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2020 Thai League Lineup Announced… For Now

 

The 16 teams who will be competing in next season’s T1 have been finalized after PTT Rayong’s rumoured collapse was announced on Monday. To account for the dissolution of the unfortunately named ‘Oil Millionaires’, the FAT have confirmed that only two teams will be relegated, with Suphanburi receiving a dramatic late reprieve. Despite finishing 14th after losing 2-5 to eventual champions Chiang Rai, who they led for a time on a dramatic final day at both ends of the table, Suphanburi have been given a lifeline and will compete in T1 for the 8th consecutive season in 2020.

Coming up from T2 are BG Pathum United, who predictably swept aside all of the competition with ease and took the Championship by a 13 point margin. Police Tero will be joining them, having secured second place on the final day by absolutely obliterating third placed Rayong FC 7-0. Remarkably that 7 goal drubbing was enough to see Rayong faceplant in to the last promotion place as in-form Sisaket were run over 0-3 by Thai Honda.

 

 

But wait, this is the Thai League, and just because the season is over, a team has been dissolved, another un-relegated and the promotion places confirmed, that doesn’t mean the drama is over. Sisaket, who finished just 2 points behind third placed Rayong FC, have been embroiled in investigations throughout the season, resulting in in two separate 6 point penalties by FIFA. The Dangerous Koupreys will apparently find out the result of their appeal to the second of those 6 point deductions this week. If successful they would shoot up to second place, and the FAT would have a tricky decision on their hands. Could they un-promote Rayong FC, or un-unrelegate Suphanburi? Who knows?

They’re already in an unusual situation, having reduced the number of T2 teams for next season to 17 by un-relegating Suphanburi. Should they also un-relegate Navy, who currently join Ubon United and Ayutthaya United in dropping down to T3? Navy finished 14th in T2, and by un-relegating them the FAT could restore the number of T2 clubs to 18 and pass the issue down to the regional T3 leagues.

Of course, whatever decision the FAT come to would be fine if it was done in an above-board manner, with the results of their decisions being based on an unambiguous set of rules provided before the start of the season. Unclear rules can potentially leave wiggle room for Thai football’s governing body to play favourites when things, as they do pretty much every year, get complicated. We’ve seen it time and time again, so don’t be surprised if some unimagined scenario ends up on the table in a few days, and we’re all left confounded when Army are announced T1 winners and Port are relegated to T3 North. You heard it here first.

 

Stampeding Towards the Champions League: Suphanburi FC vs. Port FC Preview

 

Last time out against the War Elephants was the 3-2 thriller at home, courtesy of a late Boskovic winner, sending us 4 points clear of Buriram at the top of the table. Much has changed since then with Boskovic being dropped from the T1 squad and replaced by the returning Josimar. Our title challenge had seemingly slipped away after a string of poor performances and results in key games during June and July, including heavy defeats at home to fellow title challengers Chiangrai United and Buriram, but Port are still currently 3rd in the table, 4 points behind current champions and pack leaders Buriram United, and are in need of a win on Sunday in Suphanburi to keep up the pressure on the top 2.

 

Suphanburi FC

Form

 

Despite having impressively held league champions Buriram United to a 0-0 draw away, and then going on an unbeaten run for the next 5 games (albeit 4 with draws along the way) Suphanburi approach this fixture still sat in the dreaded relegation zone. However, with a game in hand on other relegation rivals, this is a big opportunity for them to secure some points and to keep them afloat in the top division of Thai football.

Key Players

 

Cleiton Silva (23), a name probably familiar to Port supporters as a former Muangthong striker, has been Suphanburi’s leading scorer this season with the Brazilian bagging 7 goals in 21 appearances during the 2019 season, and is a couple of strikes away from making it to 100 goals in T1. The 32 year old has made quite a habit of scoring against Port, with a goal at the PAT back in September of 2018, and another goal (again at the PAT) during the 3-2 match earlier in the season, so fingers crossed he remains off the scoresheet come the end of the weekend.

 

 

Fellow countryman Jonatan Reis also joined in on the scoring in our aforementioned victory, and, further back, got a brace against Port in the 2018 season while playing for Prachaup, but he has now been replaced by Dellatorre (10), who his back for his second stint with the War Elephants. Dellatorre also has a history when it comes to getting on the scoresheet against Port, but hasn’t had a very productive start to the second leg. 

 

 

Port

Form and News

 

While perhaps not in the form shown earlier in the season, Port are now picking themselves back up from the ground and dusting themselves off after their poor performances in July. Confidence should be on a high after being 5 games unbeaten in all competitions including a 2-0 win over our rivals in red (the 3rd of the season!) and a marvelous win in the FA Cup against Chiang Rai United to send us into the semis. This game is a great opportunity to continue our winning ways against poor opposition, and enabling us to continue to apply pressure on Chiang Rai and Buriram, with the top 2 both facing less than difficult fixtures at home this week.

 

Starting Lineup

 

With Suphanburi being strong at the back recently, having gone 7 games without conceding 2 or more goals, I believe Port must have a proper goal scorer leading the line, and after a great performance off the bench against Muangthong, surely Josimar (30) should be the one to start and hopefully continue scoring.

 

 

Score Prediction

 

Should be a comfortable result for Port. 3-1 with Josimar finding the back of the net again.

 


 

The match will be shown live on True Sports HD2 at 18:00 on Sunday 18 August, 2019. For those who can’t make it to Suphanburi Provincial 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.

 

Port Suffering From Yellow Fever: Port FC vs. Suphanburi FC Preview

 

Two teams who recorded impressive victories last week face off in an intriguing encounter this Saturday at PAT Stadium. Looking at the table, top dogs Port are clear favourites to overcome Suphanburi, who were bottom of the table until their victory last week, but with the attacking talents at their disposal and the utter insanity that has been T1 so far this season, absolutely anything is possible. Port are without key central midfielder Go Seul-ki and right back Nitipong who are both suspended, but Suphan will also be without their own Korean midfielder Kim Sung-hwan as he is on loan from Port.

