’s what Chainat did again in the 53rd minute. Kiatisak Jia-udom (no, me neither) seemed to have been foiled by Falkesgaard, but the ball trickled agonizingly towards goal where a combination of Chainat forward Chatri and Bangkok defender Everton bundled the ball home to extend Chainat’s lead. They all count. Ricardo was fractionally out with a monster volley, and soon after Bangkok spurned a good chance when both Bonilla and Everton went for the same ball, putting each other off. Bonilla did much better on 74 minutes, finding a superb cross just as the ball looked to be going out of play, and Bangkok’s super sub Leesaw was on hand to head home. Two minutes later the assistant ref did a good job spotting Ricardo Santos basically punching Manuel Bihr in the face as Bangkok prepared to take a freekick and the Brazilian was rightfully sent packing, but even the 10 men of Chainat were able to hold on to a precious three points, heaping yet more pressure on Bangkok United. Last season at this stage they put together 11 successive wins, and they’ll need to do something similar if they’re to mount another serious title challenge this season.

PTT Rayong hosted Ratchaburi in another game I didn’t watch, but the highlights show that Yannick Boli, Steeven Langil and Philip Roller starred in a comfortable Ratchaburi win. Boli won and cheekily converted a penalty, then Roller provided one of the assists of the season with a magnificent run down the left, before crossing to Langil who converted smartly. Langil then turned on the style with a magnificent third, making Ariel Rodriguez’ 92nd minute toe-poke nothing more than a consolation. With Boli, Langil, Kang Soo-il and Roller on form, this is a dangerous Ratchaburi side, although they do have their problems at the back, particularly in goal.

 

 

I won’t bother you too much with the details of Chiang Rai’s 1-1 draw against Samut Prakan City as there are much more exciting results to talk about on Sunday. This was a 1-1 draw in which William Henrique scored an excellent equalizer for Chiang Rai.

Bottom club Suphanburi’s clash with surprisingly high-flying Korat was of interest to Port fans, as a draw or better from Suphan would see them lift themselves off the bottom, leaving our darling rivals where they belong. Despite a slow start, Suphanburi’s talented squad eventually found their flow and confidence, making it a comfortable 3-1 win. Bernard Henri did put Korat in the lead, but the chances were almost exclusively being created at the other end. Samuel Cunningham was very busy in the Korat goal, making some superb saves to keep the scores level, but he also had some help from the Suphanburi strike force. Cleiton, looking utterly bereft of confidence, was guilty of a few wild shots, while Jonatan Reis was looking more frustrated by the minute. It took a substitute to snap Suphan out of their slump, and it was English-born Filipino Mark Hartmann who connected with a tricky header to send the home fans wild, and breathe life back in to the slumbering War Elephant. Even Cleiton managed to find the target a few minutes later after a scramble in the box, then Reis rounded things off with a decisive volley in the dying moments. Three goals for three foreign forwards which ought to give their talented squad the confidence to find the form to push them up the table where they belong.

The Prachuap vs. Sukhothai clash escaped my attention, but I’m told it was a riveting end-to-end clash with numerous chances for both sides. Jhon Baggio hit the bar twice with the same shot in the first half, but both sides somehow went in to the break scoreless. 5 minutes in to the second half Baggio once again peppered the woodwork. His shot hit the bar and then the post but this time just about crossed the line, giving Sukhothai a deserved lead. It was Prachuap’s turn to hit the woodwork in a frantic late passage of play which, in injury time, finally resulted in a Prachuap equalizer. It was horribly indecisive defending from Indonesian Yanto Basna which allowed Matheus Alves to sneak in and score, meaning that Sukhothai now have a remarkable 1 win and 7 draws so far this season. Being unbeaten isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

 

 

