Thursday, May 31, 2012

Weekend Preview 2-3 June

Chainat v Buriram Utd
Bangkok Glass v TOT
Thai Port v Isan Utd

Samut Songkhram v Osotspa Saraburi
TTM v Army Utd
Chiang Rai Utd v Wuachon Utd
Police v Chonburi
Pattaya Utd v Muangthong Utd

The draw between Buriram and Muangthong on Wednesday meant that Muangthong maintained their 10 point advantage over the Thunder Castle. The pair of title favorites have tricky away matches this weekend with Buriram United at Chainat and Muangthong at Nong Prue to face Pattaya. Muangthong will be without fans favorite Mario Gjurovski through suspension while Teerasil is rated as 50/50.

Edit – Mario Gjurovski’s three match ban was overturned and he’s available for the trip to Pattaya on Sunday.

BEC Tero and Bangkok Glass both have home fixtures against what they will regard as beatable Bangkok opposition. Tero will be hoping that their capitulation in Isan was just a temporary blip and that normal business will be resumed against BBCU on Saturday evening. Bangkok Glass lost their first home game last week and winning against TOT won't be easy. BG fans will need no reminding that the telephone company did the double over them last season.

The Army Stadium will welcome Chonburi for the second time in as many weeks as Police United use the stadium for the second time. They've previously used the IPE in Chonburi as their Thammasart home is still being renovated after the flood last year. The Sharks have lost on their last two visits to the Army Stadium and they'll be hoping that a change of opponent might bring them a change of fortune.

The bottom three of Thai Port, TTM and Samut Songkhram are in danger of being cut adrift if they don't start picking up wins fairly quickly. Ulrich Munze makes his first return to the PAT with his new club Isan United. The Thai Port fans will be hoping that their former keeper has one of his off days as they search for their second home win of the season. TTM finally have started scoring goals, but at the other end they are leaking them too. They play host to Army United on Sunday while bottom side Samut Songkhram have a home tie with Osotspa.

The final game is Chiang Rai United against the unpredictable Wuachon United.

Division 1
Bangkok FC v Bangkok Utd
Khon Kaen v Korat
Suphanburi v Raj Pracha
Sriracha v JW Rangsit
Saraburi v Songkla

Pattalung v PTT Rayong
Ratchaburi v Siam Navy

It's a round of fixtures which mainly features teams in the top half against teams in the lower half. Leaders Ratcahaburi on the back of their 9-1 thrashing of Chantaburi hope to make it five wins on the trot as they welcome Siam Navy who themselves are unbeaten in four. Second placed Bangkok United make the trip over Rama 9 bridge to Bang Mot to meet a Bangkok FC side that has slipped back into the relegation zone after two defeats.
Krabi have the weekend off so Suphanburi would be expected to jump back into the top 3 with a home tie against faltering Raj Pracha. Sriracha should beat JW Rangsit at home while PTT Rayong will be looking to make it a treble of wins when the visit Pattalung.
Reuther Moreira is officially now the head coach of Nakhon Ratchasima as Tewet Kamolsin has been moved upstairs. Whether or not Tewet will have any influence over the side from his new position "upstairs" remains to be seen. The Swatcats first assignment under Moreira is a north-east derby match at Khon Kaen. The pair were two leagues apart last season but as it stands now they are both firmly established into the middle zone of Division 1.

Division 2 Bangkok
Rangsit FC v Bangkok Christian

Samut Prakarn Utd v Thai Honda
Kasem Bundit v Central Lions
Luk Esan v Kasetsart

R-BEC v Rayong Utd
Assumption Thonburi v Krung Thonburi
Globex v Customs Utd
North Bangkok v Samut Sakhon
Nonthaburi v Chamchuri Utd

The top 4 sides all hit the road this weekend. Thai Honda make the short trip to Samut Prakarn United, while Samut Sakhon and Rayong Utd face tough examinations as they visit university sides North Bangkok and R-BEC. Kasetsart will almost feel at home as the visit Luk Esan at the Bunyajinda Stadium which is only a couple of miles from their main university campus.
At the bottom end of the table, the Thonburi suburb of Bangkok will be split in two as its local sides of Assumption and Krung tussle to be the toast of Thonburi town. 

Results & Review - Wednesday 30 May

Buriram Utd 1-1 Muangthong
Wuachon 3-2 Police Utd
Army 1-0 Chiang Rai Utd
Osotspa Saraburi 4-3 TTM
BBCU 2-2 Samut Songkhram
Isan Utd 4-0 BEC Tero
TOT 1-1 Thai Port
Chainat 2-2 Bangkok Glass
Chonburi 2-1 Pattaya

It was an evening of goals, goals, goals as a total of 32 goals were scored on Wednesday evening.

The heavyweight clash between Buriram and Muangthong ended in a split decision as it finished 1-1. My twitter feed suggests that Buriram were the better side and that Muangthong did well to snatch a late point through a Jakkraphan header. Suriya had earlier given the Thunder Castle the lead and both sides had a player dismissed in the dying seconds with Buriram's Jakkraphan and MTU's Mario Gjurovski seeing red.

