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The Best Cup of Leo Ever: Port FC 2-1 Muangthong Utd (Leo Cup Final)

 

 

Frankly it couldn’t have been scripted better, we won the biggest preseason prize on offer (Champions’ Cup? Never heard of it). Beating bitter cross-town rivals, having come from a goal down, thanks to an injury time winner scored by their former goal scoring hero.

The evening started like a lazy metaphor for Ports preseason. We jumped in a taxi, we knew where we wanted to end up, as did the driver but with three different voices articulating three different routes, all we achieved was to start out going in wrong direction, then a double back and a finally a loop before finally we headed into the countryside north of Bangkok and the mythical land of Leo where Port go to collect silverware. What was clear on arrival was that we were to be outnumbered, as the place was swarming with MTU fans. There was a strange atmosphere with people unsure whether it was better to scowl at the sworn enemy you’ve been the deprived the chance of “propa nawty straighter” with for years by the powers that be. Or make like Thai football fans and clink plastic glasses and get a selfie with everyone you meet. The later won though and hopefully come April our friends (there are limits) from Legoland will be allowed to come and witness a fifth straight victory for Port in the scum v slum derby.

For Port there were raft of changes as Rattani (17), Jaturapat(81), Bodin (10) and Chenrop (39) replaced Warawut (36), Steuble (15), Herberty (37) and Adisak (9). While Kevin (23) was back on the bench. Any doubt regarding if the players would treat this as preseason kick about or go for the full blood and thunder effort of a derby was almost instantly put to bed, as Derley (87) tangled with Go(8), a bit of a shirt pull by the Brazilian and some encouragement for the Korean to get on with the game followed. Seconds later from the resulting Port free kick, Go receives the same treatment from then same player and reacts by taking a swipe at the Brazilian. Whilst it wasn’t the fall blown elbow to the face that Delrey and the most of the Muangthong players and staff implied, it was clearly the kind of act that players can and will be sent off for, fortunately the referee decided to be lenient (or maybe it was karma for the Chiang Rai finishing Sundays game without seeing red). There after the game settled down somewhat, there was still niggle from both sides and neither team were able to establish clear domination. Then in the 19th minute Curren (27) got behind Jaturapat on the Muangthong right and fired a cross to the far post where Delrey had fount some space and fires his header downwards into the corner of the goal. Nobody involved in the process for Port covered themselves in glory.

Moments later Suarez (5) reacted to a foul by Saharat (25), whilst it was part of the weekly incessant sly digs and fouls our Sergio has to endue, to throw the ball at the opposition player is silly and invites trouble, once again the ref chose not to punish the Port player. The ensuing Port free kick resulted in a Muangthong break ended by a great saving tackle by Jaturapat and the bizarre sight of Pakorn (7) being the last defender as the counter was repelled. There was still time for a couple more yellows firstly to Curren who looks an excellent acquisition and coped well with all that Port threw at him especially whilst on a yellow. Whilst Siwakorn (16) collected one for an unnecessary foul of a player going nowhere because that’s what Siwakorn does. And so ended the first half, very little between the two teams, Muangthong created the one decent chance and took it.

The second half started in much the same vein as Popp(19) sent a hopeful pop shot (like that wasn’t getting used) wide for Muangthong and at the other end Suarez did the same stretching to reach a cross. Then on the 51 minutes Adisak(9) was introduced for Chenrop (39), who if nothing else had put a shift in for the cause and we got to see if Adisak would work as an impact substitute. A couple of minutes later Delrey set about balancing up the Port misdemeanours of the first half, as in 15 seconds he managed to throw an arm in Dolah’s (4) face and then kicked the ball in to the his body having tripped up him up and stood on his ankle, in between the two. The Brazilian had now been sucked into a running battle with Dolah, a situation that always pleases the big fella as striker more interested in getting a dig in, rarely contributes much for the cause and on the rare occasion Muangthong got the ball into Port territory this was the case with Delrey for the remainder of the match. Which meant the burden fell on his strike partner Popp, who’s evening was high on endeavour and low on end product.