Last, and most certainly not least, Chonburi vs. Chiang Mai. What a game. There were 12 goals in total, with the Sharks netting an astonishing 7 to Chiang Mai’s 5. I only switched on for the second half, with Chonburi already 4-2 up. Lukian had netted every single goal for the hosts. Bloody hell. Surely the second half can’t be as mental. Wrong. Lukian added another to equal Boskovic’s single game scoring record of 5, then Chonburi actually wasted a few good chances before Sithu Aung scored a worldie and young Thai forward Sittichok Paso also got himself on the scoresheet. Chonburi captain and former Port star Kroekrit Thaweekarn was also involved with many of the goals, despite not scoring himself. Chiang Mai’s front three didn’t do too badly, either. Mustafa Azadzoy scored twice, highly rated young Thai star Eakanit Panya got one and Eliandro poached another. Substitute Wanmai Setthanan got the final goal for Chiang Mai, who must look to their defence to explain how they managed to score 5 goals and lose. It must be said I don’t think I’ve seen a worse defensive display. Ever. They were an absolute shambles. I can’t wait for Port to play this lot!

 

Public Enemy Number One

 

 

From my last recap… “He’s looking like becoming a regular on my shortlist, so I’d better get it out of the way and give the award to Lukian this time.” Well, he’s only gone and equaled the T1 single game scoring record, so I can’t very well give it to anyone else this week either. Lukian is a seriously effective striker and a serious contender for the golden boot this year.

Other shortlisted players are Kroekrit, Azadzoy – the first time three players in one match have made the shortlist – Baggio, Cunningham, Langil and Hosogai. Unsurprisingly, with the exception of Cunningham and Hosogai, it’s mostly attacking players as not a single team managed to keep a clean sheet. Thai League, I love you.

 

Results and Highlights

 

Buriram 1-1 Trat

Chainat 2-1 Bangkok

PTT Rayong 1-3 Ratchaburi

Chiang Rai 1-1 Samut Prakan City

Muangthong 1-2 Port

Suphanburi 3-1 Korat

Prachuap 1-1 Sukhothai

Chonburi 7-5 Chiang Mai

 

League Table

 

 

Victorious Secret: Chonburi FC 2-3 Port FC

Port sealed a stunning comeback after going behind twice in a pulsating Friday night encounter at Chonburi. The hosts will feel a little hard done by but thanks to a wonder save from Worawut (36) and some sterling defending Port snatched all three points.

Jadet was forced to change personnel and formation dues to injuries to Rochela, Pakorn, Kevin and Nurul, selecting a midfield trio of Siwakorn (16), Go (8) and Sumanya (11) with Bodin (10) taking a wide attacking role. The pre-match conversation as we settled into our spot at arguably T1’s worst away end was a little nervy and unsure; Jadet clearly motivates his players but his tactical awareness, or lack of, sometimes lets him down. This was either going to go extremely well or very, very badly.

Chonburi started the first half a little brighter than Port with Kroekrit (10) flashing his shot across goal in the 11th minute after some lax defending from the Port centre back pairing of Dolah (4) and Todsapol (6). Nitipong (34) then sent a speculative long range effort towards the Chonburi goal which diminutive keeper Chanin (35) fumbled, then both Suarez (5) and Dolah wasted good chances from set pieces. Chonburi drew first blood, seizing on a short pass from Dolah, the ball was worked across the forward line to Lukian (91) who coolly finished the move. The lead didn’t last for long and Port drew level in injury time; a goalmouth scramble saw the ball loop to Go and he dispatched the ball on the volley for his first goal in Port colours. It was a deserved goal and a fitting end to the first half.

Regulars on the terraces and this website might know that I am ridiculed for missing goals but a second source of ridicule is my choice of bags. My choice for this trip was ripped apart even before the minivan left Bangkok (“Ethnic traveler bag. I’m surprised you’re not wearing trousers with elephants on it.”) but inside that bag was another; a Victoria Secret’s bag, the first thing I could find as I was leaving the flat. It contained a gift for one of the group (not lingerie). Now some of you might not know this brand so to help you out here’s a picture from one of their recent fashion shows:

 

 

The bag somehow made its way to the stadium and became a lucky charm, showing off its versatility by being held in either hand, aloft with both hands, or as a hat to ponder on the finer points of the beautiful game. Here’s a selection of us modeling said bag:

