Monday, October 31, 2011

Weekend Review 29-30 October

Division 2 Champions League
(Group A)
Kasetsart 1-1 Ratchaburi
Pattalung 3-1 Loei City
Phichit 2-1 Phitsanoluk

(Group B)
North Bangkok 0-1 Rayong
Roi Et 3-2 Lamphun
Korat 0-1 Krabi

The two Bangkok teams of Kasetsart and North Bangkok, have mirrored each other with disappointing openings to their Division 2 Champions League crusades. Both sides currently prop up their groups with only one point a piece. They have only found the net once and have conceded three goals in the process. Unless the pair of them drastically improve form, they'll be locking horns once again in the 2012 Bangkok 2nd Division. 

On the flip side of the coin, the southern representatives of Pattalung and Krabi, both top their respective groups. Pattalung made it three wins out of three as the beat Loei 3-1 while Krabi moved to the summit of Group B by inflicting Korat's first home league loss of the season with a 1-0 victory.

The Central and East duo of Ratchaburi and Rayong can also be pleased with their starts. Ratchburi sit in second place in Group A after their 1-1 draw with Kasetsart at the Supachlasai Stadium. Rayong have yet to concede a goal and they moved into third place in Group B with a narrow 1-0 victory over North Bangkok at the Chulalongkorn Stadium.

Many predicted the champions of the north, Phitsanoluk, and the northeastern top dogs, Roi Et, would be challenging for promotion. So far they have only three points each after three games. Phitsanoluk's latest disappointment was a 2-1 loss at pointless Phichit. Roi Et came from behind to earn their first three points with a 3-2 victory over Lamphun Warriors. Out of the two sides, the White Squirrels look more likely candidates to make up ground on the top 2 in their group.

The floods from the northern Bangkok spill finally hit the Kasetsart University campus over the weekend. If things weren't already bad enough for the Nagas on the football front, they've been hit with another blow as they'll almost certainly be unable to return to their home stadium for the rest of the campaign.

*Results, fixtures and latest standings of both groups can be found by clicking the link at the top righthandside of the blog under "League Tables."
The blogger would like to thank "" for providing the information.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Kasetsart 1-1 Ratchaburi

Kasetsart kept their slim hopes of promotion to Division 1 alive after they equalised late on to cancel out a controversial goal from Ratchaburi.

Leandro and Alves
They game was switched at the last minute from the Thephasadin to the Supachalasi as there were supposed to be many evacuees from the Thai floods being granted free admission to the game, and the larger stadium was the preferred venue. I didn't see many evacuees, but the match was noteworthy for the attendance of several TPL foreign players.

For 70 minutes today, this game was sailing along inconspicuously towards a goalless stalemate.

That changed with 20 minutes remaining when David Bayiha opened the scoring. As Kasetsart broke from defence, Bayiha lay pole-axed just outside the Bangkok side's box. The attack broke down and as Ratchaburi attacked, the striker still lay motionless in the box. Once the attack reached the penalty box, the injured player, just like the Eddie Murphy character in Trading Places, could miraculously walk again, and he rose to smash Hassan's cut back into the net.
Time for a walk off

Kasetsart's coach, Phanipol, knew his sides promotion hopes were evaporating and in desperation, he tried to pull his team off the pitch. The game was delayed for about 6 minutes until the beleaguered coach allowed his players to restart the game.

In my opinion, the referee was correct to award the goal as under the letter of the law, Bayiha wasn't interfering with play when Ratchaburi attacked, and by the time he got to his feet, he was onside. However under the rules of fair play, his actions were disgraceful!! He should have been ashamed of himself, but he seemed to celebrate his goal without any hint of remorse. On the other hand, Kasetsart should just have got on with the game rather than try to stage a walk off. It's pointless and childish!!

Super save
On 86 minutes, or 80 if you don't count the delay, Kasetsart equalised when the unmarked Supramit netted from the back post after a ball from the right hadn't been cleared by Ratchaburi.

The action wasn't over as both keepers had to produce acrobatic saves to keep the game at 1-1 in the dying minutes.

Overall 1-1 was a fair result. Kasetsat have 7 games left and probably need 6 wins if they wish to secure promotion. It's looks doubtful as they seem to lack striking options upfront. Ratchaburi on the other hand, have decent strikers and I reckon they'll be good enough to finish in the top 2.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Weekend Preview - Saturday 29th October

This weekend has all the hallmarks of a bleak winter's Saturday back in the UK. Back in the days before Sky Sports, just about every game kicked off at 3pm on a Saturday, and the highlight of the afternoon was watching the videprinter on Grandstand at 4.45pm. But on those Saturdays when 90% of the games were called off due to snow and frost, there would be no vidiprinter and you'd have to wait for the pools panel verdict for some amusement. The funny thing was when your team was awarded a win by the panel, you'd cheer. However when giving a loss, abuse was hurled at the direction of the TV.....or was that just me???

Anyway back in modern day Thailand, with the flooding situation here, only 4 games have survived this weekend. Granted many of the fixtures were already cancelled for the SEA Games.

The last surviving TPL game between Sisaket and Chonburi was given its rain check today. Pool panel verdict: Score draw

Division 2 Champions League
(Group A)
Kasesart v Ratchaburi

(Group B)
North Bangkok v Rayong
Roi Et v Lamphun
Korat v Krabi

The only game taking place in Group A is Kasetsart v Ratchaburi. The other two games between Pattalung  v Loei City and Phichit v Phitsanoluk have been postponed. Kasetsart will face Ratchaburi at the Thephasadin Stadium on Saturday as their home ground at their university campus is about to be submerged with flood water. Another loss for the Nagas would surely see their Division 1 ambitions sunk too. This will be Ratchaburi's first away game in Group A.