From here on Port gained the upper hand, Go saw a shot beat Van Lam (1) but go just wide of the post. Kevin (23) replaced Jaturapat and such was the dominance of Port he would basically play as a winger with Bodin (10) drifting into more central positions. On the right Tanaseth (11) replaced Pakorn. The little fella lit the game up from the moment he came on. In a checkered preseason, the arrival from Suphanburi, has been the major bright spot. You get the sense he will be this seasons fans favourite, the lineage runs strongly though the years I’ve watched Port, Saruta, Ekkapoom, Terans, even Nurul, all diminutive wide men, all loved by the masses. Along with Bodin he looks capable of producing the kind of football that has you thinking with 15 minutes to go in a final a goal down to your biggest rivals, even if its as bad as the worst doom monger predicts it’ll still be worth going just to watch these lads play. Flicks, whirling limbs, swagger, tricks, questionable hair cuts, its was all on display as Port pushed for an equalizer.

Which finally came in 82nd minute, Kanarin (31) who had come on Siwakorn, collected the ball, took a moment, looked up and found Tanasith who beat a defender and from the right squared a ball to Adisak who with his back to goal found Go centrally on the edge of the box, who wouldn’t refuse a second opportunity to place a shot into the corner. Could Van Lam have done better probably, was he wrong footed or unsighted possible. Did anyone behind the goal care, no not one bit. Port weren’t done yet as a moment later Suarez beat the hapless keeper but saw his shot go just wide.

Worst was to come for the stopper, with the game in injury time and discussion ongoing as to if we were going directly to penalties as previously in the competition or with this being a final we would see extra time that you felt would result in a Port win. A thought that might also have been on the mind of Muangthong’s “are you sure you’re big enough to be a centre back” centre back Promsupa (15 and 5ft9), who dwelled for a moment and saw substitute Nattawut (45) nip in and nick the ball, his little legs can’t keep up with our blonde haired hero who plays a pass across the goal to Adisak who slides it into the bottom corner. Que pandemonium behind the goal. There was still time for Bangkok’s third team to throw everything at Port but ultimately it came to nothing. So 2020 starts as 2019 ended with Port collecting silverware. Anyone thinking it was a meaningless cup didn’t see Gama’s little face as he led his players off without watching the victors lift the cup.

In typical Port style the evening wasn’t done, as their was still time for Dom to be bloodied battling for a Worarut shirt and leaving the stadium and some distance from the players area, we encounter the trophy being passed around by the assembled Port fans seemingly without anyone from the club around.

 

 

The Sandpit Man of the Match: Tanasith

He only came on for 25 minutes but as soon as he did the mood of the match changed. Might as well give him the player of the season award if he performs like that every week.

 

Mai Pen Rai: Port FC 2-2 Chiang Rai Utd (Port win 12-11 on penalties)

Port scraped through a bruising encounter with Chiang Rai to book their place in the Leo Cup Final, which will be played on Tuesday. Chiang Rai were moments away from progressing until Port converted a late penalty, after which we went on to tuck away an astonishing 12 more in a marathon penalty shootout. Chiang Rai’s new Brazilian Mailson (11) was the fall guy. Not picked in the starting XI, Mailson looked poor after coming on, before missing the target entirely with two woeful spot-kick attempts. Not a good start for Thin Bill’s replacement.

 

 

The game started as you would expect any tie involving Chiang Rai to start. Both sides kicked eachother. A lot. Dolah (4) opened his account early, accidentally stepping on Chaiyawat Buran (26), who you may remember (Dolah certainly does) got the big man sent off a couple of years back with some particularly egregious foul play. Chiang Rai had their sights set on Port’s creative talents, with both Bordin (10) and Suarez (5) appearing to be targeted with persistent kicks and tugs.

In between the kicking, diving, pushing and foul language some football did eventually break out. Adisak (9) blazed wide from a tricky angle early on, then headed over from close range after a dangerous corner from the left, before grazing the post after the ball was gifted to him with the defence and goalkeeper out of position. It was not looking like his day, once again.

Despite Port looking like marginally the better side though, all it took was one lapse to turn the tables. Rochela (22) committed himself and was beaten far too easily, allowing Bill (9) a clear waddle at Worawut (36). Even as slow and rotund as he is, he had the time and space to pick his spot, and Worawut’s finger tips weren’t quite strong enough to keep his composed finish out.

 

 

Port responded with a substitution. Suarez (5), after picking up a knock in the last round, was withdrawn, hopefully as a precautionary measure. In his place, Tanasith (11) was given the chance to impress with the first team. He added an urgency and attacking endeavor to Port’s game that was lacking with Heberty (37) slowing the game down on the right. The Brazilian was once again looking lethargic and, frankly, continued the trend of being one of Port’s worst players throughout pre-season.