 

 

Port should have taken the lead at the start of the second half but Bodin’s shot was stopped on the line by child-like Chanin and then cleared. Chonburi retook the lead after Todsapol’s header went straight to Worachit (8) and he sent the ball into the bottom corner of the goal. A third goal for Chonburi was averted thanks to a great instinctive save from Worawut, diving in front of Lukian from a few yards out. Port continued to press and got the equaliser in the 66th minute; a peach of a cross from Bodin found Dolah who headed across goal for Suarez to flick in. This set up a great final 20 minutes. Both teams could have got a winner but in the 78th minute Boskovic (23), far more effective playing in a wide left position, sent a great ball over the Chonburi defense and waiting at the far post was substitute Arthit (29) who fired into the roof of the net. Young Pele wheeled off in delight but Chonburi urged the referee to consult VAR for offside. After a few nervous minutes the referee gave the goal and the Port faithful started the party. Port saw out the rest of the game and 6 minutes of injury time to claim their second victory of the campaign. Sadly, an attempt to get the Victoria Secret bag to the players failed but it sure did us proud tonight. You might see more pink and white carrier bags as the season progresses, just don’t give us any funny looks.

There is no need to look at the negatives today; this game was a rip-roaring thriller and Jadet should be hailed for his team selection, tactics and substitution. The midfield trio looked awesome together and Go worked tirelessly at the base of midfield to allow Siwakorn and Sumanya to flourish. Bodin showed that he is a team player with a dangerous range of passing and Boskovic plays with more purpose in his natural position. This will give Jadet a happy headache when the injured players return but, knowing his past track record, he’ll probably stick to his preferred formation and players. Anyway, three points on a Friday night makes for a very happy weekend. Now I’m off to buy some more lingerie.

 

The Sandpit’s Man of the Match: Sumanya Purisai

There he is, the player we’ve been waiting for. I hadn’t been overly impressed with what I saw in the previous games but tonight he was awesome; a swashbuckling performance which drove the team to victory. He brings more energy and directness to the team and interestingly it seems he has made Siwakorn raise his game as well which bodes well for the rest of the season.

 

On-Mo Time: Chonburi FC 2-5 Port FC Match Report

 

 

Port’s impressive second half performance was enough to secure a comfortable 5-2 victory in Chonburi, although the friendly match was just one of a series of events put on by The Sharks to give legendary forward Pipob On-Mo a rousing send-off as he finally calls time on his playing career and moves in to coaching. The 39 year old is one of very few footballers in the modern Thai game to have stayed with a club for such a long time – 12 years to be precise – a feat for which he and Chonburi deserve enormous credit. To put that in context, Port’s current longest serving players, Worawut and Siwakorn, joined the club in 2015. Pipob made over 400 appearances and scored over 100 goals in his time with The Sharks, but unfortunately he wasn’t to make an appearance in the first match of the night – the 17:00 kickoff with Port.

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La Fin: Port FC vs. Chonburi FC Preview

 

Thai football’s biggest inter-club bromance resumes on Wednesday night at the PAT, as Port welcome Chonburi for the final home game of the season. The home side should be buoyed by a 5-0 win at the weekend over Navy, while the Sharks ensured another year of top-flight football thanks to a 3-1 win over Korat.

Having done more than was required of them on Saturday night in Sattahip, the advantage in the battle for 3rd place appeared to be back with us, as the forces of darkness from Legoland went into injury time on Sunday evening lucky to be at 2-2 with Sukhothai, only for substitute Sanukran to pop up with an entirely undeserved winner.  They play Pattaya at the same time as this match takes place. Good luck Pattaya, may you join the long list of teams to celebrate a victory in the away dressing room’s party lounge at Legoland, hopefully a party that stretches into the coming weekend.

Being the last home game you hope the club lays on something to mark the occasion. Back home you might see next season’s kit given an appearance. Given the recent record of Port failing to have kits ready for the start of the season I’ll hold my breath.