 

Suphanburi FC

Habitual Mediocrity

 

It’s worth mentioning briefly Suphanburi’s decline into mediocrity since 2013. After their promotion in 2012, The War Elephants finished in the top six for three successive seasons, boasting some of the league’s best talent like former Port star Pipat Thonkanya (visit our ‘Port Legends’ page for more on him) and a certain Dragan Boskovic. They were even managed by Mano Polking for a brief stint. The likes of Charyl Chappuis, who gets a lot of stick on here although when he was with Suphanburi he was without a doubt one of the best performing Thai players in the league, Carmelo Gonzalez and Thai league veteran Bjorn Lindemann were also part of a team which appeared to have an exciting future challenging the top teams in T1 for honours, but then something went wrong. It’s hard to pinpoint what, but since their initial success, Suphanburi have finished no higher than tenth, and there’s little in their current form to indicate that they’re ready to break that slump this season. They’ve got a highly rated T1 winning coach in Totchtawan, a group of talented Thai youngsters and two of the top foreign strikers in the league, but they just can’t seem to recapture that winning formula.

 

Players to Watch

 

Another T1 team, another Brazilian strike force. On paper this one ought to be among the very best in the league, but while Jonatan Reis (7) and Cleiton Silva (23) have a respectable 6 goals between them so far in 2019, their team has scored just 8 goals in total, and neither has yet provided an assist for a teammate. For some reason they’re just not quite gelling. While Reis has been spending a lot of time dropping back to pick up the ball and start attacks from midfield, Cleiton has held his position up front, and although this seems like an ideal partnership, it just hasn’t clicked yet. Either Reis has failed to find his teammate in dangerous areas, or Cleiton has missed the chances when they’ve come. I shouldn’t talk the pair down too much, though. They’re both superbly talented, and they both managed to get on the scoresheet last time out against Korat, potentially lifting spirits in Suphanburi and giving them the confidence they need to fulfil the promise their partnership holds.

 

 

Besides the Brazilians, it’s really tough to pick out anyone else on current form. The players I rate at Suphanburi have been spending far too much time on the bench. You’ll have heard me talk up the likes of exciting Thai forwards Thanasit Sriphala (11) and Chananan Pumbuppha (10) in past previews, but these guys have been in and out of the team this season. Even experienced Thai national team legends like defensive midfielder Adul Lahso (19) and goalkeeper Sinthaweechai Hathairattanakool (18) haven’t been playing recently, with former Muangthong coach Totchtawan favouring lesser known players. How’s that been working out?

One of those lesser known players will be known to most Port fans, though. Last time the sides met at the PAT, Meechok Marhasaranukun (20) provided two excellent assists from the right flank, and he will be expected to start at right wing back. Quality defensive duo Anderson (3) and Suphan Thongsong (26) will make up two thirds of their central defence, but surprisingly they’ve conceded 12 goals already in 2018, so clearly there are as many problems at the back as there are going forward.

 

 

Mark Hartmann (9) wouldn’t have merited a mention unless he’d scored an excellent header off the bench last week to spark Suphanburi’s comeback, but the English-born Filipino will almost certainly now make a second half appearance. If you haven’t seen him before, he’s not easy to miss, what with his long flowing locks and the unmistakable aura of a player who couldn’t quite cut it at the Gang Warily Recreation Ground. That’s the home of Blackfield & Langley of the Wessex League, for those of you unfamiliar with English ninth tier football. Shame on you.

 

 

Form

 

Suphanburi have been consistently unpredictable so far this season, but on balance have fallen far short of expectations. It took three draws before they finally recorded a win, but that was followed by three defeats, before they bounced back with a win last time out against Korat. Here are their results in full.

  • Chainat 0-0 Suphanburi
  • Suphanburi 0-0 Buriram
  • Sukhothai 1-1 Suphanburi
  • Suphanburi 3-0 Chonburi
  • Trat 4-0 Suphanburi
  • Suphanburi 1-2 Chiang Mai
  • Bangkok United 4-0 Suphanburi
  • Suphanburi 3-1 Korat

 

Port FC

Yellow Fever

 

Port face yet more challenges to their squad depth this week, with suspensions to key players Go (8) and Nitipong (34). The yellow cards have been coming thick and fast this season, and both have already made it to four. Go will most likely be replaced by Athibordee (35), who has seen a lot of action off the bench so far in 2019, although we are clinging to the hope that one of the breakout stars of last season Anon (20) will be picked instead. Anon performed superbly in some big games for Port last term, and is a player Port should be trying to give as many minutes of T1 action to as possible, but Jadet seems to have promoted Athibordee, so that’s probably that. That is unless Suarez is available for selection after missing out last week. If the Spaniard is fit, Jadet could also ask Siwakorn to play a little deeper, with Sumanya alongside him and Suarez further forward. The spherical supremo has certainly got options in the middle of the park.

Normally Adisorn (13) would also be part of the conversation when the DM spot is up for grabs, but with Nitipong being out, he is sure to deputize at right back instead. With no other options available to Jadet, an out-of-position defensive midfielder will have to do. If only we’d considered our paucity of right backs in the transfer window when we were signing left backs like they were going out of fashion!

The rest of the team could remain unchanged, although with captain Rochela (22) returning to near full fitness it’s a question of when not if Todsapol (6) drops back to the bench. Watchara (1) has surely made the goalkeeping spot his own with an assured performance against Muangthong. I haven’t seen a Port goalkeeper looking as confident as Watchara does in all aspects of his game for quite some time. Bodin (10) and Pakorn (7) are undroppable the way they’re playing, so Nurul (31) is going to have to wait for his chance when he returns from injury, too. What an impact sub to have!

 

Predicted Lineup

 

Please, please, please pick Anon.

