Sunday, December 23, 2012

End of Season Recess

Now that the AFF Suzuki Cup has drawn to a close, it's time for me to take a break. I won't be reporting on any upcoming glamour friendlies or circling transfer rumours, so I'll be back when the first sign of significant action arises for the 2013 season.

Meanwhile, I'd like to thank the readers who have kept following this blog since it started back in May 2011. Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.


Saturday, December 22, 2012

Singapore Lift AFF Suzuki Cup

Thailand 1-0 Singapore (Agg 2-3)

Singapore collected their fourth AFF Cup despite losing the second leg of the final 1-0 to Thailand. Baiakki's 90th minute goal in the first leg for Singapore proved to be the decisive goal as Singapore won the final 3-2 on aggregate.
Thailand dominated for long periods in this game but only had one goal to show for their efforts. Jakkaphan had hit the bar before Kirati was left unmarked to bullet home a header from Theerathorn's corner in first half injury time.
After the interval, Kirati blasted one over the bar and substitutes Pipob and Apipoo came close. However, Singapore defended ruggedly and denied the Thais that all important second goal.
The victory for Singapore marked the end of Radojko Avramovic's 9 year coaching stint. Shairul Ishak won the MVP award while a dejected Teerasil collected the Golden Boot with 5 goals.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

AFF Suzuki Cup Final 1st Leg

Singapore 3-1 Thailand

It's advantage to Singapore as the hungrier looking Lions took a deserved 3-1 lead on the artificial pitch at the Jalan Besar Stadium.
The opening exchanges saw Singapore take the game to Thailand and they took the lead on 9 minutes from a penalty kick. Piyapon clumsily manhandled Duric conceding a cheap spot kick which Fahrudin converted despite having to retake it.
Singapore continued to hold the upper hand with Thailand looking second best for most of the first half.
The Thais did improve after the interval and were rewarded on 59 minutes when Adul finished a move created by Teerasil.
The joy was shortly lived as Kharil Amri was allowed too much space to turn in the box to restore the Lions lead two minutes later. Jakkaphan then rattled the crossbar with a free kick shortly afterwards, but it was Singapore who had the last laugh on 90 minutes when Baihakki blasted the ball into the roof of the net after Thailand failed to clear a corner.
I won't argue that Singapore didn't deserve their 3-1 first leg lead. I will say that the second leg will be a different ball game as it will played in front of a passionate Thai crowd on real grass. You just have to wonder if that crucial third goal for Singapore will prove to be the decisive goal.


Thursday, December 13, 2012

AFF Cup Semi Final Results

Thailand 2-0 Malaysia (Agg 3-1)

Two second half goals via Teerasil and Theerathorn helped Thailand advance to the AFF Final as they beat 10 man Malaysia 2-0 on the night and 3-1 over two legs.
Arguably, the turning point of the match came when Malaysia's Fadhli was harshly given a second yellow card after himself and Datsakorn exchanged glances at each other shortly before half time!!
Teerasil had missed a great chance in the first half after Datsakorn had set him free, but the Muangthong striker made amends on the hour when sloppy defending following a Panupong header allowed him a clear run on goal to open the scoring.
Five minutes later the tie was put to bed after a Jakkaphan free kick was weakly parried by the Malaysian keeper for Theeratorn to rifle in the rebound with his left foot.
Teerasil should have added a third and Sompong hit the crossbar before Kawin was finally called into action with a couple of sprightly saves in the last 10 minutes.
Overall, I thought Thailand deserved to progress to the final, although if I were a Malaysian fan I'd be directing my angst towards the match officials as they didn't do them any favors in the second leg.

Singapore 1-0 Philippines (Agg 1-0)

A 19th minute goal from Khairul Amri was the only goal of the contest as Singapore edged out the Azkals 1-0 on aggregate.The Lions took the game to Philippines and were rewarded on 19 minutes when a quickly taken free kick caught the Pinoy defence napping, leaving Khairul Amri a free strike from 25 yards out to open the scoring.
Singapore couldn't find that all important second goal to kill the contest but in reality the Azkal street fighting spirit never emerged as they departed the tournament with barely a whimper.

The first leg of the final will take place in Singapore next Wednesday with the return being played in Bangkok on Saturday 22nd December.

Monday, December 10, 2012

AFF Suzuki Cup Semi Finals

Malaysia 1-1 Thailand
It ended honours even in front of an estimated 90,000 spectators at the Bukit Jalil Stadium. Norshahrul opened the scoring shortly after the interval when he headed home Mahalli Jasuli's cross. With 11 minutes left on the clock, Thailand salvaged a draw when Teerasil rose majestically to head home. Malaysia could have snatched a late winner but they were denied by a great reflex save from Kawin, or the Flying Kawin as he's referred to by the ESPN commentry team. Winnie Schafer was sent to the stand for a bout of feet stomping shortly after Thailand's goal but overall it was a satisfactory night for the national side. The sides will battle again at the Supachalasai on Thursday evening.

Philippines 0-0 Singapore

There wasn't much to get excited about as the first leg ended 0-0. Singapore controled the contest but they failed to find that elusive away goal. The Philippines would have been disappointed with their performance yet they'll be pleased that they are still very much in the contest. With away goals counting double, one goal on the artificial Jalan Besar pitch on Wednesday evening could be enough for the Azkals to progress to the final.
 








Sunday, December 9, 2012

Div 2 Playoffs Final Round Review

Group A 

Pattani 0-1 Rayong Utd
Paknampo NSRU 3-0 Roi Et Utd
Ayutthaya 1-2 Phitsanulok

Rayong United grabbed the second promotion spot on a photo finish as they beat Pattani 1-0. Their head-to-head record, number of wins and goal difference were all equal to Phitsanulok's. It came down to 13 goals scored against 10 to separate the duo.
In all reality, Rayong Utd can thank the self implosion of Roi Et as they capitulated losing 3-0 at Paknampo NSRU. A goal from Tasong shortly after half time opened the scoring and two late goals from Permyot rubbed salt in the Roi Et wounds as the White Squirrels lost 3-0.
Phitsanulok earned an impressive 2-1 win at Ayutthaya but it wasn't enough to prevent Rayong United joining Ayutthaya in Division 1 next term.

Final standings:  Ayutthaya 20, Rayong Utd 14, Phitsanulok 14, Roi Et Utd 13, Pattani 10, Paknampo NSRU 8

Group B 

Trat 2-1 Chiang Mai FC
Thai Honda 4-3 Trang
Rayong FC 2-2 Sisaket Utd

A point turned out to be enough for Rayong FC as they finished runners-up to Trat. It was an eventful climax to the season at Rayong with four goals and three sending offs. Pairote headed the hosts in front before Warawut curled one in on the stroke of half time to level. Nattawut then restored the lead for Rayong on the 73rd minute. Sisaket Utd were reduced to 10 men when Homduang received a second yellow and he was quickly joined in the bath tub by the Rayong duo of Pongsatorn and Nattawut. Sisaket did pull a goal back in the 97th minute to snatch a draw but there was to be no dramatic late fightback as Rayong held on for the vital point.
Chiang Mai would have been cursing their luck as they could have earned promotion had they won at Trat. It wasn't to be their day as Trat won 2-1. Misoslav Toth gobbled up an early rebound to put the White Elephants in front and the lead was doubled on the half hour when Toth set up Raymond to score. Chiang Mai were unfortunate to have a goal chalked off close to half time as it could have changed the momentum of the second half. The Lanna Tigers did eventually find the back of the net but Issac Amoah's 87th minute goal was nothing more than a consolation strike.
The match that appeared to be deadwood before kick off proved to be otherwise as Thai Honda staged a sensational comeback to beat Trang 4-3. All seven goals were scored in the same goal with Nopparat netting the late winner.

Final Standings: Trat 22 pts, Rayong FC 16, Chiang Mai FC 15, Sisaket Utd 15, Thai Honda 8, Trang 6

Friday, December 7, 2012

AFF Suzuki Cup Semi Finals Preview

Malaysia v Thailand (Sun 9 Dec, Bukit Jalil Stadium, KL)
Thailand v Malaysia (Thur 13 Dec, Supachalasai)

A full house is expected at the Bukit Jalil Stadium as current holders Malaysia take on cup favorites Thailand. The Tigers got off to a disastrous start in the group stages when they were ambushed 3-0 by Singapore in their own backyard. Since then they've regained their composure with victories over Laos and Indonesia. Malaysia will be hoping that the momentum built from those two victories carries over for their all important home clash with Thailand. Safee Sali was the top scorer in the 2010 tournament and has been identified by Winnie Schafer as their main attacking threat - although reports indicate that he may miss the match due to a thigh strain.

For Thailand, confidence is booming after they eased their way through the group stages with three wins. Provided that there are no fresh injuries, I'd imagine that Schafer will revert to his original starting 11 with the Muangthong 7 accompanied by Cholratit, Anucha, Adul and Theerathon. This game is Thailand's biggest test since their 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign petered out around this time last year. A draw in KL may well be a suitable outcome for the cautious minded, but I believe Thailand can go to Malaysia and get that crucial first leg lead. From what I've seen through my rose-tinted glasses, Thailand are the best side in the tournament with Teerasil currently being the star player in the ASEAN region.

Philippines v Singapore (Sat 8 Dec, Rizal Memorial Stadium, Manila)

Singapore v Philippines (Wed 12 Dec, Jalan Besar Stadium, Singapore)

Back in 2010, qualifying for the semi finals of the AFF Cup was regarded as a major achievement for the Azkals. This time though, expectation levels have risen with the prospect of their first major AFF final within touching distance. The Philippines have already beaten Singapore twice this year and will be looking towards key players like Phil Younghusband, Jason de Jong and the towering Angel Guirado to tame the Singapore Lions once again. The Azkals were boosted with the news that some of their European based players have been released for the Last 4 by their respective clubs.

Singapore on the other hand finished top of Group B, but were not firing on all cylinders when the beat Laos 4-3 last time out. The Lions were trailing 2-0 to the underdogs before Singapore coach Raddy Avramovich made two first half tactical substitutions. The Singapore stalwart, Daniel Bennett, was one of the players hooked which lead to Avramovich coming out to publicly defend the player for his poor showing. The coach has also remained faithful to 42 year old Aleksander Duric despite having other younger attackers at his disposal. The 6ft 4in Bosnain born striker's inclusion splits opinion amongst Singapore fans while he is most remembered by Thai football followers as the man who scored the winning goal three years ago when Singapore beat Thailand 1-0 in the qualifying round for the 2011 Asian Cup in Qatar.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Div 2 Playoffs - Final Round Preview

Group A - Sunday

Pattani v Rayong Utd
Paknampo NSRU v Roi Et Utd
Ayutthaya v Phitsanulok

The final round of the group stages is upon us with one remaining side from a trio of candidates bidding to join Ayutthaya in the second tier of Thai football in 2013.
Roi Et Utd still hold the edge on 13 points with Phitsanulok and Rayong Utd lingering two points behind them. All three clubs hit the road which doesn't bode well as between them only Roi Et have one away win to their name in the group stages with the other two yet to register three points from their travels.
A win for Roi Et would kill all the possible permutations but a draw for them and victories for the other two would leave them all on 14 points. As far as head-to heads go, Roi Et have a better H2H over Rayong Utd but a worse one against Phitsanulok. Rayong Utd and Phitsanulok would tie as both games ended in 1-0 home wins. I believe it's then decided by number of wins, goals scored and then goal difference (don't quote me though).