After half time, Port continued to press with Tanasith providing the spark, and the little man soon provided Adisak with a chance that surely even he couldn’t botch. Tanasith danced on to Heberty’s pass down the right, removed the ‘keeper from the equation with a deft chip and presented Adisak with an open goal from a couple of yards out. Port’s oft wayward striker finally put to bed his run of missed chances, getting above his marker and finding the back of the net. Hopefully that will have done his confidence some good!

 

 

Port failed to maintain concentration and kick on, though, immediately allowing Chiang Rai to re-establish their lead. Nitipong (34) and Dolah allowed Chaiyawat a little too much time after a well-weighted ball down the left, and the forward struck a vicious left footed effort towards goal. He hit it well, but Worawut won’t be happy to have been beaten by his effort, which went straight over his head and in to the back of the net.

Port didn’t look particularly likely to level the game, with multiple substitutions from both sides breaking up the flow of the game, but a stroke of fortune did eventually lead to a very late equalizer. Heberty’s freekick was cleared to Chenrop (39), and his attempted cross struck the arm of Chiang Rai forward Somkid (17). The referee didn’t see it initially, awarding a corner, but after receiving word from his linesman a penalty was correctly given. Brinner (5) and several other players harangued the referee and delayed the taking of the penalty for several minutes, and Chiang Rai even brought on apparent ‘specialist’ penalty stopper Saranon Anuin (1) to up the ante. Heberty, entirely nonplussed by the nonsense going on around him, coolly converted, and the tie went straight to a shootout.

 

 

Port immediately set about trying to lose, naming their entire back 4 among the first 5 takers. Todsapol (6) and Dolah (4) both missed the target, but Brazilian winger Mailson followed suit before former Port midfielder Tatchanon (7) slipped and saw his effort saved by Worawut. A remarkable succession of successful penalties followed, with all of the sudden death takers converting without much hassle. Goalkeeper Worawut’s penalty was arguably the pick of the bunch, finding the bottom corner with unerring accuracy.

 

 

With one round completed, the teams were allowed to reorganize, and Heberty was first up for Port to convert his third penalty of the evening, then Athibordee entertained the crowd, pointing to his spot before duly dispatching his effort exactly where he had pointed to. Eventually, after a few more successful efforts from both sides Mailson stepped up to settle the tie in Port’s favour, hitting the worst penalty of the night miles over the bar. In an entertaining subplot, last-minute Tim Krul wannabe Saranon failed to lay a glove on any of Port’s 14 penalties, proving unsurprisingly that tactically changing your ‘keeper at the last minute only works if said goalkeeper actually knows how to save penalties.

All in all, an enjoyable finish to a pretty poor game for Port. We didn’t really deserve to win, the likes of Bordin, Heberty, Adisak and Rochela continued to struggle for form, but at least Port will have another competitive game before the start of the season. Our opponents will be none other than Muangthong, who overcame Prachuap in another shootout in yesterday’s late kick off.

First of course is the Thailand Champions Cup tie with Chiang Rai at the SCG this Sunday, with the Leo Cup game to follow at Leo Stadium on Tuesday.

 

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.

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Kicking Off With a Leo: Port FC vs. Nakhon Ratchasima FC Preview

 

I’m still reeling from Port’s disappointing AFC Champions League exit at the hands of Ceres Negros on Tuesday, so you’ll excuse me if I let a particularly virulent strand of pessimism colour this preview. Whisperings from the Port camp had already set alarm bells ringing in my head, and now having had a chance to look at Choke’s boys in action I’m exponentially more concerned.

I’m previewing the Leo Cup Clash with Korat here, but I’m also talking about the trajectory Port are taking with 2020 in mind.

Before I lose my mind and let loose though, here’s a brief (I promise) look at the opposition.

 

Nakhon Ratchasima FC

Players to watch

 

Not too much has changed for Korat in 2020. Key attacking duo Leandro Assumpcao (7) and Amadou Outtara (81) have remained. Leandro is a dead ball specialist and a deadly finisher in and around the box. Port defenders will want to keep the ball away from his left boot when he’s within striking range. Amadou Outtara is a winger with devastating pace who has always impressed me when I’ve seen him, although he’s hasn’t quite managed to deliver as many goals as one might expect given how dangerous he looks. He’s good, but perhaps his end product could be better.

 

 

They will likely be joined in the attack by Chitchanok Xaysensourinthone (10), a Thai-Laotian winger born in Switzerland, who has been kicking around Thailand for a few years but never quite nailed down a starting spot and been able to make his mark at a T1 club. He’s one of those who has always had potential, but as yet hasn’t quite delivered as much as he could. He’s a strong, physical presence in the forward line though, and shouldn’t be underestimated.