 

 


 

The match will be shown live on True Sport 2 at 20:00 on Saturday 27 April, 2019. 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.

 

Tom’s Transfer Talk: Go-in, Go-in, Hwan!

 

With the arrival of Go Seul-ki at Port confirmed (pending the Madame Pang selfie, of course) Kim Sung-hwan has finally agreed to join Suphanburi on loan. Despite much improved performances in the second half of 2018, it was clear that Kim was still struggling for fitness, and at 32 was probably never going to be the player that Port thought they had signed last season. Despite being the same age as his compatriot, there are a few reasons why Go will be a big upgrade for Port.

Firstly, he’s proven himself in Thai football. The winner of 8 trophies, including 2 league titles in his 3 years with Buriram, Go understands how the game is played in Thailand, and how best to marshal his midfield to success. Kim certainly tried to direct proceedings from the middle of the park at Port, but it often felt as though he was swimming against the tide. With his experience, Thai/English communication skills, and some new teammates to boot, Go ought to be able to lead a more cohesive midfield unit in 2019.

Secondly, he’s fit. Go has just finished a season in the Korean top flight where he was a regular starter for Incheon United, even captaining his side on occasions in the run-in.  In fairness I do remember writing something eerily similar just before Kim’s arrival, but whilst Kim looked out of shape from the moment he arrived, here’s a recent picture of Go.

 

 

Finally, he’s got some connections within the Port squad. With a limited knowledge of both Thai and English, Kim apparently really struggled to build relationships with the other players, but not only does Go have more experience in Thailand, he knows a fair few of his new teammates already. Rochela, Nitipong, Bodin, Arthit, Yossawat and new arrival Sansern all enjoyed stints at Buriram during Go’s stay with the champs, meaning that Go will have plenty of familiar faces to help him settle in.

 

A Word of Warning

And a word of caution, because whilst I’m of the opinion that Go will be more successful with Port than Kim was, Port are still losing one of their most effective performers of last season. Kim was even my vote for The Sandpit Writers’ Player of the Year in 2018, and I think Port will really miss his fantastic vision and range of passing. It ended up being something that we grew accustomed to, but those long, raking diagonal passes that Kim specialized in will be difficult to replace, and Port will have to adapt their style and tactics accordingly.

I fondly remember Kim, almost certainly operating off the cuff, dropping back in to a sweeper position when Port had the ball and pointing at Rochela and Dolah to make a back three that allowed Port’s full backs to bomb forward safely. You could tell me it was Jadet’s idea and I would have no way to disprove it, but I’m just not buying it. That was all Kim.

 

Suphanburied: Port FC 0-2 Suphanburi FC

 

Dear reader, if you’re reading this thank you but if I’m honest I have nothing to report but bad news. I could tell you about the match but it won’t live long in the memory. I could tell you about the problems in the club, team and with individual players but I’ve written and discussed these so many times before. Guess I could make light of it and tell you I missed both the goals taking my tally to 15 this season but it really doesn’t feel like something to laugh about today. At least I got a free sticker and a Madame Pang fan out of the experience yesterday.

The day started badly as I was due to cheer on Melbourne in the Aussie rules semi final against The Eagles but while running late I received a message that the Demons were 51-3 down in the 2nd quarter. Disaster. Watching the rest of the match was like watching a grown man beat up a toddler; brutal, ugly and totally unnecessary. So after that setback it was on to PAT Stadium for the last Saturday home game of the season and AFC Champions League still a very distant possibility. On arrival I was told Pakorn (7), arguably our best ‘performer’ last week, and Arthit (29) had been dropped, plus Anon (20) hadn’t made the squad. Ominous stuff. Then Tim appeared to inform me that the futsal team had lost and now dark clouds were circling overhead. He also mentioned Tottenham had won; this was going to be a bad day.

 

Oooooo pretty

 

Port did start the first half the better team and fashioned some good chances; Suarez (5)  was unable to control a header and shortly after Nurul (31) darted into the area, outwitted Anderson (3)  but fired over. It wasn’t until the 33rd minute that Port created their best chance but Suphanburi keeper Sinthaweechai (18) produced a magnificent triple save; tipping Suarez’s shot onto the post then blocking a close range effort from Boskovic (23)  and finally getting his body behind Suarez’s follow up. Suphanburi could have had a penalty thanks to Boskovic’s WWE-style defending but the referee clearly wanted an easy afternoon with as little controversy as possible. Sinthaweechai was not finished with his heroics and pulled off a Hollywood one handed save from Boskovic’s deflected shot.

So half time and obviously after a lacklustre first half I was keen to get my hands on a cold Leo and discuss the finer points of our performance. My love of the social aspects of football have been well documented and without hearing any noises from the stadium to denote any action taking place I decided to continue my conversation and take my sweet time with the ale. How wrong I was; by the time I had returned Port were 2 down and falling apart on the pitch. In truth Port could have gone 1 up with Pakorn, on for the completely ineffective Bodin (10), forcing Sinthaweechai to make another top save. As if to rub salt into the wound it was ex-Port player Meechok (20) who supplied a beautiful arcing cross into the box for Cleiton (22) to ghost between Nitipong (34) and Rochela (22) and send a bullet header into the net. Meechok, thinking that the wound needs a little more salt to be rubbed into it, controlled an excellent cross field ball to pull back to Chananan (10) who fired a beautiful first time shot low past Worawut. Chananan had been pulling the strings all game and the goal was just reward for his work, I just wish I had been there to see it.

 

 

The rest of the game played out as most Port fans have come to expect recently; Nurul did his customary dive and Rochela redeemed himself after not picking up Cleiton for the first goal to make a first rate last ditch tackle on Chananan. Pakorn had a shot deflected off the post and Romulo (9) unleashed an absolute thunderbastard of a shot that cannoned off the crossbar. There were also a few feisty moments with Suphanburi lucky to stay with 11 men on the pitch and their coach Pairoj marching onto the pitch to remonstrate with the ref but the man in the middle wasn’t in the mood to take action at all today.

