Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Div 2 BKK Opening Weekend Preview 17-19 February

Division 2 BKK
Bangkok Christian v Globex FC
Central FC v RBAC FC
Customs v Kasem Bundit
Samut Sakhon FC v Samut Prakarn United
Prachinburi FC v Assumption Thonburi
Chamchuree United v Luk Issan Thai Airways
Kasetsart v Nontaburi FC
Krung Thonburi v Thai Honda
Rangsit FC v North Bangkok FC

The expanded 18 team Bangkok Division 2 kicks off this weekend. There are seven new teams joining the league this year and predicting a winner from this region is nigh on impossible as most teams will have totally revamped their squads during the close season.
The three relegated sides from Division 1 last term, Customs, RBAC and Thai Honda, will all be looking to bounce back at the first attempt.
The feisty Samut Sakhon have moved over from the Central & East region. The Proud Junk Ship (Oh yes!!) finished third in their league last season and will be hoping that the Bangkok region is an easier route to the Division 2 play-offs.
With last season's top three of Kasetsart, North Bangkok and Samut Prakarn United still looking strong, it indicates that there is plenty of strength in depth in this league.
Other teams like Nontaburi, Chamchuree, Bangkok Christian and Prachinburi can't be written off either, but they'll need to show more consistency after mid-tables finishes in 2011. 
Also joining the league are Central FC, Krung Thonburi and Rangsit FC. I can't see Central FC or Krung Thonburi challenging for promotion although Bangkok Glass's feeder club, Rangsit FC, might fancy their chances of hitting the top half.
Teams departing the league are NSRU, Raj Vithi, Thanyaburi Asia United, Maptaphut Rayong and Thai Fleet. Raj Vithi have decided to take a year out, NSRU have moved to the Northern region, while the undistinguished trio of Maptaphut, Thanyaburi and Thai Fleet have all shifted to a weakened looking Central & East league.
The opening fixture on Friday evening pits Bangkok Christian against Globex. The pick of the games on Saturday sees the reformed Central FC hosting an RBAC side who will be backed by BEC Tero Sasana this year. On Sunday the highlight will be a local derby for the recent Khor Royal Cup winners, Rangsit FC, as North Bangkok make the walkable trip along the Rangsit-Nakhon Nayok Road to the Leo Stadium.

ACL Playoff
Pohang Steelers v Chonburi (Sat)

Chonburi travel to South Korea to face Pohang Steelers in a one off qualifier for the Asian Champions league. The Korean side finished 2nd in the K-League last season which suggests it will be a difficult match for Chonburi at the Pohang Steelyard.

Toyota Cup Final
Buriram United v Vegalta Sendai (Sat)

This first official game for Buriram United against Japanese side Vegalta Sendai at the Supachalasai is basically just a friendly, but it will be taken far more seriously than it should be as there is a trophy awarded at the end. Expect to see plenty of snapshots taken before, during and after the game for various glossy media sites.

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