The biggest shock of the evening came as Isan United pounded BEC Tero 4-0 in Ubon. Hardly anybody saw that result coming as Tero suffered a major blip in their otherwise outstanding season.

Chainat and Samut Songkram both scored injury times goals to salvage 2-2 draws. Chainat's Puwadol levelled on 93 minutes while Samut Songkhram came from two down with their equalizer from Divine coming on the 90 minute mark

TTM fixtures have shown dribbles of goals in the last couple of games, but their entertainment value finally ejaculated as they peaked with a seven goal climatic affair in the Osot Spa. Unfortunately for TTM, they left Saraburi with an empty wallet as they lost 4-3.

The game in the south between Wuachon and Police produced five goals with Wuachon netting three of them. The stat that tickles my interest from this game is the official attendance of only 5,319. Where have the 25,000 other fans disappeared to since the Muangthong match ten days ago?

Chonburi earned the provincial bragging rights with a 2-1 victory over Pattaya. Army moved up to fourth with a 1-0 victory over Chiang Rai United courtesy of a Tatree free-kick and TOT and Thai Port shared a 1-1 draw.

Division 1
Chantaburi 1-9 Ratchaburi
Krabi 4-0 Pattalung
Raj Pracha A-A Khon Kaen
Korat 0-2 Bangkok Utd
Siam Navy 2-0 Air Force Utd
PTT Rayong 3-0 Saraburi

The first score of Chantaburi 1-9 Ratchaburi doesn't need summing up as the result speaks for itself. Bangkok United submitted another impressive performance to move second as goals from Gasmi and Sompong helped to see off and improving Korat.

Krabi and PTT Rayong kept in check with comfortable home wins and Siam Navy are finally into the top half of the table after they beat Air Force 2-0

The match between Raj Pracha v Khon Kaen was abandoned due to a spot of fon tok (rain) on the outskirts of western Bangkok.

Division 2 Bangkok
Chamchuri 2-1 Globex

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

TOT 1-1 Thai Port

It was a point apiece in Cheang Wattana as TOT came from behind for a well deserved 1-1 draw with Thai Port.

Steven Robb's late inclusion in the Thai Port starting 11 was either a tactical piece of genius or a fortuitous piece of luck as the Scot opened the scoring a minute before the break as he turned in the box to finish off a neat pass from Olof Watson.

On reflection of the first half, TOT must have been bewildered how they went into the dressing room a goal behind as they had five or six good opportunities to score. Their chances either went narrowly wide or Wanlop was making routine saves look spectacular.

Thai Port appeared to be dealing comfortably with TOT in the second period, but that changed when Thai Port substituted their lucky piece of Scottish heather. Within a minute of Robb's departure, TOT levelled when a through ball from Takahiro via Bas Savage was flicked home off the outside of Thanakorn's boot.

From that moment on it always seemed a draw was the destined outcome although Alex Ruella's shot flew inches wide for Port while Pichit's long shot clipped the bar for TOT.

I'm sure when TOT review the attempts on goal stats, they'll rue the fact that they didn't win this game. If they'd had the craftsmanship of Diego Walsh, it could have been a different story as the Brazilian wasn't playing tonight. For Thai Port, it was a valuable point for them but with Isan United smacking BEC 4-0, it makes their encounter with Isan on Saturday a must for three points.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

FA Cup Round 3 Draw

The clash of the round is Buriram v Chonburi. It's probably the draw that neither side would have wanted at this stage of the competition.
For the division 2 sides, Hat Yai have earned a big night out at Muangthong while Trat travel up to Army. Rayong FC and Ayutthaya have landed home ties with potential upsets on the cards against Thai Port and Krabi.

Full Draw:

Police v Wuachon Utd
Khon Kaen v Chiang Rai Utd
Chainat v TOT
Ayutthaya v Krabi
TTM v Korat
Samut Songkhram v Raj Pracha
Buriram Utd v Chonburi
Rayong FC v Thai Port
BBCU v Ratchaburi
Songkla v Bangkok Utd
Bangkok Glass v Osotspa
Muangthong v Hat Yai
PTT Rayong v Isan Utd
Pattaya v BEC Tero
Army v Trat
Suphanburi v Bangkok FC

Ties to be played on various dates in August.

Midweek Action - Wednesday 30 May

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

There is a full card of TPL fixtures to be played on Wednesday evening. The game between Buriram and Muangthong is the clash of the heavyweights with the epic feeling of Ali v Frazier about it for Thai footy fans rather than a David Haye v Dereck Chisora car park scrap outside the back of a pub. Both sides are off the back of impressive weekend victories and the winners of this would surely be installed as the title favorites.

The second and third placed sides, BEC and Bangkok Glass, both face away trips with Tero at Isan United while ex BG player Michael Byrne is desperately fighting to be fit to put one over his old team as they travel to Chainat.

There is also an Eastern Seaboard derby between Chonburi and Pattaya. The two clubs are closely related but the pair of fans regard each other as the irrelevant ginger cousin who they only see Christmas and family celebrations. A slight form of annoyance for the Chonburi fans would be that Pattaya currently sit one place above them in the table. With four wins out of four at home for the Sharks, they'll be expecting to move back above their provincial rivals on Wednesday evening.