Group B - Saturday

Trat v Chiang Mai FC
Thai Honda v Trang
Rayong FC v Sisaket Utd

Similar to Group A, there are three sides vying for that all important second promotion place. The lucky winners of the golden ticket will join Trat in Division 1 next year.
The Top 4 clash this Saturday with Trat hosting Chiang Mai FC while Rayong FC welcome Sisaket Utd.
With Rayong and Chaing Mai tied on 15 points, and Sisaket one behind on 14, the possible scenarios are listed below:
  • A win for Rayong FC over Sisaket Utd would guarantee promotion regardless of the Chiang Mai scoreline as the Wild Horses have a superior head-to-head record
  • A draw would also be sufficient for Rayong FC provided Chiang Mai don't beat Trat
  • Only a win will do for Chiang Mai coupled with Rayong not winning
  • Sisaket Utd need to beat Rayong and hope Chiang Mai don't win at Trat

Monday, December 3, 2012

Div 2 Playoffs Round 9 Review

Group A 

Rayong United 3-2 Paknampo NSRU
Ayutthaya 3-0 Pattani
Phitsanulok 2-0 Roi Et Utd

Ayutthaya confirmed themselves as Group A champions as the comfortably beat Pattani 3-0. The defeat for the southerners means they can start preparing for another season of regional league football in 2013. The Ancient Warriors were gifted an own goal in the 11th minute. Roland Guina was then red carded on 30 minutes for Pattani before second half goals from Natthaphat and Antonio Vega rounded off an untroubled afternoon for Ayutthaya.
Roi Et United blew their chance to claim the second promotion berth as they were downed 2-0 at Phitsanulok. Somlak scored a fine individual goal and Weerawut's looping header completed the 2-0 scoreline. Roi Et's misery was complete when Davidson was sent off towards the end of the match. Roi Et still have their fate in their own hands but they'll be nervously looking over their shoulders with Phitsanulok and Rayong Utd only two points behind them.
It was looking bleak for the Elephant Warriors as they were trailing NSRU 2-1 at half time. However an own goal drew Rayong Utd level, and with four minutes remaining Yusuki Sato scored from close in to win it 3-2. The only blemish on the comeback for Rayong Utd would be the dismissal of Souleymane for a spot of handbags in injury time.

Group B 

Rayong FC 2-1 Trat
Sisaket Utd 3-0 Trang
Chiang Mai FC 5-0 Thai Honda

It's all so tight for that second promotion place as Rayong FC, Chiang Mai FC and Sisaket Utd all submitted home wins. CM and SU had slightly easier evenings while Rayong had a tough time against first division bound Trat. Two headed goals from their central defender, Walther, ensured that Rayong won 2-1. Sirisak did have a penalty saved by Trat's Arthit, and Natthaphon did score with a long range free kick for Trat, but it was the Blue Family supporters who were celebrating at the end of the match with their first win in six attempts.
Chiang Mai dispatched a weary looking Thai Honda side 5-0. A deflected shot from Chantaphon set Chiang Mai on their way before Aliou Seck scored the second killer goal moments after half time. The floodgates then opened with Toure Ousmane notching a double and Warut adding a fifth goal.
Sisaket Utd also weren't pressed as they beat Trang 3-0. Preecha's first half penalty eased the pressure before Sisaket added two second half goals.
Rayong and Chiang Mai both have 15 points with Sisaket Utd tucked one behind on 14. I'm assuming that head-to-head comes into play if two teams finish level on points, so Rayong FC's better H2H would trump Chiang Mai superior goal difference should they finish level.
Next week the top four clash with Trat hosting Chiang Mai FC and Rayong FC entertaining Sisaket Utd. 


Thursday, November 29, 2012

Div 2 Playoffs - Round 9 Preview

Group A 

(Saturday)

Rayong United v Paknampo NSRU
Ayutthaya v Pattani
Phitsanulok v Roi Et Utd

A win for Roi Et Utd at Phitsanulok would be enough for the Esan club to secure promotion to the first division alongside Ayutthaya. Roi Et are unbeaten in six although they have drawn half of those games. Their weekend opponents Phitsanulok have won their last two home games 1-0 but their woeful away form has been their undoing.
Pattani in third travel to champions Ayutthaya who'll be in a party mood after sealing their elevation out of the regional leagues last week. Pattani have never really been serious promotion contenders yet a win yoked together with a Roi Et defeat would move them level on points with the White Squirrels.
The other fixture between Rayong Utd and NSRU has little riding on it other than pride.

Group B 

(Sunday)

Rayong FC v Trat
Sisaket Utd v Trang
Chiang Mai FC v Thai Honda

The three sides chasing Trat for that second valuable promotion place all have home games in the penultimate round of fixtures. Rayong FC and Sisaket have been stuttering lately and the momentum certainly appears to be with Chiang Mai at this moment. The Lanna Tigers are six unbeaten after losing their opening two matches although it should be noted that they've failed to win any of their four previous home games with three draws and one loss so far. The CM faithful will be hoping that the visit of Thai Honda gives them their first home success of the playoffs.
Rayong FC are currently level on 12 points with Chiang Mai FC. If the duelling duo finish level on points after Round 10, Rayong would prevail as they can boast a superior head-to-head record. The Wild Horses welcome Trat this Sunday and they'll be hoping that Division 1 bound club take their foot off the gas now that promotion is in the bag. With only one win in the last six, a win for Rayong looks unlikely.
Sisaket Utd have lost their last two games 2-0 and need to bounce back when they welcome Trang. The Esan club are one point behind Rayong and CM and anything other than three points against Trang would surely end their promotion bid.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Div 2 Playoffs Round 8 Review

Division 2 Playoffs
(Group A)
Pattani 2-0 Phitsanulok
Roi Et Utd 2-1 Rayong Utd
Paknampo NSRU 0-1 Ayutthaya

An injury time inswinging free kick from Adu won the game for Ayutthaya as they beat Paknampo NSRU 1-0. The late winner means Ayutthaya will play in the first division next year.
Roi Et United look set to join Ayutthaya in Division 1 after they beat Rayong United 2-1. Kittisak gave the White Squirrels the lead and that was doubled when the unfortunate Dusit slid the ball into his own net. Souleymane gave Rayong Utd some glimmer of hope when he pulled one back shortly before half time. There was no further scoring in the second half although Whitsanusak and Kittisak hit the bar as Roi Et pressed for a third goal.
Pattani beat Phitsanulok 2-0 to keep their slim hopes of promotion alive.

(Group B)
Thai Honda 0-0 Rayong FC
Trat 2-0 Sisaket Utd
Trang 1-3 Chaing Mai FC

Trat's 2-0 win over Sisaket United ensured that they won Group B with two games to spare and more importantly they reserved their place in Division 1 for 2013. First half headers from Wuttichai and Ratthaporn put the White Elephants firmly in control. The game was delayed for 45 minutes due to a floodlight failure in the second period as Trat comfortably saw out the game.
Rayong FC couldn't find a way through on a boggy Thai Honda pitch. The Wild Horses struck the bar and Sarun had a penalty saved as they could only muster a point from the bottom placed club.
In the south, Chiang Mai's 3-1 win at Trang moved the Lanna Tigers firmly into the promotion picture.Warun netted from close in to give CM the lead before Kitsada broke through to level for Trang. Aliou Seck then restored the lead for the northerners and Chanatphol wrapped up the 3-1 win scoring directly from a free kick. Chiang Mai are now level in second place with Rayong FC on 12 points with Sisaket Utd one behind on 11.

AFF Suzuki Cup Group Stage Results

AFF Suzuki Cup 2012

GROUP A FIXTURES

(Sat 24)
Vietnam 1-1 Myanmar
Thailand 2-1 Philippines 

Two goals in two minutes shortly before half time won the game for Thailand. Jakkapan was on hand to convert Theerathon's cut back from the right flank on 38 minutes, while good link up play from Datsakorn and Teerasil allowed Anucha to weave through the Philippines rearguard before the Chonburi man fired into the roof of the net. Thailand had chances to wrap the game up after the break but they had to endure a nervous last 15 minutes when Mulders grabbed a consolation. The gloomy evening was compounded for the Azkals when coach Weiss was sent to the stand for petulantly throwing the ball at Anucha as he lay on the deck injured.
Myanmar upset Vietnam as they came from behind to earn a 1-1 draw. Vietnam controlled the rain swept first half and took the lead through a Le Tan Tai header. Myanmar improved in the second half and drew level when star player Kyi Lin won and converted a penalty.
 
(Tues 27)
Vietnam 0-1 Philippines
Myanmar 0-4 Thailand 

Thailand cruised into the semi finals of the AFF Cup with a 4-0 victory over Myanmar. Teerasil was the hero of the day netting three classy goals in the 20th, 81st, and 88th minutes as the Muangthong hitman enhanced his growing reputation with a hat-trick. The other scorer for Thailand was Apipoo who scored Thailand's second goal off the back of his head following an Anucha cross on the hour. The scoreline was a bit flattering but overall it was a comfortable evening for the Thai hosts.
Vietnam are on the brink of elimination after they lost 1-0 to the Philippines. The Azkals had to be patient with substitute Caligdong's 85th minute strike being the only goal of the game. Vietnam did hit the crossbar shortly after the goal but the Philippines held on to claim the valuable three points.

(Fri 30)
Philippines 2-0 Myanmar
Thailand 3-1 Vietnam

Winfried Schafer reshuffled his pack as Thailand beat Vietnam 3-1. The much maligned Kirati was the hero of the day as he finally proved his worth at international level with a couple of goals. His first was a tap in on the six yard line midway through the first half while his second was a precise glancing header just after the hour mark. Anucha then saw red for aiming a kick at an opponent before Nguyen Van Quyet beat the offside trap moments later to reduce the deficit for the Vietnamese. With 18 minutes left, ten man Thailand could have pressed the panic button, but they secured the game on 81 minutes when a Vietnam defender knocked a Sumanya corner into his own net.
The Philippines saw off Myanmar to ensure back-to-back semi final appearances in the AFF Cup. Second half goals from Phil Younghusband and Angel Guirado sealed second place for the Azkals in Group A.
Thailand won the group with 9 points followed by the Philippines on 6. Vietnam and Myanmar collected only one solitary point apiece.