 

Our Opposition

 

As ever when playing Chonburi, I got in touch with Dale Farrington to find out whats going on with the Sharks (and save myself messing about on Wikipedia and and Transfermarkt trying to work out who their decent players are).

  • Chonburi secured top flight football for another season at the weekend, a pleasing end to the season?

Not really. Staying up is clearly better than getting relegated, but I don’t think it’s any cause for celebration. If anything, it should be a big kick up the backside to those who run the club. Sadly, I actually believe they think it’s an achievement. A sign of how far we’ve fallen and what little expectations we (they) have these days.

  • Overall a good or bad season for the club and do you expect an improvement next year?

Overall, a bad season. A new coach, who was showing potential and had the side well organised, was forced out after just eight matches and we never really recovered from that. Unless they employ a new coach – who actually knows what they are doing (unlike the current one) – and invest in some new players – preferably decent foreigners – next year will be much the same as this one. Or even worse!

  • Do you still have that goalkeeper who thinks he’s a sweeper, if so will he play and what other players should we look out for?

Chanin (35)? Yes. He’s still here. I’m not his biggest fan, but he has been outstanding over the past few weeks. His saves against Ubon Utd probably kept us up. Watch out for his kicking though. I’d say about 90% of his clearances go straight into touch! Otherwise, the centre backs, Gyeong Min (30) and Kritsada (42) are worth keeping an eye on. The former showed a lot of class before getting injured (he’s only recently returned) and the latter is a promising youngster, who hopefully will go on to bigger things.

 

Chanin Sae-ear, Kim Gyeong-min and Kritsada Kaman

 

  • And finally a prediction for Wednesday? Any chance your players have had a week off and want to donate 3 points to their besties up the road?

A prediction is almost impossible. I never know which Chonburi will turn up – the poor one or the slightly less than average one. If we’ve switched off after Saturday, you could get three or four.

 

Thanks to Dale for answering, especially at rather late notice.

 

Line Up

 

Given Jadet’s noted resistance to change and that his preferred outfield 10 just won 5-0 away from home, I wouln’t expect any changes by choice. Bodin (10), having served his suspension, will probably return to the bench and here’s the standard mention that should Rattanai (17) frame of biscuits be up to it he could start/be on the bench.

 

Form

 

Despite only achieving mathematically safety from relegation with their win last time out, Chonburi have spent most of the season hovering just above mid table.  Their form in 11 games since a defeat to this season’s shock underperformers Rangsit Glass, has seen them win 4, draw 3 and suffer defeat 4 times. 3 of those defeats came against the current top 3 and the other in their derby against Pattaya, while the wins have come against 3 teams currently in the relegation zone and (woeful) Korat. Very much that of a solid mid table grinder. Only twice have they kept clean sheets in that spell, with those matches averaging just under 3 goals (2.91), which is just a tad above the league average of 2.84.

Port’s form is somewhat more unpredictable. The two wins since the resumption have come against a Navy side so poor they make the decision to reduce the number of teams in the top tier look prudent and a Korat team whose survival, could be used to justification a similar reduction next season.  The first half against Suphanburi was encouraging and the result would probably have reversed if we’d found the net in the first half.

 

Prediction

 

If we are serious about third this is the kind of team – mediocre form and with an inability to keep clean sheets – we need to be putting away. As they also have nothing to play for, I’ll go 3-0 Port. Hopefully Dragon Boskovic can bag a brace and pass 100 career goals in Thailand as well.

 


 

True have had to get a bit creative with their choice of channels, what with all of the games being played simultaneously. This means that the match will be shown live on True Tennis HD at 18:00 on Wednesday 3 October, 2018. For those who can’t make it to PAT Stadium, The Sportsman on Sukhumvit 13 will show the match on a big screen with sound. Don’t forget to wear your Port shirt for a 10% discount on drinks.

 

The Artist Currently Known as Prince; The Fall of Zico: Port FC 1-3 Chonburi FC

 

Well what a 24 hours this has been… the club is in turmoil and one win in ten games leaves us now in a relegation fight, make no mistake about it. I was very optimistic and I openly shared this view in the sandpit prior to the game as I really felt that it was time the players showed some balls and played for their manager. The optimism was there right up until the sixtieth minute.