In Group B, the big game takes place between the top 2 sides of Korat and Krabi. A win for Korat could see them potentially move 5 points clear at the top of the group. Similar to Kasetsart, North Bangkok will also be using another venue to host their match with Rayong FC. The Chulalongkorn University Stadium will be the fourth different home stadium used by North Bangkok this season. Rayong have drawn their first two games and it wouldn't surprise me if they complete a trio of draws after this one. The Lamphun Warriors have hardly set their home arena alight as they have whimpered to two goalless draws. They'll travel to the Roi Et coliseum to battle a team that has put every opponent to the sword this season. (Sorry "Nakhon Ratchasima FC", you can have the credit for the 3 points, but not the victory, lol!!)
Midweek FA Cup Results

Army 2-1 Chonburi

Muangthong 1-1 Bangkok Glass (MTU won 5-4 on pens)
Muangthong will travel to Pattaya for their last 16 tie.

Police Utd v Buriram PEA (Walkover to PEA as Police Utd failed to turn up)
It's a long story. Can't be arsed going into it!!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Army United 2-1 Chonburi

Army United booked their place in the last 8 of the Thai FA Cup as they knocked out current holders Chonburi 2-1.

The Bangkok side produced one of their best performances since the early days of the season to beat a sluggish looking Chonburi side.

Army United had the better of the first half, but they failed to pierce the Shark's rearguard early on as their final ball from midfield lacked quality and they kept getting caught offside.

On 33 minutes, Army's attacking persistence paid off when Leandro impishly got between the two Chonburi central defenders and managed to squeeze a shot under Sintaweechai's body. The current Thai number one will be disappointed that he didn't keep out the Brazilians effort.

After the break, Chonburi made a couple of changes and their game improved. The Sharks had a couple of half chances, but the Army seemed to be whittling the clock down with the aid of constant treatment for injured players.

Just as the Blue Blood had almost given up hope, Pipob popped up with one of his customary headers to level matters with 5 minutes left on the clock.

The relief of the travelling support only lasted a couple minutes as second half substitute, Kraisorn, broke free of the Chonburi defence and coolly slotted the ball into the net for the winner.

With virtually the last kick of the game,  Leandro received his second yellow card for petulantly blocking a Chonburi free-kick in their own half from 2 yards. That dismissal may come back to haunt the Home of Gentlemen in the next round.

Despite their antics, Army United deserved the win and they'll be hoping that they can carry this form over to the league performances.

As for Chonburi, their four pronged attack on the TPL, TLC, AFC Cup an FA Cup has unfortunately disappeared. It's now time to rebuild and focus on the 2012 season.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Weekend Review 22/23 October

Pattaya 1-0 Sisaket
Bangkok Glass 1-2 Samut Songkhram 
Thai Port 3-2 Navy
TOT 0-4 Buriram PEA
Chiang Rai Utd 4-3 Chonburi

TOT remain one place above the relegation zone. Their last two home games in the past three days have seen them concede four goals in each match. It was a five star performance from Buriram PEA, and TOT have now lost six home games this season.
Thai Port ended their goal drought of almost 500 minutes with a 3-2 victory over Siam Navy. The victory was noticeable for the non-attendance of head coach, Thongchai Sukkokee. The Klong Toei side still haven't scored a home TPL goal under his tenureship.
Bangkok Glass's temporary stay at the Thephasadin Stadium was an unsuccessful one as lost 2-1 to Samut Songkhram. 

Division 1
RBAC 1-0 Songkla
PTT Rayong 0-1 JW Rangsit
BBCU 1-0 Chiang Mai
Buriram FC 5-1 Chantaburi
Suphanburi 2-1 Thai Honda
Customs 2-3 Chainat

The top 3 of Buriram, Chainat and BBCU all strengthened their positions with victories at the weekend. Closest challengers Songkla and PTT Rayong both lost. Incidentally, Buriram FC need only 6 points to book their place in the TPL next season. 
JW Rangsit bought themselves some daylight from the relegation zone with their second consecutive win. A late winner kept RBAC's survival hopes alive too. Bottom placed, Thai Honda, lost again as it appears time is running out for the Speed Kings.

Div 2 Champs League
(Group A) 
Loei 1-0 Kasetsart
Ratchaburi 2-0 Phitsanoluk
Pattalung 2-0 Phichit

(Group B)
Krabi 1-0 Roi Et
Lamphun 0-0 Rayong
Korat 2-1 Nth Bangkok

A second successive 1-0 defeat for Kasetsart, leaves them an uphill task to win promotion to Division 1. Ratchaburi and Pattalung cemented their positions at the top of the group with 2-0 victories.

North Bangkok lost 2-1 at Korat. The damage was done in the first half as The Horseman let Korat get their noses in front by conceding two goals. North Bangkok did rally in the second half, but couldn't repair the damage as they lost 2-1.  Lamphun and Rayong was a stalemate. Both sides have drawn their first two games 0-0. Krabi moved into second place with a 1-0 victory over Roi Et whom are surprisingly rooted to the bottom of the group at this stage. 

FA Cup Fixtures
Army Utd v Chonburi (Last 16)
Muangthong v Bangkok Glass (Last 32)

The last time both of these fixtures were played, they produced a grand total of 15 goals. Chonburi edged out Army Utd 4-3 in June while Muangthong destroyed Bangkok Glass 6-2 when they last met back in August. Both ties take place on Wednesday.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Thai Port 3-2 Siam Navy

Thai Port beat Siam Navy 3-2 in an entertaining game that in all honesty wasn't one for the football purists. The 90 minutes were noticeable for the absence of Thai Port coach, Thongchai Sukkokee. Apparently he was "mai sabai" although I'm sure that wasn't the real reason for the bearded one's non attendance.

Within a couple of minutes, Navy could have been ahead, but Barbosa's effort hit the base of the post.

On 8 minutes, Thai Port ended their goal drought of almost 500 minutes when Ekkapoom squeezed a shot through the Navy keeper's legs from a narrow angle.

The much maligned, Kim Ba Wi, made an assist for Navy's equaliser. A clearance from Mario rebounded off the hapless Korean and Barbosa held him composure to even matters.

After the leveller, Navy were the better side. On 25 minutes Thai Port fortunately retook the lead. Ekkapoom's cross from the left was in my opinion deliberately punched by Jessada. Justice appeared to be done when his handball landed in his own net.

By the time the half time whistle had been blown, Thai Port were 2-1 up, but worryingly for Navy, they had used their 3 substitutes.

A few minutes after the break, Port were 3-1 up when Jacob found Ekkapoom, and he netted his second goal of the game.

