Thai Port squelched their way into the semi-finals of the Toyota League Cup with an away goals victory over Chiang Rai United. The Klong Toei side's away goal in the 1-1 up at Chiang Rai proved vital as tonight's game ended 0-0.
For the last few days in Bangkok, there have been blue skies and hot sunshine. Before leaving for the match tonight, I contemplated leaving my raincoat at home. Thankfully I didn't as it was to come in very useful in the second half.
For anybody who witnessed the 2nd half at Army United 3 days ago, it was evident that the line-up of the home side was to play defensive again to hold on to their first leg advantage. It looked like Thai Port were playing a 4-2-3-1 formation with two midfielders protecting the back 4 and the three in front protecting the 2 behind them.
Chiang Rai started off passing the ball neatly across the deck and TP goalkeeper Munze had to be alert to stop two early chances from Edvaldo and Wasan. On reflection, the two Chiang Rai strikers will feel they should have done better when they see the replays on TV.
Thai Port eventually managed to nullify the away side as the half petered out to a goalless scoreline.
By the time the second have commenced, the rain clouds were rolling in and it was just a matter of time until it pissed down.
The downpour commenced on cue and the second half became a bit of a non-event. Chiang Rai's best effort came on 90 minutes when a low powerful shot by Leandro crept inches by the post.
Alonso Carvalho in the Chiang Rai goal was an animated sight as he grew increasing frustrated with Thai Port players going down injured. Every time it happened he was running out of his box to remonstrate with the referee and was even helping players onto stretchers to stop time wasting. For the last couple of minutes of the game, he abandoned his goalkeeping position to play centre-forward. It was amusing to watch but at the same time you have to admire him for caring about his side's predicament.
As the final whistle was blown, the match officials had to be escorted off the pitch as the Chaing Rai management staff vented their anger towards them.
Chaing Rai will probably feel that they had done enough over the 90 minutes to have won the tie and it's understandable that they felt frustrated. Nonetheless, Thai Port scraped through to face either Phuket or Pattalung in the semi final.