Straight in to Korat’s XI in their Leo Cup opener was a little-known midfielder who has been kicking his heels at one of Thailand’s top clubs for a couple of years now. The short-sighted assessment of the aforementioned club meant that the player received far less playing time than his early contributions warranted, but now the shackles are off and he’s straight in to a T1 side’s prospective XI for the coming season. Well done Anon Samakorn (99), us Port fans hope you get a real go at it this year with the Swatcats.

 

 

Then there’s Samuel Cunningham (88). A player Port fans love to wind up, he can expect his devoted followers to say hello from Zones B and D in a quiet PAT Stadium this Thursday. We’ve missed you, Sam.

 

Form

 

They drew their first round match with T2 side Khon Kaen FC, before edging the tie on penalties.

 

Port FC

Ajax My Ass

 

Right, I’m done delaying the inevitable. It’s colonoscopy time, boys, and this one is not going to be brief.

Let’s start from the back. We’ve always said that Worawut (36) is too flappy and punchy from crosses, so his blunder against Ceres wasn’t a surprise. It shouldn’t really effect our judgment of Port’s first choice between the sticks, as everyone makes mistakes, so we’re left saying once again that Port have three decent ‘keepers by T1 standards, but none quite feel like T1 winners. I’ve advocated in the past for Port to spend big and bring in one of these 5 ASEAN goalkeepers, who would all represent an improvement on Port’s stoppers, and that message hasn’t changed. Either that or a really top Thai goalkeeper.

Then there’s the defence. Nitipong’s (34) end product was poor, and Kevin (23) didn’t seem to be on it at all on Tuesday, but we know they’ll be back as Port’s first choice full backs in 2020, and rightly so. In central defence is where I have issues. The Rochela (22) question is back once again. He looked sluggish to say the least against Police, and Choke chose to drop him altogether against Ceres, opting for Dolah (4) and Tanaboon (71) in the middle. For the most part (I missed the first 10 minutes of the second half) they did well, but I’ve had the chance to watch the highlights now, and it’s a terrible error from Tanaboon that led to the corner from which Ceres got the decisive goal. Dolah’s solid performance only served to further underline that the only question should be who partners him at the back.

 

 

My thoughts on this: if your foreign centre back isn’t even getting in the XI, you need a different foreign centre back. Simple as that. On Tanaboon, I thought he looked good in general, but the mistake was typical of a player for whom decisiveness has never been a strong point. A couple of decent performances – one at DM in the FA Cup Final – are not going to assuage my doubts. Same old problems here.

In midfield, Port didn’t do anything ostensibly wrong. Go (8) moved the ball around beautifully as usual, but we were outmatched for intensity. Schrock (12) and his boys wanted it more than us, and that’s a shame to see in such a big game. Still, losing this battle isn’t the end of the world, and we know Go and Siwakorn (16) will be back stronger.

I would normally differentiate between players who played different positions across the forward line at this point, but since Choke has decided Port will be T1’s Ajax there’s really no knowing who is supposed to be playing where. Pakorn (7), Bordin (10), Heberty (37) and Suarez (5) were the forwards, but none seemed to have much idea where they should be or what they should do.

 

 

Pakorn was spotted at right back, right wing, left wing and even centre forward. Pakorn. You know, the chunky lad whose only skills are freekicks, corners and playing right wing. Pakorn was probably the most threatening of the front line, so obviously he was the first to be substituted. Bordin looked like he’d had a lobotomy gone wrong over the break, in which both his brain and hair were accidentally swapped with the least talented member of a Korean boy band. His decline since the mid-way point of 2019 is ever more concerning. Heberty had a shocker, looking far too concerned with doing everything himself, despite being unable to actually do anything himself. His freekicks were shocking, his shooting was shocking, and his selfishness was the cherry on top. He has to fit in to this team, rather than bend it to his will. Suarez played pretty well in all, trying to stick to the task he has once again been stuck with, despite the fact that playing up front is nowhere near his best position. He did miss a headed chance you’d expect him to stick away, but he was far from the only one guilty of that.

 

 

The substitutes did improve Port going forward, but not enough to make the breakthrough. Adisak (9) gave the attack a focal point when he came on, but his finishing was predictably lackluster. He had two chances, with a tricky headed opportunity which went narrowly wide and a big chance clear through on the ‘keeper which he wasted through being painfully indecisive.