TOT did the double over Thai Port last season and will see the visit of Klong Toei's finest as a chance for three points. A win for the Telephone Boys in this one would tuck them comfortably into the mid-table comfort zone with a huge nine points advantage over Port.

While on the subject of teams destined to finish in mid-table, Army take on Chiang Rai and Wuachon host Police in Songkla. It will be interesting to see how many locals turn up for this game after their 30,000 plus for the Muangthong clash last week.

That leaves us with Osotspa v TTM and BBCU V Samut Songkhram rounding off the fixtures

Division 1
Chantaburi v Ratchaburi
Krabi v Pattalung
Raj Pracha v Khon Kaen
Korat v Bangkok Utd
Siam Navy v Air Force Utd
PTT Rayong v Saraburi

Only six games are to be played but there are some vital clashes which will affect the promotion issues. It's top against bottom as Ratchaburi travel to Chantaburi. In the south, both of last season's promoted clubs meet for the first time in Division 1. Krabi have only picked up one point from the last nine available while Pattalung have dropped into the bottom half of the table after the were the early season pace setters.

Korat and Saraburi both picked up impressive wins last Saturday.The Swatcats have been boosted by the return of Anon and they welcome in-form Bangkok United while Sarabui make the trip to PTT Rayong.

Division 2 Bangkok
Chamchuri v Globex

Monday, May 28, 2012

Weekend Review 26-27 May

Bangkok Glass 1-2 Buriram Utd
Thai Port 2-2 Chainat
BEC Tero 2-1 TOT
Samut Songkhram 0-0 Isan United
Chiang Rai Utd 4-3 Osotspa Saraburi
Pattaya Utd 1-0 Wuachon Utd
Muangthong 2-0 Chonburi
Army 1-1 Police

Muangthong United scored two goals in the last ten minutes to win the much anticipated clash between themselves and Chonburi. Mario Gjurovski curled one in from a left footed free kick to give the Kirins the lead in the 83rd minute. In the 89th minute the game was put to bed when Phichitpong made it 2-0 with a powerful shot from the edge of the box.

Wee Frank was the hero for Buriram United with two goals against Bangkok Glass. Many people have begun to write Buriram off after the wheels dishearteningly fell off in their AFC campaign. Saturday's result shows that they they are still the side to beat in the TPL. Bangkok Glass did pull a goal back coutesy of the once reliable Ekwalla who put one into his own net. Nevertheless, the game will be remembered for another goal that never was. At 1-0 down , a shot from Michelini of BG rattled the bar, bounced over the line and then bounced back again off the underside of the bar before it spun back out into play. It clearly crossed the line but as with the Chainat v BEC game last week, it wasn't spotted by referee or linesman. In all fairness, it happened quickly so I think we can excuse the referee for not seeing it. However the linesman should have had a clear view, but instead he stood their motionless with his flag clasped to his backside.

The Cleiton Silva official fan club (they do exist) would have been proud of their idol after his double against TOT. The ex-Osotspa man took his chances well but TOT will be disappointed with their defending for the goals. That 2-1 win meant Tero reclaimed second spot from Bangkok Glass.

In Klong Toei, an improved Thai Port snatched a point against 10 man Chainat. Brazilians Bruno and Alex Ruella both netted their first goals for the club as they home side twice had to come from behind. In between the goals, Chainat's Sumet left the field wearing an oxygen match on a stretcher after he'd been dismissed for two yellow cards. To round off the day's entertainment, there was an incident near the end involving a moronic pitch invader, a punching club official and flying flip-flops.

It was a goal feast up in Chiang Rai as the hosts edged out Osotspa 4-3. All four of the Fighting Beetles goals were headers from crosses with Choklap being credited with three of them. At the other end of the excitement spectrum, it was an absolute stinker as Samut Songkhram drew 0-0 with Isan Utd. 

A long range free-kick from Niweat was the difference between Pattaya and Wuachon as the Dolphins won 1-0. There was to be no goal on his return to the Army Stadium for Leandro but he'll be pleased that his side fought back in the second half to earn a 1-1 draw. And finally, Jacob Aikionbare scored his first TPL goal since last May as BBCU beat TTM 1-0.

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

There were a few unexpected results as Korat, PTT Rayong and Saraburi all defeated opponents higher ranked in the table while Ratchaburi scored three second half goals against Phuket to stay top.

A bumper crowd of 1,080 watched Bangkok United move into the promotion places as they came from behind to beat Raj Pracha 3-1. The away side's keeper, Kritsanapong, was dismissed late on for a pointless lunge at an attacker outside the box. The other side occupying a top 3 spot, Suphanburi, also won 3-1 with all four goals coming in a 12 minute burst in the second half.

There was a scary moment in Khon Kaen as Chinese defender, Li Xiang, had to have his heart pumped after he was knocked unconscious by a clash of heads with his own teammate. Thankfully the big man recovered and he'll have been doubly happy that the T-Rex beat JW Rangsit 1-0 to move into the top half of the league. 