So another woeful performance and our recent form, bar last week’s win, is frankly garbage. To see a team give 110% effort while your own players are going through the motions and thinking about sun loungers and pina coladas is pretty galling. Port needs players like Cleiton and Chananan next season because we can all see the attitude and effort of the players on the pitch is not good enough. We know there are several who think training is optional and that attitude is polluting the atmosphere in the club, especially as the reserve players who deserve a chance are working hard but not getting the opportunities they deserve. Jadet doesn’t have control of the team and playing with no striker for 60-odd minutes is not going to win games; to highlight this Boskovic’s best chances were both inside the area – where he should be when we’re on the attack.

Unbelievably we are still in fourth place, enjoying our best ever season and we are still not happy; it’s frankly amazing what we have achieved given the circumstances but these constant problems that hamper us make you think just what we could achieve if we were really well run from top to bottom and not this clown car of a club waiting to fall apart. Chainat finally did us a favour this season and beat those mugs from Legoland so the impossible is still possible but Jadet needs to get a grip and find some short term solutions to long term problems.

 

Best picture of the day

 

 

Man of the Match – Sinthaweechai Hathairattanakool

 

 

Nope, It’s certainly not going to a Port player this time. Only one team gave their all on the pitch and their captain and goalkeeper put in one hell of a shift, galvanising the rest of his team and pushing them onto victory. One of the best opposition performances I have seen in my short time at the PAT and watching his saves again today has been a pleasure. Go on son, you deserve it.

 

In The Suph: Port FC vs. Suphanburi FC Preview

 

The precariousness of Port’s unlikely bid to snatch the final ACL spot from under the noses of rivals Muangthong was brought sharply in to focus on Wednesday night, with Buriram crashing out of the League Cup to underdogs Bangkok Glass. Port need Buriram to prevail in the other cup – the FA Cup – meaning that the final ACL qualifying spot will be passed to the team who finishes third in the league. It’s never ideal to have to rely on other teams, but at least there is still a chance. Port got back to winning ways with a 4-0 victory over an under-strength Korat side, and were relieved to see Muangthong slip to a comfortable 0-3 defeat at the hands of Buriram, which brought Port back to within 2 points of third place. Muangthong still have Bangkok United to play in a key final-day fixture, meaning Port can still hang on to some slim hopes of qualification if they can string four wins together against this week’s opponents Suphanburi, then seaside clubs Navy, Chonburi and Pattaya.

 

Suphanburi FC

Players to Watch

 

I had nothing but harsh words for Cleiton Silva (22) after the first couple of months of his highly anticipated return to Thai football yielded just a handful of goals, and a whole lot of poor performances. Since being loaned out to Suphanburi, however, the Cleiton of years past has once again found his shooting boots, and the Brazilian has hit 7 goals in just 9 appearances. When he’s on form he’s deadly, and right now he’s on form.

The only man probably not overly chuffed with one of Thai football’s all-time great strikers pitching up in Suphanburi is compatriot Romulo (9). Very much the focal point of Suphanburi’s attack in the first half of the season, Romulo plundered 7 goals and looked in good nick. In the 9 games that both Brazilians have started since the mid-season break, Romulo has added just one more to his tally.

Making up for Romulo’s dip in form has been one of the few half-decent forwards in Thai football, and man with two many an’s in his name: Chananan Pombuppha (10). Chanananan was the main man up front for the Thai under 23 team before they were rubbish, but as almost all promising Thai strikers have been, Chananananan has been converted in to a winger/attacking midfielder. Playing just behind Romulo and Cleiton, Chanananananan has finally started finding his feet, scoring 4 and assisting 1 in his last 5 games. Port would do well to task a defensive midfielder with watching his forward runs and making sure he doesn’t have the opportunity to shoot from the edge of the box. Maybe Anononon (20) would be up to the task, if only he were returned to the starting XI.

 

 

They’re not all just strikers, either. Suphanburi can look to the Thai Ronaldinho – Tanasith Sripala (11) – to create chances for the forwards, although he doesn’t produce the quality that he is capable of nearly as much as he should.

A much more consistent presence in the midfield is another one who just doesn’t want me to pronounce his name properly. Japanese midfielder Takafumi Akahoshi (37) is in to his second season in Thailand, and does a solid if unspectacular job in the heart of midfield. He will be fresh and raring to go having missed the last game through suspension.

At the back, Thai league veteran defender Anderson dos Santos (3) has been in the game as long if not longer than any other foreign player around, and can be relied to put in a solid shift in Suphan’s back 3. Alongside him will be a useful young Thai centre back appropriately named Suphan (26) and some bloke who I’ve never heard of called Tinnakorn (33).

 

 

 

Form

 

Suphanburi’s form is very much mid-table, although with 5 going down their league position still puts them in with an outside chance of relegation. Their last 6 games have seen 2 wins, draws and losses. The two one-goal defeats came against Buriram and Sukhothai, the two draws against Muangthong and Ubon UMT and the two wins against Air Force and Ratchaburi. Suphanburi are a decent side capable of upset wins, but equally capable of shocking defeats. It’s not a lack of ability in their squad that’s got them in to trouble, rather a lack of consistency. They’re not bad on the road though, having lost just 4 all season on their travels. The question is, will coach Pairoj have the guts to play the attacking system which has got the best out of Cleiton and Chananananananan in recent weeks, or will he revert to a more defensive system to try to stymie Port’s attack.