 

 

Tanasith (11) was a breath of fresh air on the left, hugging the touchline and making darting runs in behind, but his finishing was also found wanting at the crucial moment, when he shot through a crowd of bodies, only to pick out the man on the line.

 


 

So, the areas that we are really going to learn something from in this Leo Cup tie are the centre of defence and the attack. A decision must be made on whether Rochela or Tanaboon is going to partner Dolah. If it’s Rochela then hopefuly he’s still up to the task, but if it’s Tanaboon, then a new defender must be signed. A foreign centre back would be preferable, but Port could also opt to bring in a top Thai centre back and use their foreign player elsewhere.

Speaking of which, the one thing this team needs, and indeed has needed for a very long time, is a striker. A foreign striker. Josimar (30) is still on the books. Injured, but on the books. Maybe bringing him at Rochela’s expense in is once again an option worth considering. As long as we don’t play him out wide again. Looking further afield is another option, but at this point in the transfer window we’d likely be looking at another risky signing, which could easily go the way of Rolando Blackburn, and no one wants to see that again. Adisak could make a case for himself if he bangs in a few goals today, but let’s face it, that’s not a likely scenario. Does anyone know if Pele has gone to Police yet?

 


 

Kickoff is at 18:00 at PAT Stadium, and the game will also be broadcast live on True4U.

 

Leo? Say Yeah! Port Face Swatcats in Preseason Tournament

 

Forget Mickey Mouse competitions like the ACL – this month there’s only one cup that counts, and that’s the annual preseason Leo Cup! Port kick off their Leo Cup campaign this Thursday against T1 opening day opponents Nakhon Ratchasima, with the winners to face Japanese club Cerezo Osaka at home on Sunday.

Previously it had been announced that, with Port hoping/expecting to travel to Tokyo next week in the 3rd qualifying round of the ACL (in a staggering display of hubris, they were already selling limited edition shirts in the club shop last night), the reserves would be playing in the Leo Cup. But following last night’s defeat to Ceres Negros, one suspects they will now use the tournament to prepare for the T1 campaign. After last night’s 247 missed chances, a bit of shooting practice seems sorely needed.

You can follow all the Leo Cup action on True4U and of course The Sandpit will be reporting on all Port’s games – let’s hope there’s more than one of them this time!

Leo Cup 2020

Port FC vs Nakhon Ratchasima FC

Thursday 23 January 18:00 at PAT Stadium

 

Out Of Leo: Chiang Rai 5-3 Port (after penalty shootout)

 

Port exited the pre-season Leo Cup in the first round, as Chiang Rai showed more composure at the death to win 5-3 on penalties. In a match that you could have been forgiven for thinking would be a battle between two of the top strikers in Thai football – last season’s top scorer Boskovic and all-time top scorer Cleiton – neither side could break the deadlock, despite Port having the better of the action for most of the game. As there weren’t a great many incidents of note, I won’t bother with a blow-by-blow account of the action but rather give my impressions on some of Port’s key men.

 

Suarez or Nebihi?

Jadet went for a curious line-up in the first half, picking four foreigners who will not be allowed to play together in T1 next season. Rochela (22) and Boskovic (10) are of course nailed on certainties to be in the T1 squad next season, but only one of Nebihi (14) and Suarez (5) will be joining them. Jadet picked both – presumably to see which one would stake the stronger claim – and Nebihi responded just the way his manager would have hoped for. A natural number 10 if there ever was one, Nebihi was gliding past defenders at will, his long strides and robust frame presenting a problem the Chiang Rai defence could only really answer by fouling him. Whilst his final ball looked a little rusty – as did pretty much everyone’s – he did as much as Port fans could have hoped for to suggest that he will be an important addition to Port’s attacking arsenal. Suarez also looked lively, putting in a lot of strong challenges and showing some fancy footwork, but it was clear that his impact on the game was not as marked as that of Nebihi.

 

The Strikers

Boskovic didn’t have the debut he will have been hoping for, but there was really very little in the way of service for him to dig his teeth in to. Given a few more games to get his scoring touch back, Boskovic will find that extra yard and hone that first touch to hopefully become the deadly force he was in 2017. Fellow new signing Arthit Butjinda (29) similarly had very little to play with up front after he replaced the Montenegrin. He converted his penalty in the shoot-out with minimum fuss.

 

Kim Sung-Hwan

 

 

So that’s what a proper defensive midfielder looks like. Kim (8) was a rock in the centre of the park, showing spot-on positioning, quality passing and communicating well with his teammates. Not only does he look technically very sound, he also looks to be a natural leader, something which Port’s midfield has been severely lacking for the last few seasons. Going by the early evidence, Kim should be one of the very first names on Jadet’s team-sheet.