The home side appeared to be holding out comfortably until Munze ran out from his line to collect a ball from a long hopeful punt. He must have thought he'd ran out of his box as he released the ball from his grasp too easily and his resultant blooper left Pisanil Zaa with the easy task off tapping the ball into the net.

The Klong Toei side held out for the victory despite surviving a couple of penalty claims. Ulrich Munze also redeemed himself by pulling off a couple of decent saves.

Thai Port are now 10 points above the drop zone. With only 8 games remaining, that should be just about enough to ensure TPL football for next season.

Siam Navy played some attractive stuff especially through their front pairing of Barbosa and Alex Ruela. However, defensively they look like they will leak goals.

Attendance: 1,800

Saturday, October 22, 2011

RBAC 1-0 Songkla

A goalkeeping error by Songkla 12 minutes from time proved costly as RBAC snatched 3 vital points in their bid to avoid Division 2 football next season.

Songkla must have been on a high coming into this game after their 4-1 demolition of TPL side, TOT, in the FA Cup during the week.

Two for the price of one
Today's game was a scrappy affair and there were far too many free kicks and stoppages for injuries for the game to flow. It also doesn't help that the Rattana Bundit University pitch is possibly the tightest in the league.

RBAC's goalie, Nuttapon, was twice called into action late in the first half to produce saves to prevent Songkla taking the lead. The first was one for the cameras as he tipped a header from, Wittawat, over the bar, and the second was one he had to dive for to knock a shot around the post from Manop.

Songkla's best effort in the second period came in 72 minutes when a cross from the left was headed inches past the post by, Siroj, with the RBAC keeper rooted to the spot.

With 12 minutes left, the home side were awarded a free kick 25 yards out. The shot from the dead ball was scuffed by Eric Noah, but the bounce in front of Adirek in the Songkla goal confused him and the ball went through the unfortunate keeper into the net. The Cameroon defender celebrated with a combination of fortuity and delight. You had to feel for the keeper as his body language was disconsolate for the rest of the match. He knew his error had lost his side a possible 3 points.

RBAC are now 2 points from safety. They'll know they didn't play particularly well today, but it's games like these that they have to win if they wish to avoid the drop.

Songkla received another blow as BBCU beat Chiang Mai 1-0 today. They are now 14 points behind Zico's side although they do still have 3 games in hand.

Attendance: 460
Final Score

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Weekend Preview 22-23 October

Pattaya v Sisaket (Sat)
Bangkok Glass v Samut Songkhram (Sat)
Thai Port v Navy (Sun)
TOT v Buriram PEA (Sun)
Chiang Rai Utd v Chonburi (Sun)
Osotspa P-P TTM Phichit

The league schedule is once again lacking its full compliment of fixtures. I can understand the postponements because of the flooding, but is it really necessary to cancel matches for the SEA games which begin next month? There is already a fixture backlog to contend with for most clubs.
Only 3 Bangkok teams are in action this weekend. TOT have the difficult task of stopping the Buriram PEA juggernaut. They'll need to significantly improve on last night's 4-1 humping by 1st division Songkla if they are going to take anything from this one.
It's now over 480 minutes since Thai Port last scored a goal. Their last goal came against 2nd division Pattalung in the Toyota League Cup. Navy had a terrible start to the season, but they've improved in the last few weeks. A victory for Navy would move them to within 4 points of the Port Lions.  Thai Port coach, Thongchai Sukkokee, may hedge his bets once again and set his stall out for another 0-0 draw.
According to various Thai football sites, Bangkok Glass will use the Thephasadin Stadium for their home game against Samut Songkhram this Saturday.

Division 1
RBAC v Songkla (Sat)
PTT Rayong v JW Rangsit (Sat)
BBCU v Chiang Mai (Sat)
Buriram FC v Chantaburi (Sat)
Suphanburi v Thai Honda (Sun)
Customs v Chainat (Sun)
Air Force v Saraburi (Sun)

Zico stated earlier this week that his stuttering BBCU side will still win promotion. The Pink Power have  recently suffered lackluster 0-0 draws at home to lowly RBAC and Thai Honda. Chiang Mai are another side firmly in the relegation battle and the northern side might be quietly confident of getting something out of this game.
BBCU will be keeping an eye on the game at RBAC as closest contenders to their third spot, Songkla, visit the capital for the second time in three days. Songkla are currently 11 points behind BBCU albeit with 3 games in hand.
Elsewhere on Saturday, JW Rangsit travel down the coast to meet PTT Rayong.
On Sunday, I'd be surprised if all three game at Suphanburi, Air Force and Customs are played. All three stadiums are in the flood zone so expect postponements.

Div 2 Champs League
(Group A) (Saturday)
Loei v Kasetsart
Ratchaburi v Phitsanoluk
Pattalung v Phichit

(Group B) (Sunday)
Krabi v Roi Et
Lamphun v Rayong
Korat v Nth Bangkok

Kasetsart have generally fared better away from home this season. The away game at Loei will be seen as a 3 pointer. After last weeks defeat to Pattalung, the Nagas need to get points on the board. Another defeat could leave Kasetsart with a mountain to climb. The big clash this weekend is between pregroup favourites Ratchaburi and Phitsanoluk. In the other game, Pattalung will fancy their chances of taking 3 points at home to Phichit.

North Bangkok would have been satisfied with their opening day point up at Lamphun last week. A similar outcome at Korat would be another pleasing return for the Horsemen. Roi Et make the long journey down to Krabi. It is still unclear whether or not they were penalised for having 6 foreigners on the field against Korat last time out. One things for sure, they won't make the same mistake again. Lamphun and Rayong both drew their first games. It wouldn't surprise me if this is another stalemate.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Thai Port 0-2 Bangkok Glass (AET)

Bangkok Glass earned a chance to avenge their 6-2 thumping at Muangthong United a few weeks ago as they defeated Thai Port 2-0 after extra time in the third round of the Thai FA Cup.

The home side started with a 4-4-2 rather than their usual defensive 4-5-1 and early on they forced chances. Ekkapoom burst through within minutes of the opening whistle, but hit a week finish, and a Todsapol header from a corner went inches over the bar midway through the half.