GROUP B FIXTURES

(Sun 25)
Indonesia 2-2 Laos
Malaysia 0-3 Singapore

AFF cup holders Malaysia were stunned as they lost 3-0 at home to Singapore. Two first half goals from Shahril and a second half header from 42 year old Alex Duric moved the Lions to the top of the group.
It was heartbreak for Laos as an 89th minute goal prevented the underdogs from claiming a famous win. Laos took the lead from the spot through Khampheng Sayavutthi after Indonesia's keeper, Endra, was red carded. It was then 10 v 10 when Sopha Saysana got his marching orders for Laos before Maitimo drew Indonesia level.
In the 80th minute, Keoviengphet looked to have won the game for Laos but Vendry Mofu tapped in a rebound for Indonesia in the 89th minute to make it 2-2.

(Wed 28)
Indonesia 1-0 Singapore
Laos 1-4 Malaysia

Indonesia moved to the top of Group B after they snatched a late 1-0 win over Singapore. Andik Vermansyah was the match winner scoring a free kick in the 87th minute.
Malaysia got their first points on the board with a 4-1 win over Laos. The scorelines suggests it was a comfortable evening for the Malaysians but in reality it was a struggle with three second half goals papering over the cracks.

(Sat 1 Dec)
Singapore 4-3 Laos
Malaysia 2-0 Indonesia

Singapore had to come back from two down before they eventually beat Laos 4-3. The victory meant that the Lions topped the group and avoided tournament favorites Thailand in the semi final. Shahril Ishak's goal in first half stoppage time sparked the Singapore comeback into life after they'd fallen two behind. Singapore added three second half goals as the Laos side tired after the break.
Reigning champions Malaysia progressed to the semi finals as they beat Indonesia 2-0. The Indonesians actually started the game brightly but they were hit with quick goals by Azamuddin Akil and Mahalli Jasuli just before the half hour. Indonesia never really recovered as Malaysia comfortably saw out the game.
Malaysia will now take on Group A winners Thailand in the semi-finals with the first leg in KL next Sunday. Singapore will visit travel to the Philippines in the other semi-final.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

AFF Cup Fixtures & Div 2 Preview

AFF Suzuki Cup 2012
GROUP A FIXTURES
(Sat 24)
Vietnam v Myanmar
Thailand v Philippines
(Tues 27)
Vietnam v Philippines
Myanmar v Thailand
(Fri 30)
Philippines v Myanmar
Thailand v Vietnam

The group games involving Thailand will all take place at the Rajamangala Stadium. The Thais kick off their 2012 AFF cup campaign when the host the Philippines on Saturday evening.  The Azkals have improved massively over the last few years and reached the semi finals of the AFF cup in 2010.
With home advantage in the group stages, Thailand are considered hot favorites to progress to the semi finals with possibly Vietnam anticipated to join them.
The 22 man squad announced by Winfried Schafer on Friday was:
GOALKEEPERS:
Sintaweechai (Chonburi)
Kawin (Muangthong Utd)

DEFENDERS:
Theeraton (Buriram Utd)
Panupong (Muangthong Utd)
Piyaphon (Muangthong Utd)
Niweat (Pattaya Utd)
Nattaporn (BEC Tero)
Cholratit (Chonburi)
Anucha (Chonburi)
Prayat (Ratchaburi)

MIDFIELDERS:
Adul (Chonburi)
Arthit (Chonburi)
Pichitphong  (Muangthong Utd)
Datsakorn (Muangthong Utd)
Jakkraphan (Muangthong Utd)
Apipoo (Osotspa)
Sompong (Bangkok Utd)
Sumanya (Ratchaburi)

FORWARDS:
Teerasil (Muangthong Utd)
Kirati (Wuachon Utd) 
Chanatip (BEC Tero) 
Pipob (Chonburi)

GROUP B FIXTURES
(Sun 25)
Indonesia v Laos
Malaysia v Singapore
(Wed 28)
Indonesia v Singapore
Laos v Malaysia
(Sat 1 Dec)
Singapore v Laos
Malaysia v Indonesia

All of the fixtures will be played at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium in Kuala Lumpur except Singapore v Laos which will take place at Shah Alam Stadium in KL.

Division 2 Playoffs
(Group A - Sunday)
Pattani v Phitsanulok
Roi Et Utd v Rayong Utd
Paknampo NSRU v Ayutthaya

Group A was plunged into a mockery midweek when NSRU failed to fulfill their rescheduled away fixture with Pattani. They game was postponed last Saturday without much prior notice and NSRU swiftly declared that they wouldn't oblige and play the rearranged match. As expected they didn't show and a 2-0 win was awarded to Pattani. The university club were also hit with a three point deduction and a 50,000 baht fine. NSRU have since hinted that they will not show for their last three fixtures. (Please note that sometimes information reported through Thai media sources can be inconclusive. Don't be surprised if this punishment changes)
Nonetheless, I do feel a degree of sympathy for the Nakhon Sawan team, but they have to realize that two wrongs don't make a right. Their stubbornness has almost certainly killed off their chances of reaching the first division.

With uncertainty surrounding the game between NSRU v Ayutthaya, the match between Roi Et and Rayong Utd has the most riding on it this weekend. A win for the White Squirrels would kill off Rayong Utd's promotion bid and would leave Roi Et looking favorites to join Ayutthaya in Division 1 next year. If Roi Et were to lose, the winner of Pattani and Phitsanoluk would close in on the top 2.

(Group B - Saturday)
Thai Honda v Rayong FC
Trat v Sisaket Utd
Trang v Chaing Mai FC

The decision to reply the controversial 2-2 draw between Chiang Mai and Trat has been shelved. This means that a win for Trat over Sisaket United would earn the White Elephants a place in Division One next season. Sisaket Utd haven't won in two games while Rayong FC have been huffing and puffing after a promising start. Three points are essential as they travel to Thai Honda this weekend.
Chiang Mai FC could jump into the top 2 for the first time if they win at Trang and Sisaket Utd and Rayong FC both lose. The last time Chiang Mai and Trang met it ended 2-2 with Trang scoring two injury time goals to snatch an unexpected point.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Weekend Review 17-18 November

International Friendly
Thailand 5-0 Bangladesh

Thailand will enter the AFF Cup in a confident state of mind after they enjoyed their second 5-0 friendly success of the week. It was far too easy for the national favourites with star striker Teerasil scoring a hat-trick on his return to the firing line. As with the Bhutan friendly last Wednesday, the game was over as a contest within a few minutes. Sompong got the faintest of touches to a Pichitphong free kick before Teerasil fired his treble past the unconvincing Bangladesh keeper. Samut Songkhram's Napat bagged his second goal in consecutive matches as Thailand completed the 5-0 beating.
The Thais will entertain the Philippines at the Rajamangala next Saturday as they begin their AFF Cup campaign. The opening match will be quickly followed by games against Myanmar and Vietnam.

Division 2 Playoffs
(Group A)
Pattani P-P Paknampo NSRU
Ayutthaya 1-1 Roi Et Utd
Phitsanulok 1-0 Rayong Utd

An injury time blooper from Theerapong allowed Roi Et Utd to snatch a point at Ayutthaya. The keeper allowed a speculative shot from Naronglit to squirm through his legs as the game entered stoppage time. It was a fiercely fought contest throughout and Justin Herve's 70th minute header looked to have won the match as Ayutthaya pressed home their second half dominance. The point apiece keeps both sides in the top two with Ayutthaya on 14 points and Roi Et on 10.
Behind Roi Et, it's becoming log jammed with three sides now on eight points. The game between Pattani and NSRU was postponed until Tuesday evening much to the disapproval of NSRU. Apparently the Rainbow Stadium wasn't available to host the match.
Phitsanulok's promotion hopes appeared dead and buried a fortnight ago, but two home wins have propelled the northern club to within two points of the top two. Beak Soo Hyun's looping shot on the hour was the only goal of the game. The win for Phitsanulok moved them level with the Elephant Warriors on eight points.

(Group B)
Trat 3-2 Thai Honda
Rayong FC 1-1 Trang
Sisaket Utd 0-2 Chiang Mai FC

Trat have one foot inside the Division 1 door after they won in Round 7 whilst their nearest two challengers, Sisaket Utd and Rayong FC, failed to pick up three points. Trat squandered a 2 goal lead against bottom club Thai Honda, but were rescued with a late Watcharaphol goal as they picked up three precious points to move five clear at the top.
Meanwhile, Rayong FC were surprisingly held at home by Trang to a 1-1 draw. Sarun gave the Wild Horses the lead on the half hour via a penalty kick before Prawet levelled for Trang 10 minutes later. Rayong couldn't find that all important second goal as they had to settle for a solitary point.
That result would have pleased Chiang Mai FC as they crept into promotion contention with an impressive 2-0 win at Sisaket Utd. Goals from Aliou Seck and Chanatphol ensured that the Lanna Tigers closed to within two points of Sisaket Utd and Rayong FC.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Weekend Preview 17-18 November

Division 2 Playoffs
(Group A - Saturday)
Pattani v Paknampo NSRU
Ayutthaya v Roi Et Utd
Phitsanulok v Rayong Utd

The pick of the weekend's clashes is the the top 2 showdown between Ayutthaya and Roi Et United. A win for Ayutthaya would virtually book them a promotion place. They currently sit four points clear of Roi Et with four games left to play.
NSRU and Rayong United are perched closely on the shoulder of Roi Et and they'll be hoping for an Ayutthaya win coupled with one of their own. The promotion seeking pair are both on the road with NSRU making the journey down south to Pattani and Rayong Utd travelling up north to Phitsanulok.

(Group B - Sunday)
Trat v Thai Honda
Rayong FC v Trang
Sisaket Utd v Chiang Mai FC

The top three placed sides all have home games as they bid to complete the double over their Round 7 guests. It's top versus bottom with Trat hosting Thai Honda. In their last meeting Trat eased to a 3-0 win in Lat Krabang. On glancing at the league table, a similar outcome seems likely.
With Trang basically out of the promotion picture, Rayong FC should collect three points from them while Sisaket Utd will face a stiffer test against Chiang Mai FC. Sisaket Utd dropped off the top of the pile last week when they were held at home by struggling Thai Honda. Another home draw would most likely see them overtaken by Rayong FC.