Division 2 (Bangkok)
Central Lions 1-2 Globex
Samut Sakhon 1-0 Luk Isan
Thai Honda 3-2 Assumption Thonburi
Rayong Utd 1-0 Samut Prakarn Utd
Chamchuri Utd 1-1 R-BEC
Customs Utd 0-0 Rangsit FC
Kasetsart 3-2 North Bangkok
Krung Thonburi 2-2 Kasem Bundit
Bangkok Christian 1-0 Nonthaburi

Thai Honda, Samut Sakhon and Rayong United are pulling away at the top after they all enjoyed narrow home wins on Saturday. As usual, there will be lots of comings and goings during the mid-season transfer window and I expect that there will be other challengers emerging from the chasing pack as the season progresses.
At the bottom end, Bangkok Christian's first win of the season moved them past their weekend opponents, Nonthaburi, in the placings.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Bangkok FC 1-2 Nakhon Ratchasima

The Swatcats pounced on two goalkeeping errors to beat Bangkok FC 2-1. The victory lifted Korat back into the top half of the league while their hosts slipped into the bottom half.
The pre-match huddle

It was a slightly cagey start with both goalkeepers being virtual spectators in the first quarter of the game. The first shotstopper called into action was Bangkok's Mana Nopnech on 25 minutes as he tipped a free-kick from Pralong over the bar. A few minutes later, Mana's opposite number got his first action of the afternoon blocking a low drive from Solomon Okuta and then being alert enough to block the rebound from Preecha.

After the break, Nakhon Ratchasima were the hungrier side. Within 10 minutes of the restart, Sanong blazed over the bar from 6 yards while Anon hit woodwork following a header after corners from the right.

First goal - oops!!
The Bulligans were getting plenty of joy down the left flank, but the Bang Mot side were dealt a blow at the other end when Sanong opened the scoring shortly before the hour mark. A free kick from Pralong on the right edge of the box was fumbled by Mana and the number 21 tapped-in to break the deadlock.

Swatcats celebrate 2nd goal
Prasit, in the Korat goal, had to be alert to save from a header, but on 65 minutes the away side doubled their advantage when Mana weakly palmed a cross straight to Anon for the Muangthong United loanee to make it 2-0.

The clock seemed to be whittling down fairly easily for the guests with a combination of solid defending and calls for treatment.

As the fourth official was preparing himself to hold up the board for the additional minutes, Bangkok FC pulled one back after a rebound from the bar pinged around in the six yard box before Mika Chunuonsee netted his first for the club from close in. 

There was to be no Manchester City last ditch drama at the end as Korat held out for the 2-1 win.

I feel a bit harsh blaming Mana for Bangkok's defeat today as he's been solid since his arrival from Chainat. Let's just hope it was a blip for the captain!

For Korat, they've been embroiled in a bit of a soap opera in the last couple of weeks regarding the coaching position of the club. I don't want to dwell on that but from what I saw today, the club certainly have enough to finish in the top half although promotion might be out of their reach this season.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Weekend Preview 26-27 May

Bangkok Glass v Buriram Utd
Thai Port v Chainat
BEC Tero v TOT
Samut Songkhram v Isan United
Chiang Rai Utd v Osotspa Saraburi
Pattaya Utd v Wuachon Utd

Muangthong v Chonburi
Army v Police

This weekend we see two matches which won't decide the title, but they'll certainly be a yardstick as to which trophy cabinet the TPL silverware will be heading to. Muangthong have hoovered up a maximum twelve points in their last four and they welcome the only current TPL side that has beaten them at the Thunderdome - Siam Navy has achieved this feat as well but they are no longer in the TPL - That victory for the Sharks came last Christmas Day as they came from behind to beat MTU 2-1. Looking at the league table now, those desperate days under the guidance of the culturally naive Robbie Fowler seem like a million miles away.

With only two league games played since Songkran, which were both drawn, Buriram United have plunged to an unaccustomed position of sixth place. Granted they could return to the top if they won their four games in hand, but I'm certain most of the BUFC support would rather have the points in the bag and would happily trade places with Muangthong. This weekend Buriram travel to Bangkok Glass where they've done well in the last two seasons. Bangkok Glass are unbeaten at home and I feel the first goal in this game might decide the winner.

At the bottom, it's a massive weekend also as four sides currently occupying the bottom five meet. BBCU begin life without Zico at the helm after he resigned earlier in the week due to his side's poor form. Worachai Surinsirirat has stepped in as caretaker coach and his first task will be in Chiang Mai against TTM. After six straight loses, Samut Songkram's coach Worawan finally threw in the towel and handed over to Sompop Suksombat who will take charge for the visit of Isan United.

The other side in the relegation mire, Thai Port, welcome Chainat who'll be without Surachet and Napat as the pair were handed bans after last weekend's game against BEC for x-rated tackles straight out of the Greame Souness etiquette handbook. For Port, they could do with all the help that they can, and I read a stat earlier this week that said that over two-thirds of goals conceded by Thai Port have come in the last 30 minutes of their games. That would suggest either a lack of fitness or more likely on the evidence of the 4-0 at BG, it shows there are too many anonymous pedestrians in the side whose heads go down once the going gets tough.