Port matched Chonburi in the first half although it was very clear that they were more menacing on the ball with Prince Amponsah (29) and Nakano (7) operating at a very high intensity but the first real chance of the game came from another Pakorn (9) free kick that crashed off the crossbar. Both teams evened themselves out until a beautiful defence splitting pass from Sergio Suarez (5) sent Josimar (30) racing clear to slide the ball past Chanin (35) in the Chonburi goal. Genki (18) then skied a lovely measured Pakorn pass when he should have done better on his trusted left foot. Port then had two goals ruled offside: the first was clearly off, but the second a – slip pass through to Genki – was touch and go.

 

 

With Port’s heads still in the changing room the self-destruction started. Good link up play from Marques (14) and The Prince led to the latter driving the ball low and hard into the bottom corner. Port rallied and the introduction of Tana (99) added extra spice to our attack and within five minutes of his arrival the aforementioned headed over from eight yards with the defender just doing enough to put him off.

Suarez who had a good game came close a couple of minutes later hooking his shot past the post. With ten minutes to go the potent strike force struck the killer blow this time Prince the provider for Marques who had his first shot excellently blocked by Worawut (36) only for the rebound to fall to his feet and he dispatched into an empty net. The game was now over as a contest and The Sharks were deservedly in front. Nitipong (34) then received his marching orders for a mistimed challenge that, although clearly intentional was not malicious. Two minutes later The Prince caught a cross field ball sweetly on his right foot and drilled it into Worawut’s right hand far post. That was it from me I was overdosing on Leo when the final whistle sounded, all my positivity drained out of me like a mosquito bite!

 

“And then he put Pakorn at right back!”

 

Zico announced his departure in the post-match press conference as expected. What happens next is anyone’s fucking guess! With Pang at the helm we will either have Jadet back, or she will try doing the job herself. This situation needs to be sorted immediately. Actually, looking at our prolific recent record, the process should have started four games ago which feels like last Christmas the way this season has been going!

 

Sharks Circle Hapless Zico: Port FC vs. Chonburi FC, 20 September 2017

 

Well what a season this has been and it has led to me being disillusioned and disinterested in Thai football for the first time in six years since my first trip to the PAT. The constant stop-start bullshit to facilitate the national team is doing my head in. We don’t even have any players in the national team! The King’s Cup? Do me a favour! Milovan Rajevac, the national team coach, is even dismayed and said “It does not happen or would not happen in any other league in the world” His words not mine: we live in the same condominium.

As for our form, it is nothing short of shocking, although I predict a win on Wednesday, which will save Zico’s job if you listen to the media and the fan groups. One win in nine? Poor Frank De Boer would have been delighted with this display of patience. I didn’t get to the Police Tero game, but read a lot of opinion from my Sandpit colleagues and social media, and the general consensus was really negative even amongst the most optimistic Port fans I know.

Paddy Power, the well-known Irish bookmaker, has us at 6/5 to beat Chonburi, who by the standards set last year are not living up to expectations although they outclassed us on our last duel.

They have in their squad an old friend of ours, Thiago Cunha! Since he left us he has turned his attentions to starting street brawls that Belfast city centre would be proud of on a Saturday night, only he likes to have them on the pitch. Whilst playing for Mumbai United against Atletico Kolkata in the Indian Super League semi-final he kicked a player up the arse and proceeded to break the Indian half marathon record whilst getting chased around the pitch by Atletico players and officials. Click here, you won’t regret it. Then he returned to Thailand to his old club Chonburi and as they say about old leopards… again our friend got himself in an old altercation, although this time he got properly dealt with and ended up looking like a butcher’s apron, this time at the hands of a Ratchaburi steward.

Definitely not a game to miss for sure, and hopefully we can turn our recent form around and register a much-needed confidence-boosting victory.