International Friendlies
Thailand 5-0 Bhutan

It's not easy to make an assessment of a 5-0 win over the joint worst FIFA ranked team in the world. The fact that Bhutan turned up wearing a plain kit that appeared to have been purchased from a bargain basement sale earlier in the day, hardly added to their creditworthiness as a viable opponent.
The game as a contest was over within the first five minutes after Apipoo had netted two easy goals. The Osotspa man bagged a hat-trick later in the opening period while goals from Napat and Rattana completed the 5-0 win.
Thailand probably should have won by a greater scoreline but they wasted several set piece plays particularly in the second half. 

Thailand v Bangladesh

The last of Thailand's warm up matches will be completed against Bangladesh this Saturday. It's another choice of opponent that hardly sets the pulses racing although it should give the national side another test in beating a side that their supposed to beat.
The venue for this final warm-up match will be the Thai Japanese Stadium once again.

EDIT: The game will be played at the Rajamangala Stadium not the Thai Japanese.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Weekend 10-11 November Review

Toyota League Cup Final
Buriram Utd 4-1 Ratchaburi

Buriram United won their second cup final of the week as they strolled to a 4-1 win over a Ratchaburi side that was down to it's bare bones. The first division champions had no substitutes listed due to having eight inelligable Buriram United loanees on their books.
With the unconvincing Pathomporn in the Ratchaburi goal, a giant killing never looked likely. In the 36th minute, the Dragon's keeper weakly flapped at a Theeratorn free kick allowing Ekwalla to open the scoring, and minutes later Jerkovic netted from close range to kill off the contest before the half time interval.
Osmar headed Buriram three in front just after the hour before Sivakorn feebly patted the ball onto the unsuspecting Adisak to give Ratchaburi a consolation two minutes later. Goran Jerkovic bagged his double three minutes from time as his header completed an easy day at the office for the Thunder Castle.

Division 2 Playoffs
(Group A)
Roi Et Utd 2-0 Pattani
Rayong Utd 3-1 Ayutthaya
Phitsanulok 1-0 Paknampo NSRU

There were three home wins in Group A as Ayutthaya finally tasted defeat for the first time. The Ancient Warriors lost 3-1 at Rayong United but they still have the benefit of a five point cushion on third place.
At the other end, Phitsanulok won their first game to keep their distant promotion hopes smouldering. Somlak's goal shortly before half time was the only goal of the contest.
Roi Et moved into second spot after they beat Pattani 2-0. A Piyapong penalty and a Michael Victor goal that shouldn't have stood in my opinion won it for Roi Et Utd.

(Group B)
Trang 0-4 Trat
Sisaket Utd 1-1 Thai Honda
Chiang Mai FC 0-0 Rayong FC

Trat were the only side to win on Round 6 as they submitted an impressive 4-0 win at Trang. An early Toth opener followed by a Wuttichai double and a late Raymond goal moved the White Elephants one point clear at the top with a game in hand.
It was a late show at Sisaket United with the points shared between the hosts and Thai Honda. Jimmy Shola's 85th minute goal appeared to have won the points for Sisaket United but they were denied late on when Pornchai's strike earned a point for Thai Honda. The late equalizer proved costly for Sisaket Utd as they dropped to second in the group.
Chiang Mai FC enjoyed the bulk of the chances against Rayong FC despite playing the majority of the game with 10 players. Even though Rayong FC had the man advantage, they seemed content to settle for a point. The draw keeps Rayong FC in third place one point behind Sisaket United. Chiang Mai are six points off the promotion spots although they do have the replayed match against Trat up their sleeve.

International Friendly
Thailand v Bhutan

Thailand host Bhutan in their second warm-up match for the AFF Cup. The Thais will be looking to build on last week's encouraging 2-0 victory over AFF holders Malaysia. I imagine Schafer will mix and match his team again as he bids to find his strongest 11. The latest FIFA rankings released on 7th November had Bhutan ranked in 207th place, equal last with San Marino and the Turks and Caicos Islands. It should be a comfortable win for Thailand which will hopefully be supplemented with a morale boosting performance.
The friendly will be played at 6pm on Wednesday at the Thai Japanese Stadium in Din Daeng.






Thursday, November 8, 2012

Weekend Preview 10-11 November & International Friendly Result

Toyota League Cup Final (Saturday, Thammasart University, 5.45pm)
Buriram Utd v Ratchaburi

Buriram United will start as strong favorites to retain the trophy that they won last season, and complete the domestic cup clean sweep for the second consecutive year.
In the three seasons since the introduction of the Toyota League Cup, Buriram have only tasted defeat once which was back in 2010 to Thai Port in the final.
The Thunder Castle have saved their best form for the cups this season after floundering to fourth in a disappointing league campaign. Osmar Barba and Goran Jerkovic have been the shining beacons that have stood out in Buriram's cup runs.

Ratchaburi on the other hand, won the first division title in their maiden season after being promoted from the regional leagues in 2011. On the way to this final, the Dragons have taken the TPL scalps of Pattaya United, Wuachon United and TOT. Unfortunately, they won't be able to call on any player of theirs with any Buriram connections for this big occasion. In the FA Cup tie between the two finalists, Ratchaburi faced the same predicament and were trounced 7-1 on the night. From a neutrals point of view, let's hope Ratchaburi put up a better fight this time to make it a competitive spectacle.

Division 2 Playoffs
(Group A - Sunday)
Roi Et Utd v Pattani
Rayong Utd v Ayutthaya
Phitsanulok v Paknampo NSRU

As Group A has reached the halfway stage, the big question appears to be who'll be joining Ayutthaya in Division one next season. With a seven point cushion over third placed Roi Et Utd, it would take a catastrophic implosion for Ayutthaya not to be promoted. They travel to Rayong United who are incidentally the only side to take a point of Ayutthaya. That draw came back on the opening round of fixtures.
The story of this group for the rest has been too many drawn matches with Roi Et and Pattani amassing 7 out of a possible 10 between them. The pair clash on Sunday and as we enter the business end of the playoffs, these draws need to be turned into wins.
For bottom side Phitsanulok, they need to win all five of their remaining games and hope results go in their favour. Anything other than three points against second placed NSRU would be the end of Phitsanulok's season. NSRU on the other hand, will see this as a great opportunity for their first away win. 


(Group B - Saturday)
Trang v Trat
Sisaket Utd v Thai Honda
Chiang Mai FC v Rayong FC

On Tuesday it was announced that the Chiang Mai v Trat game from last Saturday would be replayed after the referee controversially allowed a late Trat equalizer to stand despite the fact that there were still Chiang Mai players off the park celebrating a goal they'd scored moments earlier.
Regardless of what happens in that replay, Chiang Mai need to concentrate on the task on hand this weekend as they host Rayong FC who have lost two out of their last three matches.
Trat were clearly unhappy with the decision to replay the game and will be brooding as they make the long trip to Trang. The Dugons won their first match last weekend and another win would keep their slim promotion hopes alive.
Back on Day 1, Thai Honda comfortably beat Sisaket Utd 2-0. Since then the fortunes of both have been polar opposites with Honda losing four on the trot while SU have won three and drawn one on their way to claiming the top berth. The visit of Thai Honda sees the Esan club play their second of three consecutive home games. On current form this match seems like a home banker!

International Friendly Result
Thailand 2-0 Malaysia

Thailand began their first of three warm-up matches for the AFF Cup with a 2-0 win over Malaysia. The result would have pleased Winfried Schafer despite the guests offering very little. The game was tough on the eye for the sparse crowd at the SCG Stadium with fouls and misplaced passes littering the contest.
Debutaunt, Prayat Bunya, headed the only goal of a scrappy first half and Arthit's long range strike with ten minutes left wrapped up the friendly win for the Thais. Adul was dismissed on 72 minutes for receiving two yellows within the space of three minutes and he was joined for an early bath when Malaysia's Abdul Rasak was ordered off shortly before full time.

Winnie Schafer will know his side still needs to improve before the competition begins on 24th November in spite of the encouraging 2-0 scoreline. The German still has his star pair of Teerasil and Datsakorn to return to the fold, plus a couple of the available Buriram United players who should return after the League Cup final. Next up is another friendly against Bhutan next Wednesday.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Weekend Review 3-4 November

FA Cup Final
Buriram Utd 2-1 Army Utd

Two goals from Goran Jerkovic helped Buriram United retain the FA Cup for a second successive year. The Thunder Castle always looked in control once Jerkovic had opened the scoring in the 37th minute. His second on the hour had Buriram in cruise control although a late goal from Isarapong gave the cup holders an anxious last 10 minutes. The win gives Buriram United entry to AFC action (I think) next season.

Division 2 Playoffs
(Group A)
Rayong Utd 2-2 Pattani
Roi Et Utd 1-1 Paknampo NSRU
Phitsanulok 2-3 Ayutthaya

Ayutthaya were the only winners in Round 5 which as a consequence extended their lead at the top to five points. The Ancient Warriors had to come from behind after Nloga had headed Phitsanulok into a 10th minute lead. The first half was rather scrappy, yet after the break Ayutthaya upped the tempo and three second half goals via Natthaphat, Chompoo and Antonio Vega tipped the scales in their favour before Phitsanulok grabbed a consolation right at the death. Phitsanulok's Violet Army once again brought shame on themselves as the game was held up for 15 minutes due to them throwing bottles onto the pitch shortly after Ayutthaya had gone 3-1 up. There will most likely be a home ban coming their way.
In the other two drawn games, Nolan Murray's deflected shot put Roi Et Utd ahead before a late Machuca penalty levelled matters for Paknampo NSRU while Rayong United twice came from behind to grab a 2-2 draw with Pattani. The point apiece keeps Rayong Utd and Pattani on the edges of the promotion scene.

(Group B)
Chiang Mai FC 2-2 Trat
Trang 2-0 Thai Honda
Sisaket Utd 2-1 Rayong FC

For the second successive home game, Chiang Mai FC were hit with a late sucker punch as they drew 2-2 in an eventful encounter with Trat. Wuttichai gobbled up a rebound to give Trat a 15th minute lead before Warut equalized shortly before the interval. The game looked to be sailing towards a 1-1 draw until Aboubacar's injury time goal appeared to have won it for the Lanna Tigers. Whilst a couple of Chiang Mai players were still off the pitch celebrating, Trat quickly restarted the game and ran up the park to level through Wuttichai's second of the afternoon. The game finished 2-2 with the referee and his assistants left to negotiate the gauntlet of wrath from furious home officials, players and fans at the final whistle.
Despite the point for Trat, they were overtaken at the top as Sisaket Utd's 2-1 win over Rayong FC moved the Esan club to the summit of the table. The hero of the day was the golden haired Preecha who netted twice for Sisaket Utd.
Trang finally tallied up a win with a 2-0 victory over Thai Honda. It's probably too little too late for the southern champs as they sit five points behind second placed Trat with five to play.