 

Port FC

Young Pele

 

 

Speaking of that attack… He may not have gotten on the scoresheet last week, but Arthit (29) still providing a compelling argument for his inclusion in the first XI. He created one excellent chance for himself with a superb turn, shimmy and shot, and he again tested the Korat ‘keeper with a deft outside of the boot flick. More important than his chances to score, though, Arthit just played like a real striker, attempting to hold the ball up at the right times and getting himself in to the box at the right times. His positional discipline allowed Boskovic, Suarez and Pakorn to drift around as is their wont, and the team – poorly drilled under coach Jadet – gained structure by having a more natural centre-forward to lead the line. Give him another go Jadet, please! If only so we can enjoy watching him trying to overcome his limitations in talent with blood and thunder attacking for another week. Arthit did pick up a knock last week but, just by looking for the only bloke wearing his shorts as if they were a thong, we can confirm from the following picture that Arthit is in training, and so ought to be fit to start.

 

 

Another man who we can apply the same logic to also enjoys a tight pair of shorts. Anon (20) has mysteriously missed out on the last two match day squads, despite being one of Port’s best players in recent games. We really hope Jadet has not lost faith in the youngster after being involved in a few defeats during Port’s tough run of fixtures, as Anon was often the brightest spark during those most challenging games. We know he’s fit now (that’s him on the far left of the same picture) so there are no excuses for not picking him again.

Nurul (31), towards the front of the shot on the left, is the final outfield injury doubt, and although we know that he’s fit, he could miss out on selection if Arthit starts and Boskovic (23) is once again deployed on the left wing. He didn’t do too badly at all in that position last week, and would have provided Suarez (5) with a sublime assist had the Spaniard been able to hit a barn door from a foot out.

Dolah should return to the team (4) after serving his ban for picking up his 7th and 8th yellow cards in infuriating circumstances 2 games ago, but Rattanai (17) is still on the injury list. Quelle surprise.

 

Predicted Lineup

 

Yes, yes. I should know better than to have the slightest faith that Anon will be picked. Expect to see Siwakorn (16) starting again. At least he had a decent game last week, for a change.

 

 


 

The match will be shown live on True4U and True Sport HD2 at 18:00 on Saturday 22 September, 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.

 

Big Game Hunting: Suphanburi FC vs. Port FC, 11 May 2018

 

After a stonking 4-0 win away from home last weekend Port are sure to face a tougher test at Suphanburi Provincial Stadium this Friday. The Swatcats’ almost complete reliance on their foreign striker meant that Port’s defence went largely untroubled last week, but Suphanburi are a much more balanced outfit with a lot more to offer. The War Elephants have gone ten games unbeaten including consecutive victories with clean sheets to boot, so Port will need to upset the form books again to come away with what would be a huge three points for manager Jadet. Port’s boss still looks far from secure in his job with the mid-season break approaching, but beating the likes of Suphanburi would go a long way to convincing the powers that be that he is the man to take Port up to the higher reaches of the table. It’s 3rd vs. 5th. Come on, lads!

 

Suphanburi FC

Players to Watch

 

Well, it wouldn’t be T1 unless the main man was a foreign striker. Romulo (9) is in his first season in Thai football, having played for several clubs in his native Brazil before moving to top-flight Swedish side Hammarby IF. Whilst Romulo didn’t bang in goals consistently he became a cult hero for his hattrick and a few other memorable performances against Kevin Deeromram’s former club and Hammarby’s big rivals Djurgarden. Romulo has continued to cement his reputation as a big-game player for Suphanburi this season by finding the net against top teams like Bangkok United and Buriram, as well as minnows like Muangthong. He’s tall enough to do a bit of damage in the air, and on his day can be pretty useful on the ground, too. Let’s just hope no one has told him Port are a big team nowadays!

 

Romulo

 

Romulo’s supporting cast going forward will be any two of three promising Thai forwards. First – because he’s my favourite – is Tanasith Sripala (11), also known as Taodinho. This Ronaldinho lookalike is fortunately not a Ronaldinho playalike, although he tries his best. He was one of Thailand’s most exciting youngsters a couple of years ago, but hasn’t quite kicked on and added end product to his undoubted ability. Second is Chananan Pombuppha (10). This fella, presumably named by whichever of his parents has a stuttuttutter, started out as an out and out striker, but has been moved on to the wing at Suphanburi. He doesn’t look nearly as useful out there as he does through the middle, but he’s got a good finish on him and is definitely one to watch out for. This third forward is the youngest of the trio, and probably the most dangerous of the bunch on current form. Sirimongkhon Jitbanjong (38) is just 20 years old and has only played a handful of games in T1, but his pace and work rate will certainly be a handful for Port’s full backs. He’s scored two goals in under 300 minutes on the pitch in his breakout season.

 

Tanasith, Chananan and Sirimongkhon

 

Port fans may remember solid holding midfielder Adul Lahso from his red card in last season’s thrilling 3-2 encounter at PAT Stadium, but unfortunately Suphanburi’s hard man has done a knee ligament and is out for the foreseeable future. Taking his place is a man who couldn’t look more different to the diminutive bald Adul if he tried. Naruphon Putsorn (7) is tall with a big man-bun, and interestingly is one of the few Thai players to have plied his trade in the UK. Naruphol played for TNS in Wales, before stints in America and Holland. He has played with Bangkok United and Buriram since moving to Thailand, and he will be partnered by Japanese veteran Takafumi Akahoshi (37).

 

Adul and Naruphon

 

At the back is the familiar figure of Anderson dos Santos (3). The Brazilian centre back has been in Thai football since 2010, and is a hero to fans of former club Chonburi. He’s big, powerful and very dangerous from set-pieces. In a three-man back line Anderson will be joined by the appropriately named Suphan (26) and the recipient of an impressive 7 yellow cards to date Tinnakorn Asurin (33). Siwakorn: meet your idol.

 

Anderson dos Santos

 

Form

 

Suphanburi’s unbeaten run does include an awful lot of draws. Their last 6 saw 4 consecutive ties with Buriram, Muangthong, Ratchaburi and Sukhothai, before they finally got back to winning ways with a 3-0 victory over Air Force and kept the momentum last week by grinding out a 1-0 win over Ubon.