 

Tom’s Players to Watch

 

Remember that little guy who turned Port’s defenders inside out when Sukhothai came to town a couple of weeks ago? Well, John Baggio hasn’t morphed from a Fire Bat in to a Shark, but a very similar player – 2 inches taller in fact, at an imposing 5”4 – Nurul Sriyankem (31) will likely be giving Port’s fullbacks another serious examination on Wednesday. The speedy little winger’s form – 15 goals and 8 assists in all competitions – has seen him called up to the National Team consistently under Rajevac. He’s quick, he’s tricky and Port will have to concentrate really, really hard on not kicking him in the penalty area. Or body-checking him. Please, Adisorn!

Step forward, SFS. Yes, Renan Marques (14) is Chonburi’s Scary Foreign Striker. With 24 goals in 27 matches in 2017, perhaps we should call him a VSFS. He’s big, strong and deadly in front of goal, although he makes up for it by matching teammate Thiago Cunha for attitude. The sultry Brazilian is as likely to channel Lindsey Lohan from Mean Girls as he is to score, which isn’t to say he’s unlikely to find the onion bag, rather that he’s extremely unlikely to make it through 90 minutes without either throwing or inspiring some kind of hissy fit. He found the back of the net from the spot against Port in the first half of the season, an outcome precisely no one would be surprised to see repeated on Wednesday.

 

Nurul Sriyakem and Renan Marques

 

32 year old Ivorian Fode Diakite (18) must really like Chonburi. He has joined The Sharks no fewer than 3 times, and even had a spell at Regional League team Phantong FC last year, who are based in… yep, you guessed it – Chonburi. Diakite is the main physical presence in the Chonburi rear guard, equally at home at the back or in defensive midfield. His job will be to match Josimar and Suarez for height and strength, although to be honest, even if he was 4 foot tall with a sponge for a head he would probably still be able to stop Port’s forward line doing any damage in the air.

Not all ‘Players to Watch’ have to be any good, right? Well, Chanin Sae-Ear (35) is a funny one. Thai football’s resident hipster enjoyed an impressive spell at Port, before making his way to Chonburi via Chainat, becoming Thailand’s third choice goalkeeper along the way. He’s so not-mainstream he wore the number 9 shirt whilst at Chainat. Dude, man… At his best, Chanin has lightning reflexes, and comes off his line in a flash to help sweep up behind his defenders. At his worst, he makes Neville Southall look nimble, and in true hipster fashion can often be found so far outside the box, he doesn’t even know what the box is. I can’t possibly say which Chanin is going to turn up at PAT Stadium on Wedneday, but he almost certainly won’t be boring to watch.

 

Fode Diakite and Chanin Sae-Ear

 

Tom’s Player Not to Watch

 

Why exactly did we send one of our best young players to Chonburi again? Oh yeah, that’s right, so he could make four appearances. On the bench. Zero minutes on the pitch. Whilst it won’t be ex-Port player Tatchanon Nakarawong (39) who comes back to PAT Stadium with a bang on Wednesday, this other fella just might…

 

Here’s hoping for a swing and a miss this time…

 

Shark’s Dale

 

Thanks to Dale Farrington from the Chonburi FC website for providing us with this week’s opposition perspective. Here are his thoughts on the big game…

I must admit, that the thought of driving up to Bangkok, straight from work, for a meaningless end of season midweek fixture, was somewhat less than appealing. However, the news that Zico has promised to resign if Port lose has added a much needed bit of spice to the occasion.

The ex-national team coach hasn’t enjoyed the best of starts during his return to club management, but surely after only a dozen or so games in charge, he deserves better than this. As I’m only looking in from the outside, I don’t know all the details, but such action surely hints at much deeper problems for the Klong Toey club, and further reinforces the fact that football has gone completely mad.

Kiatisuk – to give him his Sunday name – had a brief spell in charge of Chonburi back in 2009. During this time, when he was still learning his trade, he showed signs that he would go on to bigger and better things. Reports from the training sessions were positive and performances on the field yielded results. Unfortunately, the senior management – and, it has to be said, a section of the crowd – weren’t convinced, and he moved on after just one full season at the helm.