International Friendly
Thailand v Malaysia (Wednesday)

Winnie Schafer's troops begin their preparations for the forthcoming AFF Suzuki Cup with a warm-up against current AFF cup holders Malaysia at the SCG Stadium, Muangthong.
After a disappointing campaign in 2010, Thailand will be out to demonstrate that they are the top dogs in the ASEAN region. A win isn't essential in this friendly, although fans of the national side will be expecting a performance that will wet the appetite for the upcoming tournament that begins towards the tail end of the month.


Sunday, November 4, 2012

FA Cup Final - Buriram Utd 2-1 Army Utd

Buriram United held onto the FA Cup as Goran Jerkovic's brace helped them beat Army United 2-1.

The opening to the final was reasonably lively and was flowing from end to end without any real chances being created.

Bjorn Lindemann had Sivaruck scrambling across goal in the 13th minute as his angled shot crept wide.

The cup holders then began to dominate possession although they had to wait until the half hour mark until they finally tested Watcharapong in the Army goal. Adisak's header from Theeratorn's cross forced the aforementioned keeper to make a sprightly save with his left hand at the near post.

Five minutes later though, the Army keeper was beaten when Goran Jerkovic slotted past him after Surat had won possession in midfield to neatly tee up the goalscorer.

Spanish defender, Osmar, almost doubled the lead for the Thunder Castle as half time approached but his header from a corner flew just past the post.

On 55 minutes, Jakkraphan spurned a great chance for Buriram United when he fired over from yards out after Theeratorn's low cross found its way to his feet.

Buriram United did eventually double their lead on 62 minutes as Apichet ran into oceans of space down the right flank to cross to an unmarked Jerkovic to head home his second goal of the match.

Just when the Army fans were contemplating heading for the exits, Isarapong struck a daisy cutter past Sivaruck to reduce the deficit on 81 minutes.

The goal was to prove to be only a consolation as Buriram United held out to retain the FA Cup. Captain Apichet, with his well gelled hair, was the delightful recipient of the trophy.




Friday, November 2, 2012

Weekend Preview 3-4 November

FA Cup Final - Sunday, Supachalasai 7pm
Buriram Utd v Army Utd

Both sides have had difficult yet contrasting routes to the final. Cup holders Buriram United stayed at home in the early rounds as they beat Chonburi, Ratchaburi and BEC Tero. In the semi final, they ventured out from their backyard for the first time as they comfortably beat Bangkok Glass at the Rajamangala Stadium.
For Army United, their trip to the final has been a tale of unregistered players, penalty kicks and comebacks. In Round three, Army thought they were out after losing on penalties to regional league side Trat. However, Trat were swiftly booted out of the tournament after they'd been found to have fielded an unregistered player. Army took advantage of the unexpected reprieve and in the next round they successfully beat PTT Rayong following a penalty shootout. The quarter and semi finals then saw Army come from behind to progress. Two late goals helped them come from 2-1 down to beat the mighty Muangthong United while in the semi final last week, Army hit back to beat Chiang Rai United 2-1.

Buriram United will start as favorites to hold onto the trophy that they won last year. Incidentally, Army were the last side to beat Buriram in the FA Cup back in 2010 when a goal from Tatree won a fiery contest. It was however a massive brawl during the match that made the headlines the next day rather than the actual football. For Army they'll can also reflect on an inspired league come back last month against Buriram United as three second half goals in ten minutes snatched a 3-3 draw from the jaws of defeat at the Home of Gentlemen.

The winner on Sunday will pocket B1.5 million, and more importantly if we're still using the same format as 2011, the victor will qualify for AFC duty next term.


Division 2 Playoffs
(Group A - Saturday)
Rayong Utd v Pattani
Roi Et Utd v Paknampo NSRU
Phitsanoluk v Ayutthaya

It's top versus bottom as Ayutthaya travel to Phitsanoluk. Ayutthaya have won their last three games to open up a three point gap at the top while Phitsanoluk remain winless after four games.
The next two sides below Ayutthaya, NSRU and Roi Et Utd, clash this Saturday in Roi Et. An away success for the Nakhon Sawan university side would move them five ahead of their weekend hosts.
Rayong United have lost their way with two defeats after a promising start. They welcome Pattani who yet to win with three draws and one defeat accumulated so far.

(Group B)
(Saturday)
Chiang Mai FC v Trat

(Sunday)
Trang v Thai Honda
Sisaket Utd v Rayong FC

On Saturday, Chiang Mai FC face their biggest game of the season when they welcome group leaders Trat. A win for the Lanna Tigers would move them to within two points of Trat. On the other side of the coin, a loss would virtually extinguish their promotion bid while it would leave one foot in the Division 1 door for Trat.
The following day sees second placed Rayong FC at Sisaket Utd who sit two points and a slot below them in third. A win for the Wild Horses would move them five points clear of Sisaket Utd although I guess they'd take a draw now if it were offered to them.
The bottom two of Trang and Trat also face off. For either of these two to have any chance of sneaking back into the promotion picture, they need to win this and hope that Trat and Rayong FC lose too.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Weekend Review 27-28 October

TPL
Chiang Rai Utd 2-1 Buriram Utd
TTM 0-2 Police Utd
Samut Songkhram 2-0 Pattaya Utd
BEC Tero 2-2 Muangthong Utd
Thai Port 1-2 Chonburi
Wuachon Utd 1-5 Bangkok Glass
Chainat 1-0 Army Utd
TOT 1-3 Osotspa Saraburi
Esan Utd 1-0 BBCU

Muangthong United's 2-2 draw at BEC Tero Sasana meant they completed the 34 game season unbeaten. It's a remarkable accomplishment for the TPL champions who have improved massively since the appointment of Slavisa Jokanovic. Even the most optimistic of Muangthong fans would never have predicted the successful nature of this campaign at the turn of the year whilst under the guidance of a certain ex-Liverpool striker.
The draw also ensured the BEC Tero finished in third which realistically is a decent achievement. Ex MTU favorite Nattaporn tapped Tero in front before Adnan Barakat and Teerasil (penalty) had the champs ahead at the break. Cleiton Silva levelled in the second half to ensure a share of the points for Tero and his goal meant he finished the TPL's joint top scorer with Teerasil on 24 goals. The nauseating Mario Gjurovski and Rangsan were dismissed in the 93rd minute after a spot of handbags.

In the other matches, the surprise result of the weekend was Bangkok Glass winning 5-1 at Wuachon Utd. Buriram United and Army United both fielded weakened teams and lost as the save themselves for next Sunday's FA Cup final. There were also wins for Police Utd, Chonburi, Samut Songkhram, Osotspa and Esan Utd as the 2012 TPL season drew to a close. The 2013 season is expected to commence in February.

Division 1
Bangkok FC 2-1 Krabi
Siam Navy 2-2 PTT Rayong
Chantaburi 0-0 Songkhla
FC Phuket 4-0 JW Rangsit
Ratchaburi 6-2 Raj Pracha
Air Force Utd 3-1 Korat
Phatthalung 1-4 Bangkok Utd
Saraburi 1-2 Khon Kaen
Sriracha 0-2 Suphanburi

Songkhla became the fifth side to be relegated alongside the already doomed Phatthalung, JW Rangsit, Raj Pracha and Chantaburi. Their 0-0 draw at Chantaburi will probably be the last ever game for Songkhla FC as this branch of the franchise is expected to be disbanded by the owner. The 0-0 draw also meant that opponents Chantaburi went through the whole season without a victory. The Hares finished marooned at the bottom with only four points.
The other two sides who were in relegation danger before the last round, FC Phuket and Khon Kaen, both won in contrasting styles. The Islanders eased to a comfortable 4-0 win over Raj Pracha while Khon Kaen won a fiery contest 2-1 at Saraburi. Recio netted twice for the T-Rex before three of his teammates were sent for early showers. Saraburi did pull one back and had one player ordered off too.
The promoted trio all signed of with victories while Lee Tuck claimed the golden boot award finishing with 23 goals to his name.

Div 2 Playoffs
(Group A)
Pattani 0-2 Ayutthaya
Roi Et 1-1 Phitsanoluk
NSRU 2-1 Rayong Utd

Ayutthaya have asserted themselves as group leaders as they ended Pattani's 1-1 drawing sequence beating them 2-0 in their own backyard. Goals from Jose Ordenes and Sirichai helped open up a five point cushion on third spot.
Dusit shot Rayong Utd into an early lead before Anggelo Machuca levelled from the spot for NSRU. Nattakorn then rattled one in from 40 yards after the interval to win the three points and move NSRU into second position.
Roi Et United continue to baffle as they were held to a 1-1 home draw by bottom side Phitsanoluk. The White Squirrels took a first half lead but they were pegged back when Phitsanoluk scored from a second half penalty. The point leaves Roi Et two points behind second placed NSRU.

(Group B)
Thai Honda 0-1 Chiang Mai FC
Trat 2-1 Rayong FC
Trang 1-1 Sisaket Utd

A full house watched Trat climb into pole position as they beat Rayong FC 2-1. After a goalless first half, which included a 15 minute floodlight failure, Trat took the lead when Miroslav Toth headed them in front early in the second period. The lead was doubled 20 minutes later through Rattaporn before Rayong FC grabbed a late consolation goal.
Thai Honda lost their third consecutive match losing 1-0 at home to Chiang Mai FC.Wuttiphan's first half penalty was the only goal of the match as Chiang Mai earned their first win in Group B. The victory lifts the northerners above the ailing Bangkok regional champions.
On Sunday, Sisaket fought back from a goal down to grab a point at Trang. The Esan club are two points behind the top 2 while Trang prop up the group with 2 points.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Thai Port 1-2 Chonburi

Thiago Cunha netted twice as Chonburi won 2-1 on Thai Port's TPL swansong.

Both sides wasted early chances with Thiago knocking the ball into Wanlop's legs after being sent on his way by Jetsadakorn while Steven Robb missed a sitter with the goal gaping at his mercy.

Thai Port fell behind on 12 minutes when a long ball caught Termchai napping which allowed Thiago the easy task of stroking the ball past Wanlop.

Ten minutes later, another long ball from Chonburi was this time missed by Thongchai and as the left back tried to retrieve the situation, he fouled Thaigo in the box. It was a rather harsh award by the referee, but Thiago wasn't complaining as he coolly sent Wanlop the wrong way to make it 2-0.

However, the hosts began to find their feet with Sarawut fizzing an effort across the goal and Ri Myong Jun headed onto the post after a teasing cross from Robb.