Thai Port played some attacking football initially but they lost momentum after 3 quick successive stoppages in play to treat the injured Worawut.

BG would have been disappointed with their first half showing although the upped their game after the break. They dominated territory even if they never really tested Thai Port's 3rd choice keeper Narong.

As the game was heading for extra time, the contest notably livened up. Jacob Aikhionbare could have scored a late winner when he was clear through but he preferred to fall in the box rather than shoot. The ball incidentally fell nicely for Sarawut yet he shot wide. In injury time, Sarayoot twice made Narong pull off saves.

The game went into extra time and within a couple of minutes BG broke the deadlock. A long corner from the right was headed back across the goal and Glass' captain, Amnaj, nodded in the knock back.

Thai Port never looked like getting back into the contest and the game was wrapped up near the end of the extra period when Sarayoot netted a rebound after Peter Lang's shot had rebounded off the bar.

From Thai Port's point of view the opening half hour was encouraging, but they seemed to lack ideas once their creative period had ended. The absence of options from the bench also didn't help matters.

As for Bangkok Glass, they'll be happy with the result despite playing a bit negative in the opening period. Overall they probably deserved to advance to the next round, but they'll know they have to play better if they want to beat Muangthong next week.

Attendance: I thought I heard 5,400 but I could be wrong

Monday, October 17, 2011

Weekend Review 15/16 October

Khon Kaen 2-0 Army
Chonburi 0-0 Police
Muangthong 4-1 Chiang Rai
Pattaya 0-0 BEC Tero
TOT 2-1 Navy

Robbie Fowler earned his first home win as Muangthong coach and also netted his first goal in MTU colours with a header in the opening period. The Qilins moved to within 6 points of Buriarm PEA as they cruised to a 4-1 over Chiang Rai United.
At the deserted IPE Stadium in Chonburi, Police United earned a decent point as the Sharks title bid appears to be a now distant memory. Bottom placed Khon Kaen achieved a rare victory with two second half goals to defeat Army United while TOT moved out of the relegation zone with a 2-1 home win over Siam Navy. In the other game, Pattaya drew 0-0 with BEC Tero.

Division 1
Bangkok Utd 3-2 PTT Rayong
RBAC 1-2 Chiang Mai
JW Rangsit 3-2 Bangkok FC
Air Force 0-1 Buriram FC
BBCU 0-0 Thai Honda
Phuket 1-0 Customs
Chainat 5-0 Chantaburi

RBAC's recent good run came to an end as they lost at home to Chiang Mai. JW Rangsit moved out of the relegation placings with a 3-2 over Bangkok FC. Paul Takem and Lee Tuck both netted braces, but it was the JW man who stole the plaudits with an injury time winner.
The curse of the Thai-Japanese Stadium has vanished as Bangkok United finally won a game in Din Daeng at the 24th time of asking. The 3-2 victory was coincidentally the their first match under their new coach.
Only 325 spectators could be bothered to turn up to watch BBCU draw 0-0 with bottom placed Thai Honda. On reading the previous sentence, the vast majority of neutral fans wouldn't shed a tear if BBCU failed to win promotion to the TPL. It wasn't long ago that the Division 1 title was a two horse race between BBCU and Buriram FC. The Lava's latest success was a 1-0 victory at Air Force. To make matters worse for BBCU, Chainat moved into second spot with a 5-0 demolition of Chantaburi.

Division 2 Champions League
(Group A)
Kasetsart 0-1 Pattalung
Ratchaburi 2-0 Phichit
Phitsanoluk 1-0 Loei City 

(Group B)
Roi Et 2-1 Korat
Rayong 0-0 Krabi
Lamphun 0-0 Nth Bangkok 

It was a disappointing opening for Kasetsart as they went down 1-0 at home to Pattalung. Reports indicate that Kaset had more shots and possession but lacked the spark in the final third. In the other two matches Ratchaburi and Phitsanoluk won as predicted, but they were both made to work for their victories by Phichit and Loei City respectively.
Rumours have surfaced today that Roi Et will penalised for breaching the 5 foreign players rule. It would be a shame for the White Squirrels after their impressive 2-1 win over Korat. However, Korat were docked 9 points earlier in the season for fielding an ineligible player, so if Roi Et have broken the rules, they deserved to be punished. The other 2 games ended in 0-0 stalemates.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Roi Et United 2-1 Nakhon Ratchasima FC

Roi Et United quickly stamped their mark on Division 2 Champions League Group B by edging to the top of the group with a 2-1 victory over Korat.

The scoreline suggests that it was a tight game, but in reality it was a far more comfortable victory for the White Squirrels.

The opening period was one way traffic and the biggest surprise of the half was that it took Roi Et until first half injury time to open the scoring.

Korat looked to have weathered the first half storm, but three minutes into stoppage time they fell behind when a low powerful shot from Teerapong found it's way into the bottom corner.

The Swatcats improved after the break and forced a couple of chances. Just as Korat were beginning to get a foothold in the game, they were hit with a sucker punch midway through the second half. A free kick from the right wasn't dealt with properly by Korat's keeper, Prasit, and the rebound was knocked in by Kennedy Ihenacho. There may have been a foul on the keeper in the build up to goal but Roi Et weren't caring as the tie appeared to have been put to bed.

It was heading that way until Korat were awarded a penalty deep into injury time. Prompong sent the keeper the wrong way, but unfortunately for the Swatcats it was only to be a consolation as the referee blew the whistle seconds after the restart.

The other results in the group were both scoreless draws between Lamphun v North Bangkok and Rayong v Krabi. Roi Et already top the group and I predict that's were they'll be in the final standings after match day 10.

Korat took a bit of a battering in the first half yet they showed enough fighting spirit in the second half to give their supporters encouragement for the remaining 9 games.