In the other games it's BEC v TOT, Chiang Rai v Osotspa, Pattaya v Wuachon and Army v Police Utd.

Division 1
Bangkok FC v Korat
Bangkok Utd v Raj Pracha
Khon Kaen v JW Rangsit
Sriracha v PTT Rayong
Saraburi v Krabi
Pattalung v Siam Navy

Air Force v Chantaburi
Ratchaburi v FC Phuket
Suphanburi v Songkla

Ratchaburi play their second home game of the week welcoming FC Phuket.  A home win would be expected for the Dragons as should one for Bangkok United who face a stuttering Raj Pracha at the Thai-Japanese Stadium. Krabi haven't won for two matches and getting back to winning ways at Saraburi won't be easy as the Warlords have only lost one in five at home.

The games between Sriracha v PTT Rayong and Suphanburi v Songkla ought to be close games. Both the home sides are serious promotion contenders whereas the two away teams are more realistically considered as outside bets.

After 10 matches, Bangkok FC had the highest total of goals per game (37) while Korat had the lowest (21). Something will have to give and my averaging statometer, says to expect 2.9 goals in this contest. Ok, we'll call it 3 for arguments sake.

Division 2 (Bangkok)
Central Lions v Globex
Samut Sakhon v Luk Isan
Thai Honda v Assumption Thonburi
Rayong Utd v Samut Prakarn Utd
Chamchuri Utd v R-BEC

Customs Utd v Rangsit FC
Kasetsart v North Bangkok
Krung Thonburi v Kasem Bundit
Bangkok Christian v Nonthaburi

Honda and Samut Sakhon will be expecting to continue their march to the play-offs with what should be routine home games.
Rayong United in third, welcome the unpredictable Samut Prakarn Utd while Chamchuri and R-BEC will be looking back at the league tables from the early weeks of the season and will be rueful of wasting promising openings. The pair meet at Chula on Saturday evening.

After 29 league games, Bangkok Christian and Nonthaburi have mustered one win between them. The pair do battle on Sunday at the Thephasadin and both sides surely must have pencilled in three points from this encounter.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Toyota League Cup Draw - Round 1

Byes: Pattani FC
Sat June 9, 2012
Kasetsart University v Esan United
Trat FC v Bangkok FC
Kalasin FC v Samut Songkram FC
Sra Kaew City v FC Phuket
Customs United v BBCU FC
Pichit FC v Songkla
Rayong FC v TTM Chiang Mai
RBAC-BEC Tero Sasana v Bangkok Glass
Siam Navy FC v Khon Kaen FC
Lopburi FC v PTT Rayong
Yala FC v Thai Port FC
Si Saket United v Osotspa Saraburi
Rachaburi FC v Chainat FC
Kamphaeng Phet FC v Chiang Rai United
Paknampo NSRU FC v Army United

Sun June 10, 2012
Samut Prakan United v JW Rangsit FC
Thai Honda v Muang Thong United
Lampang FC v BEC Tero Sasana
Sri Racha FC v Nakon Rachasima FC
Lampun Warrior v Bangkok United
Roi Et United v Buriram United
Chiang Rai FC v Krabi FC
Prajuap FC v Pattaya United
Surin FC v Wuachon United
Udon Thani FC v Supanburi FC
Hat Yai FC v Rajpracha Thailand FC
Patalung FC v Police United
Petchaburi FC v Chantaburi FC
Chayapum FC v TOT SC
Nakon Sri Tammarat FC v Chonburi FC
Kasembundit University v Air Force United

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

AFC Cup - Chonburi March Into Last 8

AFC Cup - Last 16
Chonburi 1-0 Al Zarwa'a Sport Club

An early goal contrived from the golden oldies propelled Chonburi into the last 8 of the AFC Cup as they beat Al Zarwa'a of Iraq 1-0.

Pipob's early strike at the near post from a Therdsak cross proved to be the match winner as the Thai side deservedly moved into the quarter final draw. Al Zarwa'a forced a few first half corners but overall Chonburi were dominant and had more chances.

The Sharks now have a few months to concentrate on their domestic campaign before the next round commences in September.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Weekend Review 19-20 May

Osotspa Saraburi 2-0 Police Utd
BBCU 1-2 Chiang Rai Utd
Bangkok Glass 4-0 Thai Port
Wuachon 1-4 Muangthong
Isan Utd 2-1 TTM
Chainat 2-1 BEC Tero
Army 2-0 Pattaya Utd
TOT 3-0 Samut Songkhram

A crowd of over 30,000 in the deep south watched Muangthong increase their lead at the top with a striking 4-1 win over Wuachon. The Kirins won courtesy of a brace of braces with Teerasil and Mario Gjorvski on the score sheet. Muangthong now have a five point buffer between themselves and second place, but more importantly they are 10 points ahead of reigning champs, Buriram United. However, Buriram do have four games in hand and they would move back to the top if they could win their make up games.