Steven Robb then atoned for his earlier miss when he prodded home Watson's low cross on 45 minutes to give Port a glimmer of hope.

The clock whittled down slowly after the break with few chances for either side. Robb blasted a shot into Sinteeweechai's midriff while Ri Myong Jun's spin and shot in the box flew wide. The closest the Sharks came was when newly introduced sub, Paritas, fired over the bar from close in.

At the end of the game, there was a pitch invasion from the Klong Toei youngsters as they went in search of goodies from the players. Both sides now have about three months to prepare for next season. The pair might be in different divisions but the target of winning their respective leagues will be the same.


Bangkok FC 2-1 Krabi

Lee Tuck and Sarayoot were on target as Bangkok FC signed off the season with a 2-1 win over Krabi.

The match was supposed to have been played with no home fans present after crowd disturbances marred the final whistle last week against Sriracha. In my estimation, at least 1,000 of the official 1,239 attendance would have gone home happy after this contest!

On the rebound
Samuel Danquah should have opened the scoring early on before Sarayoot was tripped in the box by goal stopper, Theerawat. Lee Tuck's stuttering run up from the resultant spot kick didn't fool Theerawat as he blocked the Englishman's shot, but fortunately for the division's top goalscorer. the rebound fell comfortably into his path to be tucked away. The goal was his 23rd of the season and it ensured that Lee Tuck topped the Division 1 goalscoring chart.

Wrong way
On 34 minutes, the referee awarded his second penalty kick of the match when Christiano Lopes was adjudged to have been felled by Mika Chunuonsee in the box. The ex-Sriracha man dusted himself down and made no mistakes as he sent Naratip the wrong way to level.

The Energy should have gone ahead minutes later when Soukaphone jinked his way into the box, but his effort on goal was rifled over from yards out.

The hosts looked the more likely after the break as they targeted the left flank for several raids. Their persistence paid off on 71 minutes when Lee Tuck's cross from the left was headed in by Sarayoot.

Thaweepong and Bolarinwa Ayotomiwa came close to adding to the Bulligans lead, while Chaninthorn whistled a couple of free kicks inches wide for Krabi as the game finished 2-1 to Bangkok FC. At full time, there appeared to have been a red card flashed towards Rachanon as the teams departed the field.

At the end of the season, Bangkok FC finished 10th and five points clear of relegation. Overall they'd have settled for that one month ago, but when you consider the money that has been invested in the club by the owner, they really have underachieved.

Krabi on the other hand should be satisfied with a sixth placed finish although they will be disappointed that they couldn't maintain their promotion push after an excellent first leg of the season.

I'd say both clubs have a decent nucleus in their squads to build on for next term. With sensible investment, I can see the pair challenging for promotion next year.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Midweek Round Up 23-25 October

FA Cup Semi Finals
Bangkok Glass 0-2 Buriram United
Army United 2-1 Chiang Rai United

A brace of goals from Goran Jerkovic ensured that double cup holders Buriram proceeded to another cup final. Buriram United beat Bangkok Glass in the Toyota League Cup semis last week and the Thunder Castle were never threatened in this tie as they comfortably brushed aside a toothless Bangkok Glass.

The initial encounter between Army United and Chiang Rai Utd was rained off on Wednesday evening. When the tie did eventually get played 24 hours later, it was Army who prevailed winning 2-1.
It was however Chiang Rai Utd who took the lead moments after the break through a long range shot from Uilian Souza that Watcharapong in the Army goal made a hash of. The Brazilian goalscorer then went from hero to zero as he was red carded after a needless forearm smash on Narong. The dismissal was the turning point and Army levelled midway through the half when Tatree slipped unnoticed into the CRU box. Danny Invincible then scored from close in to give Army a 2-1 lead which they held onto.
The final between Buriram United and Army United will be played on Sunday 4 November at the Supachalasai.


AFC Cup - Semi Final 2nd leg
Chonburi (2) 1-4 (8) Arbil SC

The great comeback never materialized as Chonburi suffered another 4-1 defeat at the hands of Arbil to exit the competition 8-2 on aggregate. The writing was on the wall as early as the 18th minute when Saab Abdulameer got in front of his marker to glance a header home from a corner. Suttinun gave the Sharks a glimmer of hope as he pulled one back shortly afterwards, but two second half goal from Amjed Rahdi killed the contest. To rub salt further into the wounds, Mustapha Ahmad added another to match the 4-1 scoreline of the first leg.
Arbil will now face Kuwait SC in the final on November 3 at the Francouse Al-Hareeri Stadium in Arbil City.

TPL
Osotspa Saraburi 3-1 Chonburi

The 3-1 win guarantees a fifth placed finish for Osotspa Saraburi. Noppanon gave the Sharks the lead on the half hour but by 52 minutes the weary Chonburi side were 3-1 down.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Last Day & Division 2 Preview

TPL
Chiang Rai Utd v Buriram Utd
TTM v Police Utd
Samut Songkhram v Pattaya Utd
BEC Tero v Muangthong Utd
Thai Port v Chonburi
Wuachon Utd v Bangkok Glass
Chainat v Army Utd
TOT v Osotspa Saraburi
Esan Utd v BBCU

The 2012 TPL season draws to a close some 226 days after it started back on 17 March. Incidentally, the same opening day fixtures will be reversed to wind up the season.
All the major issues have been decided with Muangthong United being crowned champions and Chonburi as runners-up while Thai Port, BBCU and TTM have already started contemplating life in the second tier.
The BEC Tero v Muangthong game takes the spotlight for two reasons this Sunday. First, Muangthong are trying to complete the unique feat of going through the 34 game season undefeated, and for their opponents, BEC Tero, they need a point to claim third spot above last season's champions Buriram. A point apiece would suit each other very nicely!!
Elsewhere it's just a clambering for final positions with three points separating seven clubs between Esan United in 6th and Chiang Rai Utd in 13th place.

Division 1
Bangkok FC v Krabi
Siam Navy v PTT Rayong
Chantaburi v Songkhla
FC Phuket v JW Rangsit
Ratchaburi v Raj Pracha
Air Force Utd v Korat
Phatthalung v Bangkok Utd
Saraburi v Khon Kaen
Sriracha v Suphanburi

The only issue to be concluded is who joins Chantaburi, Raj Pracha, JW Rangsit and Phatthalung in the regional leagues next season. Songkhla currently occupy that fifth demotion spot but you'd fancy them to get three points at ailing Chantaburi. Likewise, FC Phuket should beat JW Rangsit at home so that leaves Khon Kaen needing a point at Saraburi to save themselves from a second consecutive relegation.
At the top, Ratchaburi are already confirmed as champions and they'll be joined in the top flight by Suphanburi and Bangkok United.
The golden boot looks Halifax bound as Lee Tuck currently tops the chart with 22 goals. Next in line is Douglas Gardozo on 19. The Dragons host relegated Raj Pracha and I'm certain Douglas will be granted permission to take every set piece in and around the box as he bids to catch the Bulligan's hitman.

Div 2 Playoffs
(Group A - Sunday)
Pattani v Ayutthaya
Roi Et v Phitsanoluk
NSRU v Rayong Utd

Group leaders Ayutthaya make the long trip to Pattani who have drawn all three games 1-1. The Queen Cannons are undefeated on their own patch this season and I'm sure Ayutthaya would settle for extending Pattani's 1-1 sequence to four matches.
Roi Et finally got their campaign up and running with an impressive 2-0 victory at Rayong United in Round 3. The visit of bottom side Phitsanoluk gives the Esan club an ideal opportunity to build on last week's victory.
Both NSRU and Rayong Utd sit on four points with Roi Et and the pair need to bounce back after defeats last weekend.

(Group B)
(Saturday)
Thai Honda v Chiang Mai FC
Trat v Rayong FC

(Sunday)
Trang v Sisaket Utd

Rayong FC face their most difficult test so far putting their 100% winning record on the line as they travel to Trat. The two league matches between the Central/East pair were both drawn which hints that we could see a third draw.
Thai Honda have lost their last two games and need to get back on track as they host struggling Chiang Mai FC. The northern side's coach offered to resign earlier in the week after his side threw away a 2 goal lead at home to Trang. However, his offer was rejected by the club owners who'd prefer to make any changes once the playoffs have finished.
Similar to Chiang Mai, Trang have also failed to make any impact in the group so far, but they will be buoyed by their late fightback at Chiang Mai last Monday. The Dugons host Sisaket United who have won their last two.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Midweek Action 23-25 October

AFC Cup - Semi Final 2nd leg
Chonburi (1) v (4) Arbil SC (Tuesday)

If Chonburi need any inspiration on how to overturn a 4-1 first leg deficit into a victory, then they should have been watching reruns of Deportivo la Coruna's 4-0 second leg victory over AC Milan in the UEFA Champions League back in 2004. On that night, AC Milan just thought they had to turn up in northern Spain to complete the formality of progressing to the semi final, and from what I've read in the press, Arbil appear to be suffering from the same bout of self assurance.
The 4-1 scoreline of the first leg flattered the Iraqi champions as they took advantage of some flimsy Chonburi defending. The Sharks will be boosted by the return of Brazilian Thiago Cunha who sat out the first leg due to suspension. A B3million bonus has been dangled in front of the Chonburi snouts by the club chaiman to defy the mountainous odds and qualify for the AFC Cup final.

FA Cup Semi Finals
(Wednesday)
Bangkok Glass v Buriram United
Army United v Chiang Rai United

Both games will be played at neutral venues with BG and Buriram Utd crossing swords once again at the Rajamangala Stadium while Army and Chinag Rai United will play at Muangthong United's home stadium.
Bangkok Glass will be looking to make it 9th time lucky to end a run of eight consecutive defeats to Buriram. The sides should be familiar with each other having met in the Toyota League cup semi final last week. The Thunder Castle won that tie 4-2 on aggregate.
Army United will be aiming to book an FA Cup final at the third attempt after two previous losses at this stage of the competition in the last two seasons. Their two recent semi finals appearances ended rather meekly with defeats to Chonburi in 2010 and Buriram PEA in 2011. This is the furthest Chiang Rai United have ever been in a cup competition, and they'll be hoping to lift their first major trophy in their short four year history. The form book would point towards Army winning this as they won both league meetings 1-0 this season.