EDIT: Korat lodged a complaint as Roi Et had six foreigners on the pitch instead of the permitted five from the 77th - 88th minute.
The judgement was made on Thursday 20th October. Roi Et's 2-1 win was reversed and Korat were awarded a 2-0 win. No punishment was administered to the match officials.
In my opinion Roi Et deserve to be punished for their incompetence. The rules are simple and surely a member of the coaching staff should have identified that there were 6 foreigners on the field.
However, I don’t agree with the decision to award Korat 3 points and a 2-0 victory. The infringement of the rules didn’t affect the outcome as Roi Et were 2-0 up and comfortably in control by the 77th minute. I would let the result stand as a 2-1 win to Roi Et, but then deduct 6 points from the White Squirrels.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Khon Kaen 2-0 Army United

Fon tok eek leaw
The monsoon theme of the last few weeks in Thailand continued as Army Utd lost 2-0 at Khon Kaen.

Army Utd must be wondering how they lost this match as they had more possession and chances than their hosts did.

 New Lights
Just prior to the kick off, the torrential rain started right on cue under the recently upgraded Khon Kaen floodlights. The new lights were sparkling, but the same couldn't be said of the home side. Army had the best of the first half and went close early on but were denied by a double save from Khon Kaen's keeper, Piyawat. The keeper had an impressive game although he could do nothing as a long range shot from Weerapong hit the bar shortly before the break.

The T-Rex improved after the interval and took the lead on 51 minutes through their captain, Rermrat. A corner from the right was only half cleared, and Rermrat's shot from outside the box squirmed under Kamphol's body in the Army goal.

After that, Khon Kaen set up their stall to hold on to their lead and break on the counter attack.

The T-Rex looked to be holding out relatively comfortably until the 85th minute when the game sparked back into life. Piyawat first pulled off a point blank save from Leandro, and then from the resulting corner, Tony Pinho hit the bar with a header.

As time ran out, Army Utd became increasing frustrated. As usual when Army Utd are losing, toys get thrown out of the pram, and Rafael was sent of in injury time for a second yellow card. I'm not sure why the Brazilian was dismissed. It was hard to see what was happening as several disgruntled Army players were confronting the referee after a decision didn't go their way.

To rub salts into the wounds of the Gentlemen Rangers, Sakonwat scored with a free kick deep into injury time to make it 2-0 to the T-Rex.

Attendance: 2,004

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Weekend Preview 15/16 October

Khon Kaen v Army (Sat)
Chonburi v Police (Sat)
Muangthong v Chiang Rai (Sun)
Pattaya v BEC Tero (Sun)
TOT v Navy (Sun)
Bangkok Glass P-P Sisaket
Osotspa P-P Samut Songkhram

TOT v Navy will probably have the least spectators in the TPL on Sunday, but it is the most important game as far as the relegation battle goes. Navy had a good result against Sisaket last time out, and TOT will need to improve on their last 2 performances if they are going to win this one.
Elsewhere on Sunday, Muangthong's first home game under coach, Robbie Fowler, is against Chiang Rai and Tero travel to meet in form Pattaya.
On Saturday, Army make the long trip up to Khon Kaen. Army cruised to a comfortable 4-1 when they met at the Army stadium earlier in the season. Police United will play in front of virtually no spectators at the IPE Stadium in Chonburi. All of the Sharks fans have been banned due to actions of a few knobheads recently at the Toyota Cup tie against Buriram PEA. Bangkok Glass will have the weekend off due to the floods in the Pathumthani area.

Division 1
Bangkok Utd v PTT Rayong (Sat)
RBAC v Chiang Mai (Sat)
JW Rangsit v Bangkok FC (Sat)
Air Force v Buriram FC (Sun)
BBCU v Thai Honda (Sun)
Phuket v Customs (Sun)
Chainat v Chantaburi (Sun)
Raj Pracha v Songkla (Sun)
Suphanburi P-P Saraburi

It's relegation Saturday as RBAC play Chiang Mai and JW Rangsit host Bangkok FC. Rattana Bundit are on a good run and will feel confident of beating Chiang Mai. JW Rangsit and Bangkok FC could go either way.
Air Force will entertain Buriram FC for the second time this season. In the FA Cup, the Lava won easily 2-0. Second placed BBCU should be looking for 3 points from Thai Honda and Raj Pracha will move into 4th place if they beat Songkla.

Division 2 Champions League
(Group A)
Kasetsart v Pattalung
Ratchaburi v Phichit
Phitsanoluk v Loei City (All Sat)

(Group B)
Roi Et v Korat
Rayong v Krabi
Lamphun v Nth Bangkok (All Sun)

The Division 2 Champions League kicks off this weekend. In group A, the 3 pre-group favorites all have home matches. Ratchaburi and Phitsanoluk will be confident of starting their campaigns with 3 points. Kasetsart have a tough game against Pattalung and a draw might not be a bad result for the Emerald Nagas.
Group B starts with a north-east derby between Roi Et and Korat. The White Squirrels took the plaudits in the league fixture with a 3-1 win last month. North Bangkok have a difficult task to silence a predicted packed stadium in Lamphun. The other game is Rayong v Krabi. Rayong just missed out at the final hurdle last season and will be desperate to make amends this time around.

Toyota League Cup Final
Buriram PEA P-P Thai Port

There is still no confirmed date for the rescheduled final although rumours point towards a January showdown. Hopefully by then, the rain and floods will be long gone.

I'm sure there will be more postponements before the weekend action commences. Keep your eye on the Thai league football twitter feed for updated information.

I'm off to Khon Kaen and Roi Et this weekend provided the roads are flood free.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Thailand 0-0 Saudi Arabia

The Thais kept their World Cup qualifying dreams alive with a rugged 0-0 draw against Saudi Arabia. There weren't many chances in the game and a point a piece was a fair result.

Pattaya's Niweat was well positioned in the first half to clear a goal bound shot off the line. In the second, the Saudis had a goal disallowed, but judging by the players' reactions it appeared to be the correct decision.

Thailand never really forced the Saudi keeper to make a save, and most of the home sides attacking threats fizzled out in the final third due to lack off options.

On a positive note Thailand fought well and the central defensive partnership of Niweat and Cholratit held strong against their stronger opponents.

Frank Rijaard's team seemed happy with the point and they will feel confident of beating Thailand when they meet on 11th November in Riyadh. For Thailand, they need to go there and get a point. A loss wouldn't be a disaster, but it would leave Thailand possibly needing a minimum of 4 points from Australia at home and Oman away to qualify.