Bangkok Glass are up to second after they easily beat Thai Port 4-0 while BEC Tero dropped to third after their game at Chainat witnessed another bout of incompetent officiating. With the score at 0-0, BEC had an inswinging corner which curled into the goal, but the ball somehow burst through the side netting back into play. None of the match officials noticed that the ball had crossed the line as play was waved on. In the second half, Michael Byrne opened the scoring with a sweetly struck free-kick before Chainat doubled their lead with a late goal on the break. Cleiton's 98th minute goal was a mere consolation. I'm sure the call in the next few days from the public will be for foreign refs, but how about giving the Thai match officials some proper training. For example, instructing them where the correct place is to stand when set pieces are being taken would be a start.

Stefano Cugurra's Chiang Rai United side made it back-to-back 2-1 wins after they came from behind to beat BBCU in Muangthong. The other under pressure coach, Worawan Chitawanit of Samut Songkhram, saw his side humbled 3-0 at TOT. Whatever he said in the pre-match team talk must have fallen on deaf ears as his side were behind after only 32 seconds.

By TTM's standards, they were involved in a high scoring game but unfortunately for them they lost by the odd goal in a three to Isan United. Tana's penalty winner on the 90 minute mark moved the Isan club out of the relegation placings. 

Two second half goals from Osotspa saw off Police Utd while the same outcome happened at Army as the defeated Pattaya.

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

The top clashes of the weekend both ended in draws. In Rayong, ex Thai port man, Worawut, put Suphanburi ahead from the spot, but PTT levelled shortly before the break through Prathan.The four goals shared between Krabi and Sriracha all came after half time. Christiano Lopes appeared to enjoy scoring against his former side, but his joy didn't last as Gaston's 87th goal earned a share of the spoils for the Blue Marlins.

League leaders Ratchaburi ended Bangkok FC's 6 game unbeaten run as they beat the Bulligans 2-1 to remain at the top of the league. An early goal from Abbo settled the nerves before Chakrit doubled that lead on 72. Bangkok did net a consolation goal five minutes from the end.

Songkla stand on the periphery of the promotion race after a 2-1 home win over Khon Kaen. The T-Rex's league position now mirrors that of their weekend opponents as they perch a couple of points above the drop zone. BKK Utd kept up their impressive run as they enjoyed a comfortable afternoon in Nakhon Nayok beating JW Rangsit 3-0 with all three goals coming from United's foreign contingent.

Pattalung's new coach, Somreut Sermsuk, drew his first game in charge as the Chantaburi Hares doubled their points tally for the season with a point from the goalless draw. It was also 0-0 between Raj Pracha and Korat although I hear that the Swatcats were much improved and unfortunate not to win this contest.

Division 2 Bangkok
Samut Prakarn Utd 0-0 Assumption Thonburi
Kasem Bundit 0-2 Kasetsart
Luk Esan 1-3 Thai Honda
R-BEC 0-0 Krung Thonburi
Customs Utd 1-1 Bangkok Christian
Globex 0-0 Samut Sakhon
North Bangkok 3-2 Chamchuri
Nonthaburi 1-2 Rayong United
Rangsit FC v Central Lions

Division 2 Bangkok has new leaders as Thai Honda overtook Samut Sakhon after their 3-1 win at Luk Esan. Samut dropped to second as they were held to a 0-0 draw at Globex.

Rayong United scored a late goal at Nonthaburi to win 2-1 while R-BEC were disappointingly held at home by Krung Thonburi.

Kasetsart continued their climb up the table with an impressive 2-0 at Kasem Bundit and North Bangkok won comeback of the weekend as they came from two down to beat Chamchuri 3-2.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

AFC Cup Last 16 - Chonburi v Al Zarwa'a Preview

AFC Cup - Last 16
Chonburi v Al Zarwa'a Sport Club

The one-off tie in last 16 of the AFC Cup pits Chonburi with Al Zarwa'a Sport Club of Iraq. Chonburi's opponents qualified for the last 16 after finishing second in Group E. They won four games and lost two with both defeats coming on their travels.
Little is known of Al Zarwa'a in this part of Asia. After browsing Wikipedia, I can tell you that they are based in the western half of Baghdad and that historically they are one of the most renowned clubs in Iraqi football. The Winged Horses won the Iraqi Premier League in 2011 although this season they haven't fared particularly well and are currently languishing in 8th place some 17 points behind the league leaders.
The back 4 of Chonburi have yet to concede a goal at home in the AFC Cup and the Sharks will start this game as favorites. If they were to lose this tie, it would be a bitter pill to swallow after Chonburi negotiated their group stage with considerable ease.

Bangkok Glass 4-0 Thai Port

View from up top
Bangkok Glass blitzed Thai Port with four goals in the second half to maintain their place in TPL championship race.

The Glass Rabbits came out the traps fairly swiftly with Flavian Michelini forcing Wanlop into an early save and good link-up play between Ajayi and Chatree made the same keeper produce an excellent save with his left foot.

Wanlop saves
Thai Port improved as the half went on and had a couple of chances but their final ball from breakaways into the box lacked that bit of quality.

As the second half progressed, it appeared that Thai Port had set their stall out to to defend their 0-0 and nick a point. Their plan seemed to be going well but as soon as BG introduced Saruta and Anawin the home side's attacking game moved up a level.

On 65 minutes a corner from the left pinballed around the Thai Port 6 yard box before Samual Ajayi eventually knocked it in for the opener.