 

Port FC

Is The Swagger Back?

 

One of the most promising moments in the 4-0 thrashing of Korat was Boskovic (23) starting to look confident again. Bole showed his prowess in front of goal with a clinical finish while clean through on the ‘keeper, then – in stark contrast to a week earlier – jumped at the chance to score from the spot. Maybe it’s the return of Suarez (5), maybe it’s the voice of Tim Russell ringing in his ears; whatever it is, the Dragan is breathing fire once again, and that’s what we want to see!

Suarez will have kept his place after returning from injury last week and Nurul (31) scored a crucial goal while looking lively throughout, but what are Port going to do with Pakorn (7)? Well, I wouldn’t mind seeing The Midfield Monk dropped this week for Bodin (10), who has put in a couple of suave performances of late. Despite his unerring inability to miss chances in a laughably predictable way, Siwakorn (16) will once again partner Kim (8) in midfield.

In the defence things are looking very settled. Nitipong (34), Rochela (22), Dolah (4) and Kevin (97) have all made their positions their own, although I’m not sure why Worawut (36) returned to the starting XI while Rattanai (17) was absent from the matchday squad last week. Knowing Rattanai, it’s most likely an injury. Still, both are quality goalkeepers so it matters little which one starts.

Terens (28) is back in training after picking up a knock that his kept him out for the last couple of weeks, but it’s unknown whether or not he will fit in time for Friday.

Dolah, Todsapol (6), Rochela, Boskovic and Nurul are all just one yellow card away from a suspension, so let’s hope they don’t all get booked at once!

 

Predicted Lineup

 

 


 

The match will be shown live on True 4U and True Sport 2 at 20:00 on Friday 11 May, 2018. For those who can’t make it to Suphanburi Provincial Stadium, The Sportsman on Sukhumvit 13 will show the match on a big screen with sound. We’re expecting another good turn out at the bar this week, so come along and don’t forget to wear your Port shirt for a 10% discount on drinks.

 

SuperBuri or SupineBuri? Suphanburi v Port FC Match Preview

 

This Saturday sees the return of Thai Port Football, after a three-week drought with nothing but friendlies and futsal to quench the thirst. Suphanburi away is not an easy fixture, but this season it’s looking a lot more hospitable than it has in previous years. The Suphanburi players and all those Port fans that were there will remember the 3-2 comeback win for Port on 19th February, one of the best games of the season so far.

 

Suphanburi’s Form

With Suphanburi in 11th place in the table they will be looking to take all the points on Saturday. Suphanburi’s home form has been passable seeing them beating weaker opposition like Navy , Superpower and Korat along with a draw against Ratchaburi. Losses to Ubon UMT and Chonburi can give the traveling fans some hope. The usually steady Suphanburi have faltered this year, and owner Warawut Silpa-archa – aka “Top” – will not be happy with that the team are not living up to his name.

The last transfer rumour round up on goal.com had midfielders D. Madrigal and Gilson on their way out of Suphan. It also announced the signing of “Elizeu Araújo de Melo Batista”, just “Batista” to his friends. I’m sure his enemies can think of a variation on that name. He’s a right back and a defensive midfielder who looks to be well past his best. There’s a Youtube video of him looking very good in 2009.

For fans of tortured streams of puns, the ones that get ever more tenuous throughout the game we are quids in, as Suphanburi have bought in the decent former Bangkok Glass right wing/right midfield Lazarus Kaimbi. This signing was surely made in the hope of resurrecting their season. If Suphan go a goal down he’s sure to be called up to lead the comeback.

 

Players to Watch

Dellatorre (9) was Suphanburi’s top scorer in 2016. He got Suphan’s two goals at PAT Stadium, so he will need to be monitored a bit more closely this time round. He definitely looks like the main threat up front.

Defender Marcelo Xavier (3) former Juventus player, (no, not that Juventus – “CA Juventus” in Sao Paulo) and former Botafogo player, (no, not that Botafogo in Brazilian Serie A in the Botafogo FC João Pessoa in Serie D). Marcelo seems to have made his name by tricking agents into believing he’s played at the highest levels in Italy and Brazil. This season he has been the heart of the Suphan defence. He also has an impressive 3 goals and 5 yellow cards, (still two behind Siwakorn), and at 6’2 he could provide another target on long crosses. The crosses may well be supplied by Lazarus on Saturday.

Marcelo is a Syrian footballer, yes he is totally Syrian and he’s got the passport and everything, and knows how to say many phrases in Arabic like “Thanks for the Passport” and “I’ll play the odd national team game for Syria if you need me”.

 

Key Match Ups

Rochela (22) v Dellatorre (9)

Josimar (30) v Marcelo Xavier (3)

 

Suphan’s Stadium

The Suphanburi Provincial Stadium opened in 1947, and was formerly known as Suphanburi World War II Stadium. It was renamed after the Governor of Suphanburi watched episode six of Fawlty Towers, and thought it better not to mention the war anymore. In 2013 it was expanded and holds an impressive 25,000.

This is one of the many Provincial stadiums built for every sport under the sun so it has a running track. The away end is on the far curve as per usual. It’s similar to the National Stadium near Siam Square. The away end curve is a raised tier so gives a little bit of a better view than other running track grounds.

 

Meanwhile Back at Port

Transfer News

Great news! Weera (1) has left – it was always misleading having him as our number 1.

 

Likely Starting Lineup

In previous previews this has been the easiest section to write. This week it’s a bit more difficult, as this match comes slap bang in the middle of the transfer window. Port seem to have been juggling eight different foreign players as options for leg two. Of the new Thai signings I think Yossawat (28) will be on the bench. I would have picked him to start, but Tom reminded me he’s only played one friendly game with the team, then he went off to play with the Thai under 23 squad. I think we’ll see the central defender from Bangkok Glass Pravinwat (55) on the bench as a decent level of cover for Dolah (4) and Rochela (22).

