Thursday, February 2, 2012

Toyota League Cup Final - Thai Port v Buriram PEA (Preview)

It's take two for the 2011 Toyota League Cup Final as the first scheduled match was postponed back in October due to the critical flooding situation north of the capital. It will be a rerun of last season's final as the holders, Thai Port, take on this season's league and FA Cup double winners, Buriram PEA. Last season, Port caused a minor upset when they beat PEA 2-1. This time around it would be seen as a major upset if Buriram failed to complete the domestic treble and Thai Port reclaimed the cup.

Buriram have had a fantastic season lifting the TPL trophy with ease (not literally) and overcoming bitter rivals Muangthong United in the FA Cup final. The squad has been blended together by coach Attapol with experienced Thai pros and skillful youngsters mostly from Africa. The two African lads at the back, Ekwalla Herman and Florent Obama have built a solid partnership while the tricky Frank Acheampong and the 2012 TPL leading scorer, Franck Ohandza, have grabbed all the headlines upfront.

Over in Khlong Toei it's been a season of turmoil despite the fact that Thai Port finished in a very creditable 7th place in the TPL. The boardroom troubles have been well documented and it's common knowledge in Thai football that the playing staff haven't been paid for months.
On the field Port have struggled for goals all season without any natural goalscorer in their squad and a blow was dealt midway through the season when coach Sasom and 4 Thai first team regulars departed for Buriram FC. More woes have hit the club in the last few weeks as the improving Mongkol and Todsapol have been snapped up by Muangthong, while foreigners Munze, Moise, Jacob and Kim Dong Chan have all been let go. Rumour has it that all the released players should be available to play in the final. We won't know for sure until the teams lineup for the final on Saturday evening.

The winners of the Toyota League Cup will pocket 5M Baht and will soon be back in action to meet Japanese clubside Vegalta Sendai in the Toyota Cup on 18th February.

EDIT: Thai Port players have seemingly received their back dated pay this morning. That will be a welcome boost for players' morale.

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