Within two minutes, the Klong Toei side were reduced to 10 men when Termchai was ordered off after he needlessly kicked a BG player on the back of the legs.

With 15 minutes left on the clock, it was game over as second half substitute, Anawin, was allowed VIP access to stroll through the Thai Port defence to knock the ball into the empty net.

After that, it was just a case of how many Glass would score and Chatree and Peerapong compounded Port's misery in the dying minutes netting tap-ins.

The win moved BG up to second but I'm still not convinced they have enough about them to win the TPL. Thai Port were adequate in the first half but if they are going to sit back like they did in the second half, then they need to learn how to defend. The defending for a couple of the goals was shocking!!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Weekend Preview 19-20 May

Osotspa Saraburi v Police Utd
BBCU v Chiang Rai Utd
Bangkok Glass v Thai Port

Wuachon v Muangthong
Isan Utd v TTM
Chainat v BEC Tero
Army v Pattaya Utd
TOT V Samut Songkhram

The much anticipated match of Buriram United and Chonburi has been shelved until 24 June due to Chonburi's involvement in the AFC Cup last 16. This postponement gives Muangthong United the opportunity to move 10 points clear of Buriram and 9 in front of Chonburi if the 'Thong' can win at Wuachon. That won't be easy as Wuachon will have a full compliment of players to pick from after their last couple of games have seen several players miss out due to loan agreements with Buriram United and Chonburi.

Bangkok Glass will be looking to bounce back against Thai Port after last week's 3-0 defeat at BEC. When both of these sides clashed for the last game of the 2010 TPL season, Thai Port drew 0-0 to claim a fourth placed finish. BG disappointingly finished sixth but in the 18 months or so since that game, Bangkok Glass have had up and downs but have generally moved forward. Thai Port on the other hand, have lost several key players as boardroom disputes have contributed to them heading in a downwards spiral. It's been a strenuous opening for Port this term and I know a few Thai Port fans who would gladly accept a fourth bottom finish now if it were offered to them.

Second placed BEC Tero have a tough assignment at Chainat. Tero press statements maintain that their youthful squad are ahead of schedule in development, although privately they must be having a sly peek at the TPL crown after six successive wins.

Under pressure coaches, Worawan Chitawanit (Samut Songkram) and Stefano Cugurra (Chiang Rai Utd) bring their sides to the capital to face TOT and BBCU respectively. The form book would suggest that TOT will be too strong for Samut Songkhram, while BBCU v Chiang Rai Utd could go either way. Latest news reports that this game has been switced to the SCG Stadium as the Rajamangala is preparing for the visit of Lady Gaga. The criticism of Stefano Cugurra from a section of the Orange Power is rather disappointing in my opinion considering what the Brazilian has accomplished for the side since he's been in charge. I sincerely hope he is given time to turn the Fighting Beetles season around and that he doesn't become the umpteenth coach in Thai football to be shown the door in 2012.

TTM's one goal from eight games has prompted their owners to hunt for strikers during the transfer window. This weekend they have to travel to Isan United with the same attackers that have been firing blanks thus far. In all fairness to the TTM strikers, their cause hasn't been aided by defensive tactics from coach Narong. Whether or not the coach is around for leg 2 of the season remains doubtful.

The final two games are middle ground affairs between Army v Pattaya Utd and Osotspa v Police United.

Division 1
FC Phuket v Air Force Utd
Chantaburi v Pattalung
Raj Pracha v Korat
PTT Rayong v Suphanburi
Songkla v Khon Kaen

JW Rangsit v Bangkok Utd
Ratchaburi v Bangkok FC
Krabi v Sriracha
Siam Navy v Saraburi

The Division 1 promotion race is already hotting up and Round 10 sees two clashes from clubs within the top 6. PTT Rayong have lost their last two games 1-0 and ending Suphanburi's three game winning streak will be a tough ask. Following disappointing results last weekend, both Krabi and Sriracha will be looking to raise themselves for their clash at the Krabi Provincial Stadium on Sunday.

League leaders Ratchaburi welcome inform Bangkok FC. The Iron Bulls have finally found their feet after a woeful start to the season. After losing their first three games, the Bang Mot favorites have gone six unbeaten with three wins and three draws.

Pattalung begin life without coach Anurak after he departed for the Leo Stadium earlier in the week although yesterday Bangkok Glass denied any knowledge of his appointment. His replacement, Somreut Sermsuk, will make his first team selection for the away visit to Chantaburi.

While on the subject of new appointments, Korat have enlisted Piyapon Piu-on as technical director after a recent run of poor form. The Swatcats sit precariously only two points above the relegation zone and a fresh input of ideas could be the catalyst for an upturn of form.

Division 2 Bangkok
Samut Prakarn Utd v Assumption Thonburi
Kasem Bundit v Kasetsart
Luk Esan v Thai Honda

R-BEC v Krung Thonburi
Customs Utd v Bangkok Christian
Globex v Samut Sakhon
North Bangkok v Chamchuri
Nonthaburi v Rayong United

Rangsit FC v Central Lions

Samut Sakhon and Thai Honda have bought themselves some daylight between the chasing pack after recent results. Both sides travel to mid-table clubs as the bid to increase their lead at the top.