 

Siwakorn Spills Leo Cup

 

 

Not one of his finer afternoons. Siwakorn (16) was comfortably out-shone by both Suarez and Kim, got in to a scrap with an opposition player and then stepped up to take a penalty which more or less everyone except him thought he was going to miss. It’s going to be an interesting year for the man who is so highly thought of by his teammates. With Kim looking like a dominant, reliable defensive presence and Nebihi looking like the creative fulcrum of the team, Siwakorn has to carve himself out a role. Will he flourish alongside more accomplished teammates in the coming season, or struggle to justify his place in the team? It’s time to show that you belong at a top-5 club, Siv!

 

The Wingers

Port started with Pakorn (7) on the right and Nurul (31) on the left. Pakorn did as Pakorn does, delivering some dangerous balls, and shooting at every conceivable opportunity. Nurul looked very lively, but his touch deserted him a few times in promising positions, and he picked up a silly yellow card for a Siwakornesque shirt-pull. Expect much, much better from Nurul in coming friendlies.

 

 

In the second half, new Indonesian dynamo Terens (27) replaced Pakorn on the right, and Bodin replaced Nurul on the left. Bodin (15) played a part in some promising breaks, but was a little slow to release the pass at times. Terens had one chance to stretch his little legs, and gave Port fans an exciting glimpse of his frankly ridiculous pace. He should be a regular feature off the bench in 2018.

 

The Defence

Not much to report here, and that is probably a good thing. Nitipong (34) looked as tough and energetic as ever, Rochela and Todsapol (6) were pretty solid despite a couple of lapses of concentration which went un-punished, and Panpanpong (19) was… well, Panpanpong. There was the usual wondering forward and leaving space behind, which may well be a very bad idea indeed in 2018. With either Nurul or Pakorn likely to be on the left wing, Panpanpong must understand that he can’t afford to leave 5 foot 4 Nurul or own-goal maestro Pakorn to do his dirty work for him. Surprisingly, Jadet replaced Panpanpong with Jetjinn (11) rather than Yossawat (28) in the second half. We don’t know what Yossawat has done to deserve being consistently overlooked, but his treatment by management is beginning to remind me an awful lot of Tatchanon last season. Jetjinn’s most notable contribution was an absolutely abominable freekick which flew a good couple of meters above everyone’s head and out of play.

 

The Penalty Takers

1) Rochela. The only surprise was that he put it in the bottom left rather than the bottom right.

2) Suarez. His second cheeky penalty in as many games. Went for the Panenka and dispatched it with aplomb.

3) Arthit. Sent the ‘keeper the wrong way, so the fact that he didn’t find the corner didn’t matter.

4) Siwakorn. Hands up if you thought Siwakorn was going to miss. Yep, me too. Next time let players who can actually shoot do the shooting, eh Siv?

5) Kim. You don’t need to be able to speak Korean to understand an extremely confident nod when asked if you’re going to take a penalty, and number 5 to indicate that you’re fine with a bit of pressure. Unfortunately his penalty was not required, with Victor dispatching Chiang Rai’s decisive spot-kick to end the tie.

 

Port FC Man of the Match

 

 

He may have only played half the game, but what a half it was. Nebihi will add strength, height, guile and no little amount of skill to Port’s forward line in 2018. Honourable mentions go to Kim, who didn’t put a foot wrong in defensive midfield, and Nitipong who looks like he’s spent his holiday training even harder than usual.

 

Boskovic vs Cleiton: Port to Face Chiang Rai in Leo Cup

 

The draw for the forthcoming Leo Cup pre-season tournament has just been made, and Port have been handed a tough draw against Chiang Rai Utd in the first round, with the game taking place on Tuesday 9 January at 20:00 in Khon Kaen 18:00 in Chiang Mai

The draw pits two of the dark horses for 2018 T1 honours against each other, with both sides splashing the cash during the break, and two of the Scariest SFSs in Thai football history – Port’s Dragan Boskovic and Chiang Rai’s Cleiton Silva – coming face to face.

The other fixtures can be seen in the image above. If Port win, they’ll join the other R1 winners in the semi-finals which are scheduled to take place on the hallowed turf of the PAT on Friday 12 January, with the final being held in the godforsaken Theatre of Corrugated Iron that is the SCG on Sunday 14 January.