So my prediction for the starting line-up is pretty much the same as the back end of last season. However, four weeks ago I’d have been confident about it, now it’s just a suggestion depending on how contract negotiations are going. Asdrubal (27) and Maranhao (92) have been with the Team for the friendlies but with the opening of the transfer window there are no definite signs of either being signed. Maranhao has posted a “thanks very much for all the support” message so he looks to be on his way out. Maranhao didn’t do that much in the last friendly, possibly because he knew he was on his way out. Still nothing 100% confirmed about Maranhao’s status. While writing this one of the Thai Port Facebook groups has reported he’s signed, but hold your celebrations as it’s not been confirmed by the club and that Facebook group has a 70% hit n’ miss record with transfer stories. To back up their claim Maranhao is now on the TPL League official squad list.

If Asdrubal is going to join us in the second leg, why hasn’t he been announced already? The injury problem that kept him away at the beginning of the season was said to be so serious he would be out for the whole year. In the last friendly Asdrubal put in some great crosses but never looked 100% fit. I think if he was going to be signed we would have done it already.

Matias Jadue was announced as a signing on some sites, but he still hasn’t been seen shopping with Madam Pang on Instagram, so I wouldn’t say it was definite signing. He has recently announced he’s come to terms with the Port, but Port haven’t come to terms with the need to tell anyone about it. Still no foreign signings have been confirmed by the club. Current time is 10.00 pm Thursday night. By the time you read this things may have changed.

 

Starting XI

 

 

Bench

Pakorn (9) meditating happily on the bench, perfectly at ease with his role in a team and willing to accept all things are as they must be..

Yossawat (28), possible second half sub on for Panpanpong (19).

Prawinwat (55), possible second half sub on for Dolah (4).

Watchara (66), definitely great at not being Weera as our back up keeper.

Tana (99), he’s a Thai National team player you know, he once scored for them, a real international goal and everything. Despite his poor form Tana will at least be on the bench because of previous halcyon days. We’ve definitely got (99) problems.

Wuttichai (14) Clinging on to the bench with all the tenacity of an Issan man holding on to bowl full of his favourite som tam.

Tatchanon (39) Itching for a game and likely to get one, on Wednesday in the FA Cup.

Pinyo (21) Likely to get injured doing up his laces a little too tightly.

Marahao (92) Deep in prayer wondering if Lazarus was sent to him as a sign.

If Suphanburi are Superburi on Saturday let’s hope they are super in the style of Super Power Samut Prakarn.

 

The match will be shown live on True Sport 6 at 18:00 on Saturday 17 June, 2017. For those who can’t make it out to Suphanburi, feel free to pop over to The Sportsman on Sukhumvit 13, where the match will be shown on a big screen with full sound. 

 

Suphan Main Course: Port FC vs. Suphanburi FC, 19th Feb 2017

 

Port FC face Suphanburi FC at 19:00 on Sunday. Suphanburi finished in a disappointing 10th place in the TPL last year, making them just the kind of team that Port should be looking to take all 3 points from at PAT Stadium if they are going to achieve their goal of a top half finish this season. Here we will take an in-depth look at Port’s opponents before turning our attention to Jadet’s team selection.

Suphanburi FC

Players to Watch

 

Sinthaweechai Hathairattanakool (18) is Thailand’s second choice ‘keeper at international level and, even at 34, is still one of the best in the business. He is an excellent shot-stopper, but is better known for charging off his line and is a classic example of a ‘sweeper-keeper’.

Adul Lahso (19) is a disciplined, no-nonsense defensive midfielder who protects Suphanburi’s back four and very rarely loses possession. He played one season in Japan, and has made 34 appearances for the Thai National Team. Adul will likely be tasked with keeping tabs on Sergio Suarez (5), who will be trying to operate between Suphanburi’s midfield and defence.

Charyl Chappuis (7) is a Thai-Swiss central midfielder with possibly the best range of passing in T1. His ability to pick out a 40 yard pass and land it on a 1 baht coin is reminiscent of Scholes in his prime, although Chappuis’ legion of female fans would probably not be too happy with the comparison. Chappuis’ career has been blighted by injury, but after missing the majority of the last 2 seasons, he is now back to full fitness and eager to impress. Chappuis is not one to be intimidated by the famously hostile atmosphere at PAT Stadium, leaving this cheeky comment on Instagram after we warned him what to expect.

Dellatorre (9) was Suphanburi’s top scorer in 2016, netting a useful but not particularly scary 10 goals in 26 games for The War Elephants. The 1.86m striker looks like a bit of a handful, although the way Rochela (22) and Dolah (4) handled the physical side of Ratchaburi striker Marcel Essombe’s game last week, his size shouldn’t prove too much of a problem.

Thanasith Siriphala (11) is a quick, tricky left-winger who didn’t start Suphanburi’s first game of the season, but looked electric when he came off the bench. Known as Taodinho, (his nickname is Tao, and the dinho comes from his rather more famous buck-toothed doppelganger) he absolutely terrorized Port last time he came to PAT Stadium, scoring the only goal in a 1-0 win for Bangkok Glass. Let’s hope Meechok (20) is fit enough to play 90 minutes at right-back this week, as the prospect of Taodinho running at Nitipong (34) is not one that Port fans will relish.

 

Sinthaweechai, Adul, Chappuis, Dellatorre and Tanasith

 

Form

 

It’s hard to judge form so early in the season, so we will give you a brief account of Suphanburi’s first game of the season. The War Elephants earned a hard-fought 2-1 win against newly-promoted Thai Honda, but looked far from comfortable against a team that is expected to be in the lower reaches of the T1 table. Suphanburi looked good in central midfield with Adul (19) and Chappuis (7) combining well, and dangerous going forward, with Chananan (10), Dellatorre (9) and Madrigal (8) looking sharp. Defensively, however, there was a lot to be desired from The War Elephants, and it was indecision from two defenders that led to Thai Honda taking the lead. They both stood and waited for the other to take control of an innocuous ball across the 6 yard box, and Honda midfielder Peemvit (11) snuck between them to head the ball past Sinthaweechai (18).