Personally, I felt he was unfairly treated and deserved more time to build on the foundations he had put in place. That year we won the Kor Royal Cup (his first competitve match in charge), finished second in the league (taking it right up to the penultimate weekend) and reached the last eight of the AFC Cup. Zico also ended the campaign with a 2.07 points per game average, which is still the best return of any of our coaches. Therefore, whatever happens after tomorrow night’s game, I wish him well. I’m certain that someone will come in for him and give the opportunity to prove himself.

As for the game itself, I’m not really expecting much, and suspect most of the entertainment will be provided by what happens off the field. From a Chonburi perspective, this season can’t end soon enough. It really has been a rotten 2017 and I can’t wait to see the back of it.

We have assembled the worst squad in sixteen years, set a number of unwanted records and seen home and away crowds plummet. The only real bright spots have been provided by the emergence of a couple of academy graduates – Panudech in particular being one to watch – and the return to form of Nurul. Other than that, it’s been one to forget. Roll on the 19th of November!

 

The match will be shown live on True4U at 17:45 on Wednesday 20 September, 2017. For those who can’t make it to the stadium, The Sportsman on Sukhumvit 13 will be showing the match on a big screen with sound.

 

Rumble In Ratchaburi: Punishments Handed Down

 

Both offending parties from the Rumble in Ratchaburi have had their punishments handed down by the FAT. Former Port striker Thiago Cunha has been given a 5 match ban and a 50,000 baht fine, while Ratchaburi manager Tanawat Nitikanchana, also known as Fluke, has been given a three month ban and a 60,000 baht fine. Additionally, Ratchaburi have been fined 100,000 baht and told to submit an improved security plan, but Chonburi escaped punishment despite their players walking off the pitch.

The Melee at Mitrphol started when Fluke, son of the Ratchaburi owner, came on to the pitch to protest the officials as they walked towards the tunnel at half time of their home clash last week with Chonburi. Professional troll and occasional footballer Thiago then sprayed water at the raging Ratchaburi manager, who responded by punching Thiago in the back of the head. Thiago then emptied the rest of his water in to Fluke’s face and all hell broke loose.

 

 

At some point in the insanity that followed, Thiago was sent off and then punched in the face – reportedly by a security guard. Fluke made a quick dash for the exit, and Thiago came back out on to the pitch with blood pouring from his face. At this point the red mist really descended. Thiago ran down the touchline shouting obscenities and pushed over a security guard before finally being restrained by teammates and more security. Eventually, he was escorted from the pitch, but play did not resume for another 45 minutes or so as the Chonburi players walked off the pitch, came back again and then the officials tried to make sense of what on Earth had just happened. I’ve watched videos, and I’m still not exactly sure of the sequence of events, so apologies if there are any inaccuracies in my timeline.

Those who read our last piece about Thiago will recall that the Barmy Brazilian was at the centre of a brawl in India last December. In the ruckus that followed the final whistle of the Indian Super League semi-final, Thiago drop-kicked an opponent before pegging it towards officials for protection. At Port he also taught the dressing-room door a thing or two about getting in his way after being substituted. Ratchaburi boss Fluke has some form in this area, too. I’m not as well acquainted with incidents he has been involved with, but have seen footage of him shoulder-barging an opposition player who was trying to take a throw-in. Charming!

All in all, what we have here is a spat between two pretty unsavory characters who are either unwilling or incapable of controlling themselves for the good of their team or the game in general. There are differences of opinion on who should be attributed more blame for the incident. I personally think that much more fault lies with Fluke, who initiated the actual violence, but Thiago is obviously at fault for his rampage up and down the touchline in the aftermath. The punishments seem pretty reasonable to me, although the pitiful fines are a bit redundant.

Will we see Crazy Cunha again in Thai football? Only time will tell. If he returns to the Chonburi side immediately after his ban ends, his comeback could be at PAT Stadium, although this depends whether or not cup games are included in the 5 game ban. Don’t worry Thiago, I’m sure the Port fans won’t try to wind you up or anything, and I for one will most certainly not be kitted out in full Muay Thai gear!