Sunday, December 8, 2013

Div 2 Playoffs - The Final Standings

Group A

Luk Esan 1-0 Kasetsart
Phitsanulok 1-0 Prachuap
Roi Et Utd 3-1 Nara Utd

Final Standings:
25 Roi Et Utd
19 Phitsanulok
12 Kasetsart
12 Nara Utd
9 Luk Esan
5 Prachuap

Roi Et Utd and Phitsanulok finished just as they started with respective victories over Nara Utd and Prachuap. Diego Alves scored twice for the White Squirrels in their 3-1 victory over Nara Utd. In between his goals Ronnachai added a second for Roi Et while Francis Dumaka scored Nara's goal from a penalty kick.
A free kick from Gil Neves on the stroke of half time separated Phitsanulok and Prachuap while Luk Esan also only needed one goal to defeat Kasetsart.

Group B

Ang Thong 2-0 Paknampho NSRU
Chiang Mai 2-1 Nakhon Nayok
Udon Thani 0-1 Sukhothai

Final Standings:
20 Chiang Mai
17 Ang Thong
16 Sukhothai
9 Udon Thani
7 Nakhon Nayok

The promotion showdown between Ang Thong and Paknampho NSRU ended in farcical circumstances. Ang Thong were awarded a 2-0 win after NSRU failed to return to the pitch after walking off in the 42nd minute. The Nakhon Sawan side were outraged when the referee awarded a penalty against them and then subsequently reduced them to ten players in the melee that followed. In NSRU's defence, it was a blatant dive for the spot kick and they did have a debatable offside ruling against them which prevented them taking a 1-0 lead. However, I can't defend them for throwing the towel in even if they thought the referee had been bought. In the football culture in which I grew up, you give it your best shot and fight to the end even if everything seems to be going against you. At least then you can walk away with your head held high. What Paknampho NSRU did was take the coward's way out. Not only did they let the players and fans down, they also did Sukhothai an injustice as they could have earned promotion had this game ended in a tie.

Anyway, Sukhothai's 1-0 win at Udon Thani wouldn't have been enough but I'm guessing news filtered through to them during the game about the shenanigans at Ang Thong. Sukhothai's winning goal came courtesy of a free kick from club captain Junsom.
Chiang Mai wrapped up the group title with a 2-1 victory over Nakhon Nayok. Chatchai was yet again on the scoresheet with a goal in each half for the Lanna Tigers. The visitors grabbed a late goal but it was a mere consolation.

To conclude the formalities, Chiang Mai will face Roi Et Utd over two legs to decide who wins the Champions league. The real issue of promotion has already been achieved but the two deciders give narcissistic, hi-so individuals connected with each club an opportunity to plaster their faces all over the relevant media landscape.

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