Suphanburi always looked likely to equalize though, and it was a peach of a pass that led to the goal. Chappuis (7) showed excellent vision and technique to play a pinpoint ball over the top, and former Thai under 23 striker Chananan (10) did well to beat the keeper with a first time shot from a tight angle.

Suphanburi’s winner came just before half time, as an unmarked Dellatorre (9) did well to connect with a deep corner, sticking a leg out and sending an unconventional finish past Buncha (24) in the Honda goal. Honda will have been disappointed with their defending though, as Dellatorre should never have lost his marker with such ease.

Honda pushed on in search of an equalizer in the second half and the game really opened up, leading to several chances for both sides. Sinthaweechai (18) made a quality save late on to ensure that Suphanburi held on for the win, and they will head to PAT Stadium with 3 points under their belt despite a patchy performance.

 

The Suphanburi Perspective

 

We caught up with Matt who runs the @fcsuphanburi Twitter account to get a feel for how the away side are expecting to do this season.

“This season, for Suphanburi after their poor end to the truncated season last year, a fit again Charyl Chappuis, three Brazilian and one Argentine new imports, there needs to be a lot of samba flair. I am a big fan of second time round coach Sergio Farias. He is a calm and clear tactician who now has at least four members of the squad that he can communicate directly with (his English is very basic). There seems a good mixture of experience (not sure where the 38 year old Rangsan fits in) with thirty year old Adul a stabilising force for the team and keeper Sinthaweechai Hathairattanakool a consummate professional to influence the younger players. The preseason has not been great, but a come from behind win against Thai Honda with Dellatore bagging the winner showed some promise. It is time for him and Chananan to show what they are capable of. Both flattered to achieve last season. Fourth is the new first, so I expect the best case scenario to be that. Title winners are Muang Thong, dark horses are Scott Cooper’s Ubon and a good cup run and fighting for an AFC place would be a good step forward for Suphanburi after the frustrations of last season.”

We also asked Matt to pick out one key player to watch from both sides. From Suphanburi he chose Brazilian striker Dellatorre.

“For Suphanburi, a slimmer Dellatorre has plenty of skill and, if he can improve his work rate and consistency, he will always prove a threat. His ability has never been in doubt, but his fitness and application have let him down in the past. Fitter and thinner, a good run in the team supported by the “Syrian” duo  [Ed – Brazilian duo Marcelo and Gilson have both recently acquired Syrian passports] might, finally, bring out the best in a player of undoubted ability.”

Unsurprisingly, his player to watch from Port was captain and last week’s Port FC Man of the Match David Rochela.

“For Port, I have always felt David Rochela is a touch of class. He has the football intelligence to keep the younger players in a more disciplined frame of mind and the temperament to cope with the febrile atmosphere at the PAT. He should score more goals in a season from set pieces, but he is a real defender’s defender.”

 

Port FC

The Starting XI – Selection Headaches

 

Jadet has some key decisions to make after Genki rescued a point for Port last week against Ratchaburi.

Rattanai (17) should retain his place in goal after an excellent performance on Saturday, while Rochela (22) and Dolah (4) will continue in central defence.

If Meechok (20) has fully recovered from the knock he picked up in pre-season, it’s a no-brainer to bring the youngster in for Nitipong (34) at right back. Whilst Nitipong got forward well against Ratchaburi, his defensive struggles mean he is very likely to be back on the bench.

There is another slightly trickier decision to be made at left back. Piyachart (23) played OK against Ratchaburi, but also seemed to prioritise attack over defence. Panpanpong (19) replaced him in the second half and played with more discipline, but looked poor going forward. With the less-than-inspiring options Jadet has available to him, it is perhaps unsurprising that the club have chosen to dip in to the loan market to snap up Surachet from Chainat on a 1 year deal. We’re unsure whether Surachet will be considered for selection this week, and we are also not certain if Jadet intends to play him in defence or midfield. With Surachet having been at the club less than a week – and attack-minded Suphanburi the opponents – it seems likely that the more defensive Panpanpong will make his first competitive start for Port.

The biggest head-scratcher from the Ratchaburi game was Jadet’s central midfield selection. Siwakorn (16) and Suarez (5) were of course expected to be starting, and it wasn’t a complete surprise to see Piyachat (88) get the nod, but I doubt that a single person in PAT Stadium expected to see Adisorn (13) come off the bench. Is there a reason that Tatchanon (39) or Wanchalerm (40) were not even in the squad? Both impressed far more than Adisorn in pre-season, with Tatchanon in particular looking like a class act in the holding midfield role. With Piyachat injured until the end of the month, we will be very interested to see who Jadet picks. If you’re reading, Jadet, anyone but Adisorn, please!

Pakorn (9) and Genki (18) combined to rescue a point for Port last week, and will surely continue on the wings, but Jadet could ring the changes up front. Kaludjerovic (10) looked a little off the pace against Ratchaburi, despite finding the net several times in pre-season. With new signing Josimar (30) likely to be in contention for a place in the side, Jadet could consider making a change, although we think he’s much more likely to stick with the Serb for now.

 

Predicted Starting XI

 

 

The Key Battle

Suarez vs. Adul

 

 

Suarez will likely be in the same advanced midfield role he played against Ratchaburi, while Adul will be sitting in front of his back four trying to track the Spaniard’s forward runs. If Suarez can find space and time on the ball, and make Adul’s life difficult when Suphanburi have possession, then it could well give Port the upper hand. Alternatively, if Adul can nullify the Suarez threat and dictate the pace of play, then Suphanburi will likely control the game.

 

 

Thanks to Matt from @fcsuphanburi for contributing.