TPL
Osotspa Saraburi v Chonburi (Thursday)

A point in this would be sufficient enough to secure a 5th placed finish for Osotspa. It's been a topsy-turvy season for the Saraburi club, but winning their last three games has propelled them to the cusp of a top 5 finish. Chonburi will play this game less than 48 hours after their AFC Cup semi final against Arbil.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Weekend Review 20-21 October

TPL
Chonburi 1-1 Bangkok Glass
Chiang Rai Utd 3-2 TTM
BBCU 1-4 Buriram Utd
Osotspa Saraburi 2-1 Esan Utd
Army Utd 2-1 TOT
Wuachon Utd 2-4 Chainat
Thai Port 1-2 Muangthong Utd
BEC Tero 3-1 Pattaya Utd
Police Utd 1-1 Samut Songkhram

Teerasil's 87th minute winner was the concluding nail in Thai Port's TPL coffin as they became the final side to complete the relegation threesome alongside BBCU and TTM.
Thai Port got their noses in front against the lackluster champions through a Kiatjareon free kick, but goals from Dagno Siaka and Teerasil helped Muangthong fight back to claim a 2-1 win and consign Thai Port's fate.

Trinidad and Tobago internationalist, Kendall Jagdeosingh, bagged a hat-trick in Chainat's 4-2 win at Wuachon. The three points for the Hornbills moved them three points clear of Port and with a superior head-to-head record over TP, Chainat confirmed another season in the top flight for 2013.

Pattaya United's end of season slump continued with a 3-1 defeat at BEC Tero Sasana. Ludo was on target again for Pattaya and it's fair to say that his goals have kept the Dolphins afloat. A cute lob from Kato, a Silva penalty and an own goal helped Tero hold onto third place.
Chiang Rai Utd and Police United can breathe a sigh of relief too as their top flight status were secured. CRU edged out TTM 3-2 while a point at home to Samut Songkhram was adequate for the Crimson Cops.

Elsewhere BBCU took the lead once again before caving in at the Rajamangala stadium. This time their losing deficit was half of Wednesday's eight as Buriram United ran out 4-1 winners. Chonburi were held at home 1-1 by Bangkok Glass while Army United and Osotspa enjoyed 2-1 home wins.

Division 1
Round-up was posted yesterday

Division 2 Playoffs
(Group A)
Rayong Utd 0-2 Roi Et Utd
Phitsanoluk 1-1 Pattani
Ayutthaya 2-0 Paknampo NSRU

Pre-group favourites, Ayutthaya FC, took to the summit of the group with a 2-0 victory over NSRU. The Nakhon Sawan side hit the bar in the first half but two second half goals helped the Ancient Warriors open up a three point advantage over the rest of the field.
Roi Et's campaign finally kicked off with an impressive 2-0 win at Rayong United. Similar to Ayutthaya, Roi Et won courtesy of two second half goals even though they finished the match with 10 players.
If it's 1-1 draws that you're after, then Pattani FC is the team to see. Their third successive 1-1 was a highly entertaining match as Phitsanoluk chalked up their first point. Despite having only one point from three outings, Phitsanoluk are only three points behind Roi Et, Rayong Utd and NSRU in the valuable second spot.

(Group B - Sunday)
Sisaket Utd 2-0 Trat
Rayong FC 1-0 Thai Honda

After eight matches in Group B, we are still awaiting our first draw. Rayong FC maintained their 100% winning record and moved clear at the top after they edged out Thai Honda 1-0. Alongkorn's first half goal was enough to send the Wild Horses onto nine points
10 man Sisaket ended Trat's perfect start with two late second half goals.The first was an own goal off Chae Wan Ji and Zola set up Jirawan to complete the victory in injury time. Sisaket Utd join Trat on six points.

(Monday)
Chaing Mai FC 2-2 Trang

Trang staged as sensational last ditch comeback to grab their first point of the group stages. Chiang Mai appeared to have had the game wrapped up on 80 minutes when Anucha gave the hosts a 2-0 lead. Nitiroj was then ordered off for Trang two minutes later, but the Dugons defied the odds scoring twice deep into stoppage time to snatch an unexpected point. Anusorn netted a free kick from the edge of the box before Ben Musah pounced on a goalkeeper fumble to level. Both sides still prop up the group on one point and sit five points behind Trat in second place with seven games left to play.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Division 1 Penultimate Saturday - Round Up


Bangkok FC 2-1 Sriracha
Suphanburi 1-0 Saraburi
Khon Kaen 2-0 Phatthalung
Bangkok Utd 0-0 Air Force Utd
Korat 0-3 Ratchaburi
Raj Pracha 1-4 FC Phuket
JW Rangsit 4-0 Chantaburi
Songkhla 2-3 Siam Navy
PTT Rayong 1-0 Krabi

Lee Tuck's brace over Sriracha killed off the Blue Marlins promotion hopes and now ensures that Ratchaburi will be joined in the TPL by Bangkok United and Suphanburi next season.
Ratchaburi wrapped up the title in impressive style winning 3-0 at Nakhon Ratchasima. Bouba Abbo was the inspirational figure scoring one and then laying the two others on a plate for teammates to score. Rian Marques completed a miserable afternoon for the Swatcats as he was dismissed in between the second and third goals.
Bangkok United could only muster a 0-0 at home to Air Force United but that was enough to see them over the finishing line. Romain Gasmi almost scored the goal of the season as he tried to lob the AFU keeper from just in front of the halfway line. Unfortunately the French skipper's effort hit the bar.
Big spending Suphanburi saw off Saraburi 1-0 with Pipat deflecting Worawut's shot for the only goal of the game. The vast majority of the 8,641 crowd can now look forward to life in the TPL.
It was a disappointing end for Sriracha as they lost 2-1 at Bangkok FC. The Bulligans took the lead courtesy of Tuck's spot kick just before half time and the Englishman waltzed through the Sriracha rearguard to double the advantage minutes after the restart. The Blue Marlins did pull one back but it wasn't enough. The match ended with objects being thrown by Sriracha fans towards the Bangkok FC players as they went to salute their guests which prompted a comical fight with flags between rival fans.
By my calculations the Bulligans are 99.9% safe from the drop and it would take a freak combination of results on the final day for them to be relegated.
The big encounter at the bottom yesterday saw Khon Kaen beat Phatthalung 2-0. It was a comfortable victory for KK as Phatthalung had to play the last hour of the match with only 10 men. Khon Kaen still require one more point whereas the Swiftlet's Division 1 status has plunged off the cliff. How they must rue those two draws with Chantaburi now!!
The demise of what was once a prosperous Songkhla FC is almost complete as they lost 3-2 in front of 563 spectators at the Tinsulanon. It was only last season that they were watched for one game by 35,000, were chasing promotion to the TPL, and made it to the semi final of the FA Cup. Songkhla did fight back from 2-0 down but their comeback was undone midway through the second half when Chusana curled one into the top corner to restore Navy's lead. Songkhla need to beat Chantaburi next Saturday and hope for a slice of luck from elsewhere to stay up.
FC Phuket jumped out of the danger zone after their simple 4-1 win at Raj Pracha. The Islanders should secure their Division 1 status next weekend with the visit of JW Rangsit.
The other scores were JW Rangsit 4-0 Chantaburi and PTT Rayong 1-0 Krabi.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Weekend Preview 20-22 October

TPL
(Saturday)
Chonburi v Bangkok Glass
Chiang Rai Utd v TTM

(Sunday)
BBCU v Buriram Utd
Osotspa Saraburi v Esan Utd
Army Utd v TOT
Wuachon Utd v Chainat
Thai Port v Muangthong Utd
BEC Tero v Pattaya Utd
Police Utd v Samut Songkhram

As we enter the penultimate round of fixtures, the only placing of significance yet to be decided is who takes the last relegation slot and joins BBCU and TTM in the first division next year.
It appears to be a two way battle between Thai Port and Chainat on 33 points although Pattaya, Police and Chiang Rai Utd could still be dragged back into the scrap should they lose on Sunday and Chainat and Port win. For the Klong Toei favorites to achieve this, they'll have to do what no other club has done in 32 previous attempts and beat the TPL champions, Muangthong United.
If Thai Port were to lose to MTU and if Chainat won at Wuachon, then it would by goodnight for TP as the Hornbill's superior head to head record would ensure that they'd finish above Thai Port in the standings.
As mentioned earlier, Pattaya, Police and Chaing Rai Utd aren't out of the woods yet. CRU should book their safety ticket with the visit of hapless TTM. In similar fashion, Police United would expect to complete their series of seven home matches with a win over Samut Songkhram while Pattaya will probably be relying on favors from elsewhere as they have a tough trip to third placed BEC Tero Sasana.
The rest of the card has Chonburi v Bangkok Glass on Saturday, while it's BBCU v Buriram Utd, Osotspa v Esan Utd and Army Utd v TOT on Sunday.

Division 1
(Saturday)
Bangkok FC v Sriracha
Suphanburi v Saraburi
Khon Kaen v Phatthalung
Bangkok Utd v Air Force Utd
Korat v Ratchaburi
Raj Pracha v FC Phuket
JW Rangsit v Chantaburi
Songkhla v Siam Navy
PTT Rayong v Krabi

Unlike the TPL, there is still plenty to play for in the first division with two promotion spots and three relegation placings yet to be resolved.
At the top, the final day showdown between Sriracha and Suphanburi has already let Ratchaburi slip into the TPL waiting lounge and they'll be joined by Bangkok United provided they beat Air Force on Saturday. Suphanburi should have too much at home for Saraburi while Sriracha travel to Bangkok FC who themselves are desperate for points for other reasons. Anything other than a win for the Blue Marlins could make the big showdown with Suphanburi irrelevant if results pan out against them.
With Chantaburi, Raj Pracha and JW Rangsit already relegated, there are still two more from five clubs dreading a similar fate. Phatthalung and FC Phuket currently occupy those two unwanted placings with Khon Kaen, Songkhla and Bangkok FC hovering just above them. The biggie at the bottom has to be Khon Kaen against Phatthalung. You feel a home win would determine both clubs futures with KK staying up and Phatthalung going down. FC Phuket are at relegated Raj Pracha and three points should be on the cards for the Islanders. Likewise Songkhla should be able to beat Siam Navy at home and as mentioned beforehand, Bangkok FC welcome promotion chasing Sriracha.

Division 2 Playoffs
(Group A - Saturday)
Rayong Utd v Roi Et Utd
Phitsanoluk v Pattani
Ayutthaya v Paknampo NSRU

It's been tight in Group A so far with few goals scored and plenty of equally matched contests. Three teams are currently tied on four points with two of them meeting this weekend. Central/East champions Ayutthaya welcome NSRU who are venturing outside of Nakhon Sawan for the first time in the playoffs. Rayong Utd also have four points and victory over Roi Et would leave the White Squirrels a mountain to climb. Phitsanoluk make their first home appearance after two away defeats and three points are a must for the Violet Army to get their promotion bid back on colour.