In the other game in Group D tonight, Australia defeated Oman 3-0. That leaves Australia with 9 points, Thailand 4, Saudi Arabia 2 and Oman 1.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

SCG Samut Songkhram 1-1 Sriracha

The Main Stand
It was honours even in the relegation encounter between Samut Songkhram and Sriracha as they cancelled each other out in a 1-1 draw.

Usually I only report on Bangkok teams, but as there was no football in the capital this weekend, I decided to make the relatively short trip to Samut Songkhram.

Within 6 minutes, Samut Songkhram were ahead through ex Heart of Midlothian striker, Chistian Nade. A low corner from the right was swept in by Nade as he netted his first goal in SCG colours.

His strike partner, Bireme Diuof was lively early on, and he nearly doubled the home side's lead as his shot crashed down of the crossbar onto the line.

If Diouf's strike had gone in it could have been a different game. However, on 25 minutes, Sriracha were level when a spot kick was awarded for a foul on Dudu. From the angle where I saw the foul, it looked soft, but Christiano Lopes wasn't complaining as he stroked the penalty home.

TPL Standard?
That was it as far as the scoring went. The second half didn't produce many chances. Samut Songkhram had possibly more of the play, although Sriracha rallied late in search of 3 points.

1-1 was a fair reflection on the game. After the final whistle about 50 Samut Songkram fans stood outside the players entrance to vent their anger at the referee. I'm not sure what the man in the middle did to antagonise the home faithful, but chants of "gamagan hia" pretty much summed up that they weren't pleased with his officiating.

On current form, I'd be very surprised if both of these teams are in the TPL next season. Both have decent defences which might be enough for one of them to survive the drop. Samut Songkhram only have 3 home games left out of their remaining 9 fixtures, while Sriracha still have to face "the big 3" in their last 9.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Thailand 0-0 Jordan

Thailand and Jordon fought out a tepid 0-0 draw in front of a sparse crowd at the Rajamangala as they prepared for World Cup qualifiers next Tuesday.

Both sides decided to rest star players and it showed as the friendly match lacked vigor and urgency at times.

Thailand had most of the play and the majority of their chances fell to Apipoo, The Osotspa man hit the post in the first half and had two good chances to open the scoring early in the second.

It was a quiet night for both Thai keepers as Sintaweechai in the first half and Kawin after the interval barely warmed their gloves.

Regardless of the game being largely uneventful, there were a lot of positives for Winnie to take out of this friendly. The back 4 were solid and the midfield infront protected them effectively.  Apipoo could have finished better, but it was pleasing that he surged forward from midfield into goal scoring situations. First half substitute, Piyapol, brought plenty of energy to the midfield, and it was a promising first cameo for Jamjuree's Sarawut. He looked pacy and skillful despite his slight frame.

On the other side of the coin, there were a couple of negatives in my opinion. If Winnie wants to play a 4-5-1 formation, he needs Teerasil to plough the lone striker role. Sarayoot needs someone to play off him when he's upfront. Chatree wouldn't be in my Bangkok Glass first XI and he seems a bit out of his depth at international level. Rangsan gets involved, but too many of his passes go astray. If Datsakorn is fit, I'd play him ahead of Rangsan.

Thailand will entertain Saudi Arabia and Jordan will travel Singapore next Tuesday in World Cup qualifiers.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Weekend Preview 6 - 11 October

International Friendly
Thailand v Jordan (Thurs)

Thailand take on Jordan in a friendly warm-up match as preparation for Saudi Arabia next Tuesday.  The expected line-up according to Siamsport is: Sivaruck, Suree, Nataporn, Niweat, Teeratorn, Suchao, Surat, Rangsan, Piyaphol, Sarayoot and Chatree.

World Cup Qualification Round 3 - Group D
Thailand v Saudi Arabia (Tues)
Australia v Oman (Tues)

Frank Rikjaard brings his Saudi team to the Rajamangala Stadium next Tuesday. The Saudis have only collected 1 point from their first 2 games, and will need at least a draw if the wish to maintain their qualifying hopes for Brazil 2014.  Thailand will go into this one feeling confident after their impressive 3-0 win over Oman last month. A win for Thailand would leave them in a great position to progress to the next round. On the same day, Australia host Oman. The Thais will be hoping that this one goes to plan and the Socceroos collect 3 points.

Siam Navy v Sisaket (Sat)
Samut Songkhram v Sriracha (Sun)

Two TPL games have been rearranged for this weekend. No Bangkok sides feature, but I'm sure TOT, Thai Port and Army Utd will be keeping a close eye on both matches as it will affect the relegation positions.
For me the international weekend, is always rather boring. It's made even worse now with the insistence of playing matches on Friday and Tuesday. As I've got free time this weekend, I'm considering making the 90 km journey to take in Samut Songkhram v Sriracha.

Division 1 - Current League Form Table

This is the current league form table for the second leg of the season. No surprise to see Chainat and Buriram in the top 2 positions. Had the season begun in July, Customs, Suphanburi and amazingly RBAC would all be challenging for promotion. Suphanburi's decision to replace Rene as coach is even more baffling when you look at the form guide. Slightly worryingly for Bangkok sides, is that all 4 relegation places are currently filled by sides from the capital. Bangkok United have been in free fall since the second half of the season commenced.

1. Chainat (9) 21
2. Buriram (8) 16
3. Phuket (8) 15
4. Raj Pracha (8) 15
5. Customs (8) 13
6. Suphanburi (8) 13
7. RBAC (8) 12
8. PTT Rayong (8) 11
9. Air Force (7) 10
10. BBCU (9) 10
11. Chantaburi (7) 10
12. Songkla (7) 9
13. Chaing Mai (9) 9
14. Saraburi (7) 8
15. Thai Honda (8) 8
16. Bangkok FC (8) 6
17. JW Rangsit (8) 5
18. Bangkok Utd (9) 4

Below is the predicted final league placings based on current form. I used the same calculations that I used for the TPL. 
1. Buriram 76
2. Chainat 70
3. BBCU 61
4. Raj Pracha 59
5. Phuket 56
6. Songkla 54
7. PTT Rayong 53
8. Air Force 45
9. Suphanburi 45
10. Saraburi 44
11. Bkk Utd 42
12. Customs 40
13. Chantaburi 39
14. RBAC 34
15. Bangkok FC 32
16. JW Rangsit 30
17. Chiang Mai 27
18. Thai Honda 27

