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No Bottle; Port Crack in Coke Cup Final

 

Port’s Academy suffered Coke Cup heartbreak after they slumped to a 2-0 loss against Muangthong in the Bangkok Regional Final. Port had already exceeded expectations by getting as far as they did, outperforming the youth sides of some of Bangkok’s best clubs, most notably Bangkok United – who were dispatched in the group stage – and Bangkok Glass. Ultimately their efforts came to nothing, though, as rivals Muangthong advanced to the last 8 of the Coke Cup, where they will face the champions of 7 other regions.

The game itself was a pretty one-sided affair, and it’s no surprise when you look at the teams. The Muangthong Academy provides a sizable proportion of Thailand’s under 19 squad, whereas Port don’t have a single representative, with Meechok having turned 20 this year. Nevertheless, Port’s young lions did themselves proud, surviving against the prohibitive favourites until well in to the second half.

Tall, powerful midfielder Polkrit (11) was arguably Port’s key man, shielding the defence well and making Muangthong’s forwards think twice about going in to challenges with him. Unfortunately his all-action performance took its’ toll, and Polkrit limped off with a foot injury at about the hour mark. It was shortly after the big man was replaced that Port finally succumbed. A pinpoint cross from the left was headed home by the only forward in the box, who did well to find space between the two centre backs and finish clinically.

It was at about this time that Port players started dropping like flies. A spate of substitutions were made as Port’s players were clearly not able to cope with the physical demands of playing every 2 or 3 days in a tournament format like this, with most games being played at four o’clock in the afternoon. The game slowed down as numerous Port players cramped up, and others suffered injuries. Muangthong held up much better, retaining their impetus and continuing to attack in search of a second goal that would surely kill the game off.

It wasn’t long before it came, and it was a goal that goalkeeper Jedsadakorn (23) will want to forget in a hurry. In fairness to Port’s stopper there was a clear hand-ball in the build-up, but the way he flung himself on to the floor in an attempt to gather what should have been a fairly routine ball through was definitely more Weera than Rattanai. It was a disappointing end to what had been a good tournament for the ‘keeper, who kept two clean-sheets in four games.

 

Partchya (27) scored one of the goals of the tournament in the 2-0 win over Honda

 

Nevertheless, Port can certainly return to their regular season with heads held high. Perhaps some of Port’s players may have even done enough to be considered for an under-19 national team call-up. From the bits and pieces I watched, if I were to pick the two with the best chances they would be Polkrit (11) in midfield and Partchya (27) on the left wing.

 

Port Face Muangthong in Coke Cup Bangkok Final

 

Port will face Muangthong in the Coke Cup Bangkok Regional Final at SCG Stadium. Unfortunately it has been confirmed today that fans will not be allowed to watch. Spoilsports!

 

 

 

Many have quite rightly been bemoaning the bizarre suspension of T1 action during the under-22 SEA Games, but Thailand’s academy teams have been making the most of the break in the 2017 Coke Cup. The 10-team regional tournament features the best academy teams from in and around Bangkok, with the participants this year being hosts SCG Muangthong, Air Force, Bangkok FC, Port FC, Bangkok Christian College, Bangkok United, Super Power, Thai Honda, Bangkok Glass and Army United.

Groups A and B featured three teams, from which only the winner would advance to the semi-finals, while Group C featured four teams, from which two teams would advance. Port were drawn in what looked like a tough group B with Bangkok United and Bangkok Christian College, who are renowned around the country for their youth setup. Port started off their tournament with a solid 2-0 win against Bangkok United, with our lanky left-winger Partchya (27), midfield hard-man Polkrit (11) and goalkeeper Jedsadakorn (23) all looking impressive.

 

 

 

A one-goal defeat to BCC followed, but Port were lucky enough to qualify by virtue of their +1 goal difference, with all three teams tied on three points. Port advanced to the semi-finals, where they were probably lucky to draw Group C runners-up Thai Honda. Port put in another impressive display, defeating Honda 2-0 largely thanks to left-winger Partchya (27), who showed that he has the end product to go with the tricks and flicks. His through-ball sent diminutive forward Chanayut (10) through to score the first, and he capped a match-winning performance by curling in a peach of a goal from outside the area which the goalkeeper could only marvel at.

The other semi-final saw Muangthong take on the surprise package of the tournament, Super Power, who have apparently invested more in their academy than they have in their first team. They cruised through group C garnering 6 points – 5 more than their first team has managed in T1 so far this season – but found hosts Muangthong one test too many, succumbing to a 3-1 defeat at SCG Stadium.

With three wins out of three and a goal difference of +7, Muangthong will be confident of winning on home soil, but Port’s youngsters could be inspired by the performance of their senior side, who defied the odds to shock their bitter rivals 3-2 at the SCG. The winners will advance to the final round of the Coke Cup, which will see the eight regional champions slog it out for national glory. Port will already be happy to have made it as far as they have, but with the prospect of a victory against rivals Muangthong and a place in the national tournament at steak, anything less than victory will be a bitter disappointment for Port’s Young Lions.