(Group B - Sunday)
Sisaket Utd v Trat
Rayong FC v Thai Honda

(Monday)
Chaing Mai FC v Trang

If both Trat and Rayong FC win this weekend, the pair would open up a healthy six point advantage over the rest of the field. Even at this early stage, you'd have your money firmly on the Central/East double act should this happen. Chaing Mai FC and Trang don't play until Monday evening and they'll probably be hoping for Sisaket Utd and Thai Honda victories so they can move to withing three points of the top should they win this Monday night fixture. The loser can start preparing for another season of regional league football in 2013.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

TPL & TLC Midweek Review

TPL
Wuachon Utd 1-4 Chonburi
BBCU 1-8 Muangthong Utd

BBCU's 8-1 mauling at the hands of Muangthong United, confirms that they'll be returning to Division 1 for 2013 after only only season in the top flight.
Nobody expected the avalanche of goals to follow on 26 minutes when Kobenan Lion gave BBCU the lead. The Juventus clad TPL champs hit back with goals from Diago Siaka and two from Teerasil to lead 3-1 at the break, while Rangel added another after half time before Teerasil completed another double and Adnan Barakat notched a late brace to round off the 8-1 rout.

Early goals from Anderson Dos Santos and Phanuwat put Chonburi firmly in control of their match at Wuachon. Kone Seydou pulled one back for the Fighting Bulls but the outstanding Thiago calmed the nerves as his two goals towards the tail end of the match secured the three points for the Sharks.


Toyota League Cup - Semi Final 2nd Leg
TOT (2) 2-2 (3) Ratchaburi
Buriram Utd (4) 1-0 (2) Bangkok Glass

If goals dominated the TPL proceedings, then it was a fiery night of six red cards which grabbed the headlines in the Toyota League cup semi finals.

There were ugly scenes at the end of the TOT v Ratchaburi contest as players and staff traded blows on the pitch after Weera had apparently sparked it off by kicking a playacting opponent.
However, it was a placid opening at the TOT Stadium with Jang Gil Hyeok's 13th minute side footer making it 2-0 on aggregate for Ratchaburi. Paunovic's free kick went through the Ratchaburi keeper on the hour before Bas Savage gave the TPL side a 2-1 lead on the night with 10 minutes remaining. Narentorn though, finished the game off in stoppage time as the first division side reserved a spot in the final. Ratcahburi won the tie 3-2 but TOT can claim the red card count edging it by the same margin as the scoreline.

As reported earlier, Buriram United beat Bangkok Glass 1-0 on the night to win 4-2 on aggregate. There was only one red card in this tie which went to Valery Hiek of Bangkok Glass.

Buriram United 1-0 Bangkok Glass (Agg 4-2)

Buriram United reserved their place in the Toyota League Cup final for the third successive season. The cup holder's 1-0 victory on the night saw them beat Bangkok Glass 4-2 on aggregate and they'll now face Division 1 side Ratchaburi in the final next month.

Before this match commenced, Bangkok Glass knew they needed to find two goals from somewhere to have any chance of overturning their first leg 3-2 defeat.

The away side forced an early chance when a long throw released Ajayi and Sarun was inches away from connecting with Ajayi's cross come shot across the goal.

The push from Bangkok Glass never really materialized with the hosts having chances as Jakkraphan fired over from inside the box and Goran Jerkovic crashed a header onto the bar as it remained goalless at the interval.

The goalscorer
Buriram United were looking comfortable as the second half progressed and their passage to the final was assured on 76 minutes when Adisak capitalized on an incredibly sloppy piece of defending by Noppol. The ball bobbled off the lackadaisical Glass defender straight to Adisak who slotted the ball into the bottom corner of the net.

The Glass Rabbit's misery was complete five minutes from time when Valery Hiek was sent for an early shower after a high boot to Ekwalla's head earned him his second yellow card. There were little complaints as the big man from Cameroon slowly trudged off the park.

Attendance: 19,397
Anyway, the pair will meet again next Wednesday in the FA Cup semi final at the Rajamangala Stadium in Bangkok. For Buriram, they'll also be visiting the same stadium on Sunday to take on relegated BBCU.









Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Midweek Preview 17th October

TPL
Wuachon Utd v Chonburi
BBCU v Muangthong Utd

With league title and runner's up spot already sewn up, Muangthong United and Chonburi can take their foot off the gas for their away trips this Wednesday. BBCU can still mathematically stay up if they win their remaining three games and Chainat and Thai Port lose their last two. Anything other than a victory over the TPL champions would see BBCU join TTM in the first division next term.Wuachon will be missing several first team regulars due to them being farmed out from the stable of their guests.

Toyota League Cup - Semi Final 2nd Leg
TOT (0) v (1) Ratchaburi
Buriram Utd (3) v (2) Bangkok Glass

Ekwalla Herman's late controversial penalty established a 3-2 first leg lead for Buriram United over Bangkok Glass. The Countryside Champions (wikipedia) are now in a strong position to book their third successive Toyota Cup final appearance. Bangkok Glass have it in their locker to produce a one off win in Buriram, but whether they can win by two goals remains to be seen.
In the other tie, TOT need to overcome a 1-0 first leg deficit against Ratchaburi. It's a close game to call and I feel the scorer of the first goal will be vital to the outcome.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Weekend Review 13-14 October

TPL
BBCU 1-1 Army
Chonburi 2-0 TOT
Police Utd 1-0 Thai Port
Wuachon Utd 1-1 Esan Utd
Muangthong Utd 1-0 Chainat
Pattaya Utd 0-0 Bangkok Glass
Chiang Rai Utd 0-1 BEC Tero
TTM 0-1 Samut Songkhram
Osotspa Saraburi 2-1 Buriram Utd

Congratulations go to Muangthong United who claimed their third TPL title in four years. Teerasil was on hand to head the only goal of the game as Muangthong beat Chainat 1-0 to move 14 points clear of Chonburi. The Kirins next challenge will be to remain undefeated in their remaining three games to complete a full season without a league loss. No doubt the Thai press will make comparisons to the Arsenal's Invincibles of 2004 should it be achieved.
Meanwhile, second placed Chonburi earned a routine 2-0 win over TOT while BEC Tero moved into third above Buriram United who lost at Osotspa. That was their seventh loss of the season and the fans at the I-Mobile must be scratching their heads at how meekly their title defence has wilted.

Daniel Cortes swept home shortly after the interval as Police United's fine form continued with a 1-0 victory over Thai Port. The victory almost guarantees Police United's status as a TPL club for 2013. Thai Port on the other hand are level on 33 points with Chainat which currently suits the Hornbills as they have a superior head to head record over Port. Pattaya's 0-0 against BG draw moved them onto 37 points which eeks them that bit closer to safety.
BBCU's point against Army kept their survival hopes hanging on by the thinnest of threads but the vultures are already circling and ready to scavenge on their TPL remains.
As for TTM, their 1-0 home loss to Samut Songkram means they have officially finished bottom of the pile.

Division 1
Sriracha 5-1 Phatthalung
Songkhla 1-0 PTT Rayong
Bangkok Utd 2-1 FC Phuket
Korat 5-0 Chantaburi
JW Rangsit 0-3 Krabi
Raj Pracha 0-3 Siam Navy
Bangkok FC 3-3 Saraburi
Suphanburi 2-1 Air Force Utd
Khon Kaen 1-0 Ratchaburi

Even though Ratchaburi lost 1-0 at Khon Kaen, they sneaked in through the back door to the TPL as promotion was confirmed. As Sriracha and Suphanburi meet on the final day, the various permutations ensure Ratchaburi will go up. Bangkok United look set to join the Dragons as they just need one win from their last two games after they came from behind to beat FC Phuket 2-1.

At the bottom, we finally said goodbye to JW Rangsit and Raj Pracha as the pair both suffered 3-0 home defeats. Whether or not we will see either of these two again at this level remains to be seen. JW Rangsit are fairly new on the scene, but Raj Pracha have been part of the institution of Thai football for many years.
It's still two from five who will join them in the regional leagues. FC Phuket and Phatthalung both have 34 points while Songkhla, Khon Kaen and Bangkok FC all have 36.

Division 2 Playoffs
(Group A)
Roi Et Utd 0-1 Ayutthaya
Rayong Utd 1-0 Phitsanoluk
Paknampo NSRU 1-1 Pattani

It was another low scoring tight round of fixtures. 1-0 wins for Ayutthaya and Rayong United moved them onto four points while NSRU's home point against Pattani left them on the same total. All three sides have scored two goals and conceded one.

(Group B)
Thai Honda 0-3 Trat
Trang 0-1 Rayong FC
Chiang Mai FC 0-1 Sisaket Utd.

Trat and Rayong have raced to the summit of the group after they both recorded opening back to back wins. A large travelling support watched Trat make their second consecutive 3-0 victory in the playoffs at Thai Honda. Rayong FC didn't have it as comfortable as their Central/East compatriots edging out Trang 1-0.
Last week, there were three home wins in Group B and that was mirrored in Round 2 as Sisaket Utd completed a hat-trick of away wins. Chiang Mai had a penalty saved and hit the post before Sisaket Utd scored the only goal of the game on the stroke of half time. The Lanna Tigers are pointless after two matches while Sisaket are three points behind Trat and Rayong FC.


Wuachon United 1-1 Esan United


Tinsulanon

While the SCG Stadium was rocking to Muangthong United winning the TPL, I was watching Wuachon United and Esan United sharing an end of season 1-1 draw at the Tinsulanon Stadium. 

It was Esan United who opened the scoring in the 14th minute when the lively Yai Nilwong broke quickly linking up with Mark Burchill before the return pass from the Scot set him up to shoot into the roof of the net at the back post.

Busy man
Minutes later, Ulrich Munze sloppily fluffed a goal kick into the path off Kriangkrai who couldn’t take advantage pulling his shot wide. However, the exThai Port keeper kept his side in control of the contest twice before half time with two fingertip saves, from the same man Kriangkrai.

The away side should have extended their lead shortly after the interval when Yai slipped a precise pass onto Kim Tae Young, but the Korean shot into the keeper’s legs.

Munze once again made a spectacular save on the hour to prevent Jules Baga from scoring, but he could do nothing eight minutes later as Kriangkhai bulleted a header past him from a corner.

The game then slowly fizzled out as it finished 1-1. Wuachon shaded possession and chances, but I’d say a point a piece was a fair outcome. 

The big question now is what will become of both sides next season. It’s highly doubtful Wuachon United will remain as they are with rumours abound that Songkhla FC will be disbanded and a new hybrid called Songkhla United will emerge. 

When Esan United scored tonight, you could hear a pin drop inside the stadium. Granted it’s a long journey for fans to travel but at least Sisaket fans of last year would have made their presence felt. I honestly don’t think there was one Esan United fan at this game. It wouldn’t surprise me if they evolve into something new next season.