According to the predicted table, the 3 promoted teams would be the same 3 that currently occupy those positions. It has BBCU to scrape promotion by 2 points. Looking at BBCU's remaining fixtures, I'd say it will be more comfortable for the Pink Power than the above table suggests.
At the bottom end, I can't see RBAC surviving on 34 points. Bangkok FC had a dire run but looked to have turned things around lately. I can see the Bulligans achieving more than 34 points.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Division 2 'Champions League' Draw

The draw was made today for the Division 2 Champions League. North Bangkok should be the happier of the two Bangkok sides with the draw. Krabi and Roiet will start as favorites in North Bangkok's group, although for me, Korat and Rayong are both a good outside bet.
Kasetsart have a difficult task to win promotion now that they've been drawn with Phitsanoluk and Ratchaburi. Toyota League Cup semi-finalists, Pattalung, will also prove to be difficult opponents.
Each side will play each other home and away and the top 2 after 10 games in each group will be promoted to Division 1.

Loei City

North Bangkok
Rayong FC
Roi Et

Fixtures Group A
(Oct 15)
Kasetsart v Pattalung
Ratchaburi v Phichit
Phitsanoluk v Loei City

(Oct 22)
Loei v Kasetsart
Ratchaburi v Phitsanoluk
Pattalung v Phichit

(Oct 30)
Kasetsart v Ratchaburi
Phichit v Phisanoluk
Pattalung v Loei

(Nov 6)
Loei v Phichit
Ratchaburi v Pattalung
Phitsanoluk v Kasetsart

(Nov 12)
Loei v Ratchaburi
Pattalung v Phitsanoluk
Phichit v Kasetsart

(Nov 19)
Kasetsart v Phichit
Ratchaburi v Loei
Phitsanoluk v Pattalung

(Nov 26)
Kasetsart v Phitsanoluk
Phichit v Loei
Pattalung v Ratchaburi

(Dec 3)
Loei v Pattalung
Ratchaburi v Kasetsart
Phitsanoluk v Phichit

(Dec 11)
Kasetsart v Loei
Phitsanoluk v Ratchaburi
Phichit v Pattalung

(Dec 18)
Loei v Phitsanoluk
Phichit v Ratchaburi
Pattalung v Kasetsart

Fixtures Group B
(Oct 16)
Roi Et v Korat
Lamphun v Nth Bangkok
Rayong v Krabi

(Oct 23)
Krabi v Roi Et
Lamphun v Rayong
Korat v Nth Bkk

(Oct 29)
Roi Et v Lamphun
Nth Bkk v Rayong
Korat v Krabi

(Nov 5)
Krabi v Nth Bkk
Rayong v Roi Et
Lamphun v Korat

(Nov 13)
Nth Bkk v Roi Et
Krabi v Lamphun
Korat v Rayong

(Nov 20)
Roi Et v Nth Bkk
Rayong v Korat
Lamphun v Krabi

(Nov 27)
Nth Bkk v Krabi
Roi Et v Rayong
Korat v Lamphun

(Dec 4)
Krabi v Korat
Rayong v Nth Bkk
Lamphun v Roi Et

(Dec 10)
Nth Bkk v Korat
Roi Et v Krabi
Rayong v Lamphun

(Dec 17)
Krabi v Rayong
Nth Bkk v Lamphun
Korat v Roi Et

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

TPL - Current League Form Table

Below is the current league form table for the second leg of the season. I'm a bit surprised to see Pattaya and Chiang Rai United in the top two positions, but I'm sure that PEA and Muangthong would surpass them if they had played their full quota of games. No surprise to see Army Utd and Thai Port in the bottom 3. They'll both be thankful for their early season form. 

1. Pattaya (8) 16
2. Chiang Rai (9) 15
3. Buriram PEA (6) 14
4. Muangthong (5) 13
5. Sisaket (7) 13
6. BEC Tero (8) 13
7. Osotspa (7) 12
8. Police (7) 11
9. Chonburi (5) 10
10. Bangkok Glass (8) 10
11. TTM Pichit (7) 10
12. Siam Navy (7) 9
13. Sriracha (7) 8
14. Khon Kaen (8) 6
15. TOT (8) 6
16. Army (8) 5
17. Samut Song (7) 5
18. Thai Port (8) 4

Next is the predicted final table based on current league form. For example, Pattaya have played 8 and picked up 16 points. That means they are averaging 2 points per game. With 9 left to play, they'd earn 18 points based on current form. Adding that to their current total of 34 would give the Dolphins a projected total of 52 points.

1. Buriram PEA 82
2. Muangthong 78
3. Chonburi 69
4. Sisaket 56
5. Osotspa 54
6. Police 53
7. BEC Tero 53
8. Bangkok Glass 52
9. Pattaya 52
10. Chaing Rai 47
11. TTM Pichit 43
12. Army Utd 35
13. Thai Port 35
14. Siam Navy 33
15. Sriracha 32
16. Samut Song 31
17. TOT 29
18. Khon Kaen 25

The top 3 predictions look about right for me. The battle between 4th and 9th is too difficult to call as form varies from week-to-week with these teams. The safety zone of 32 points appears a bit low. I'd guess 35 points would be a prudent target for clubs at the bottom end of the table.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Weekend Review 1-2 October

Navy 0-1 Bangkok Glass
Samut Songkhram 1-3 Muangthong
BEC Tero 0-2 Police
CR Utd 1-1 Khon Kaen
TTM Pichit 2-0 Thai Port
Army 1-0 TOT
Sriracha 0-1 Pattaya

Robbie Fowler kicked off his coaching career at Muangthong with a comfortable 3-1 victory at Samut Songkhram. Muangthong are now 9 points behind Buriram PEA with a game in hand. Also on Saturday, Bangkok Glass strengthened their grip on 4th place with a hard fought 1-0 victory at Siam Navy.
Army United can breathe a sigh of relief as they won their first game in 3 months. That victory lifts them 8 points away from the drop zone. The league table now suggests that any 3 from Samut Songkhram, TOT, Sriracha, Navy and Khon Kaen will be playing Division 1 football next season.
Some pessimistic Thai Port fans might disagree with the above statement as their side failed to find the net again in a meek 2-0 loss at TTM Pichit. The Khlong Toei side have only picked up 4 points from a possible 24. That certainly is relegation form.
BEC Tero lost their 5th home game of the season 2-0 to Police United. Coincidentally, that was Police United’s 5th away success this term.

Division 1
Chantaburi 1-2 Raj Pracha*
SP Customs 0-2 Air Force
Thai Honda 1-2 Chainat
Bangkok FC 3-4 Suphanburi
Chiang Mai 1-1 Phuket
Saraburi 0-0 Buriram
PTT Rayong 2-1 BBCU
Songkla 2-0 JW Rangsit
Bkk Utd 1-5 RBAC

PTT Rayong inflicted BBCU's 4th defeat of the season with a 2-1 victory. If Songkla win their two games in hand, they'd close the gap on BBCU to only 4 points. BBCU's next 2 games are home games against the bottom 2 sides Thai Honda and Chiang Mai. Two wins are a must for the Pink Power.
The surprise result of the weekend was Bangkok United 1-5 RBAC. All six goals were scored at the same end of the arena as RBAC lambasted Bangkok United with a 5 goal second half blitz.
Bangkok FC, JW Rangsit and Customs all lost, so it's as you were in the places just above the relegation zone.
*I'm not sure if the 2-1 result between Chantaburi and Raj Pracha stood. The game was abandoned in the 89th minute as Chantaburi staged a 'walk off.' They were unhappy that a foul wasn't awarded to their keeper when Raj Pracha scored their second goal. Personally, I'd award the game to Raj Pracha and then dock Chantaburi 10 points for their petulant behaviour.

EDIT: Chantaburi were fined 50,000 Baht and a 2-0 win was awarded to Raj Pracha.

Division 2 (Bangkok)
Nth Bkk 1-0 Raj Vithi
Luk Issan 1-6 SPK Utd
Jamjuree 3-0 Globex
Thai Fleet 1-0 Kasem Bundit
Prachinburi 3-0 NSRU
Thanyaburi Asia Utd 2-2 Mapthaput Rayong
Nontaburi 3-3 Kasetsart
Bkk Christian 1-1 Assumption Thonburi

There was no last day drama in Bangkok Division 2 as the promotion places had already been claimed by Kasetsart and North Bangkok prior to the final game. For the rest of the sides there will now be a 3-4 month layoff until next season commences. Kasetsart and North Bangkok will find out their fate on Wednesday when the Div. 2 Champions League draw is made in Ratchaburi.

Toyota League Cup - Last 4 (2nd leg)
Chonburi 3-2 PEA Buriram (3-3)
Buriram PEA booked their place in the Toyota League Cup final despite losing 3-2 at Chonburi. PEA's first leg 1-0 win ensured that they progressed on the away goals rule. It was a brave effort from the Sharks as they played the majority of the game with only 10 men after a first half sending off.
PEA Buriram will play Thai Port in the final at the Supalachasai Stadium on 15th October. The final last year was contested between the same two teams. Thai Port won that one 2-1. On current form, Buriram PEA will start as very strong favourites.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Army Utd 1-0 TOT

Army United eased their relegation fears in a fiery contest with a 1-0 victory over TOT.

The TOT band
Rafael Santana's goal just after half time moved the Army 7 points ahead of their opponents in the TPL.

Kone Mohammed clipped the bar shortly before half time in what was a competitive first half that lacked quality in the final third.

Rafael's shot from 20 yards edged the home side ahead minutes after the interval.

Kone Mohammed wasted a golden opportunity to level shortly after the goal, and a 30 yard free kick from TOT's Thanasak rattled the crossbar.
Get off!!

The second half became very contentious and TOT were very frustrated with the constant attention needed to treat injured Army players. At one point, three TOT players picked up an injured Army player and literally threw him over the touchline.

Over the piece, TOT deserved a point, but Army United will be delighted to collect their first 3 points since the 12th of June.

Attendance: 3,252

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Bangkok FC 3-4 Suphanburi

The Bulligan faithful watched their side concede an injury time goal as Suphanburi claimed a 4-3 victory in an enthralling match in Bang Mot.

Suphanburi could have scored in the first minute, but Englishman, Jorrin John, pulled his shot just wide of the goal. That chance was to set the tone in what proved to be an end-to-end match.

It was however the other Englishman wearing number 9, who opened the scoring. A low free-kick from the right by Josef Tirer was knocked into the net by Lee Tuck.

After the goal, Bangkok had more possession although both teams had chances to score. A few minutes before half time, Suphanburi leveled when a free kick from the right was powered in by central defender, Roland Djam, as he lost his marker too easily.

The Suphanburi Warriors came out fighting in the second half and looked the more likely team. Their pressure was rewarded when another cross from the right was headed in by big striker, Bolarimwa Ayotomiwa on 57 minutes.

The game lulled for a while after this as Suphanburi players seemed to fall down at will injured. Surprisingly, the angriest man in the stadium was Suphanburi coach, Rene Desaeyere. He was shouting at the stretcher boys every time they went onto the pitch to treat one of his players. I guess the Belgian didn't want his side reduced to 10 men while his player received treatment at the side of the pitch.

The game came back into life when Bangkok were awarded a penalty on 75 minutes as Suphanbauri keeper, Bernard Kouassi, felled Lee Tuck. Ekkasit tucked the resultant spot kick in the bottom left corner despite the keeper getting close to it.

Three minutes later, the Bulligans were celebrating when Samuel Danquah lobbed Bernard Kouassi. There were strong suspicions of offside though as Danquah collected the through ball.

A minute later, Suphanburi were level as the two Bangkok central defenders and the goalkeeper were indecisive and Ayotomiwa nipped into level.

The drama wasn't over as yet another crossed ball from the right in injury time was nodded in by Brazilian, Mario Neto to give the Warriors a late winner.

The loss was harsh on Bangkok as they probably deserved at least a point for their endeavor. They will look back on the game and will rue the sloppy defending that cost them some goals.