Assumption Thonburi and Nonthaburi have notched their first wins within the last week so that leaves Bangkok Christian as the only side to left to pierce the egg yolk. An away match to Customs United at Lat Krabang 54 for the Christains will be their 14th attempt to win a match.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

AFC Group H - Buriram's AFC Adventure Ended

AFC Champions League - Group H
Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors 0-2 Kashiwa Reysol
Buriram United 1-2 Guangzhou Evergrande

Buriram United bravely bowed out of the AFC Champions League after losing 2-1 to Guangzhou Evergrande. Their fate was actually sealed 20 minutes into the contest when news filtered through of Kashiwa Reysol's 2-0 win in the earlier kick off in Jeonbuk. The South Korean side were thoroughly disappointing and goals from Leandro Domingues and Tanaka early in the second half ensured that the J-League champions progressed to the last 16.

The game in Buriram ended with Conca scoring a late winner from the spot for Guangzhou to ensure that the moved into the last 16 with Kashiwa Reysol. Gao Lin's breakaway opened the scoring for the away side on 49 minutes but the Thais levelled on midway through the half when Suriya capitalised on a defensive error. Both sides had chances but it was the late penalty that won the contest.

Even though Buriram didn't qualify, they'll have benefited from the experience of playing a higher calibre of opposition. Frank Achaempong was the star performer throughout and his performances will certainly have alerted the scouting networks of Asia and Europe.
It's now back to the bread and butter of domestic football for the Thunder Castle. With several catch up games to play, it's going to fully test Buriram's resources if they are to retain their TPL crown.

Monday, May 14, 2012

AFC Matchday 6 - Make or Break for Buriram Utd

AFC Champions League - Group H
Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors v Kashiwa Reysol
Buriram United v Guangzhou Evergrande

Buriram United's hopes of reaching the AFC Champions League last 16 hinge on them beating Guangzhou at home together with Jeonbuk remaining undefeated when they host Kashiwa Reysol. With the Jeonbuk game set to start at 5pm, Buriram could know their fate by the time their game commences at 6.30pm.
The Thunder Castle's qualification train has been slowly running out of steam after two unexpected victories on matchdays 1&2. Before the group commenced, Buriram were seen as rank outsiders, but after encouraging early results, the double loss to Jeonbuk and Kashiwa Reysol last time out have dampened the mood slightly for the Thai side. A victory over big spending Ghangzhou is certainly doable as the Southern China Tigers have been very suspect at the back in their previous group games.
If Buriram were to squeeze into second place, they'd face a trip to familiar territory with either Japan's FC Tokyo or Ulsan Hyundai of South Korea lined up as their last 16 opponents. Currently both sides are entwined together on 11 points in Group F as the duo are set to clash for their final group game in Korea.

Weekend Review 12-13 May

BEC Tero 3-0 Bangkok Glass
Samut Songkhram 2-3 Chainat
Police Utd 1-1 BBCU
Chiang Rai Utd 2-1 Isan Utd
Pattaya Utd 0-0 Osotspa
Muangthong 2-1 Army Utd
Chonburi 1-0 Wuachon Utd

Muangthong United came from behind to beat Army United 2-1 in an exciting match.  Bjorn Lindemann's first goal for Army shortly after the break put them in the lead but a Piyaphon strike minutes later and a Teerasil header from a rebound off the bar ensured the three points went to the Nonthaburi side.
The Fire Dragons are currently the hottest team in the league after their 3-0 victory over BG made it six wins on the trot. Cleiton Silva bagged a hat-trick as BEC leapfrogged Bangkok Glass into second place.
Narul of Chonburi earned himself the title of "supersub" with his late strike winning the game seconds after he entered the action.  That 1-0 win maintained Chonburi's 100% winning home record in all competitions this season.
At the bottom, Chainat, TOT and Chiang Rai United all enjoyed wins to move into lower mid-table. Chainat beat Samut Songkhram 3-2, scoring a couple of spectacular goals in the process, to cement the SCG's old boys to the bottom of the league. Rumours this morning indicate that Samut Songkram coach Worawan might find himself out of a job earlier than his proposed departure date of July 12. Chiang Rai won a bad tempered contest against Isan Utd 2-1 and Diego Walsh netted his fourth goal in as many games as TOT earned their second consecutive 1-0 success. A few people have stated that TOT were a one man team last season and that Kone Mohammed kept them up singled handed. I've always believed that Diego Walsh was key to TOT's survival after his arrival in the mid-season transfer window last year.
Leandro's return to his old stomping ground saw the Brazilian notch a goal in the first couple of minutes. His early goal was cancelled out in the second period when BBCU equalized via a dubious penalty decision.
In Nong Prue, the mid-table battle between Pattaya and Osotspa ended 0-0.

Division 1
Korat 0-0 JW Rangsit
Bangkok Utd 3-1 Songkla
Khon Kaen 1-0 PTT Rayong
Suphanburi 1-0 Krabi
Saraburi 5-2 Chantaburi
Pattalung 1-1 FC Phuket
Air Force 1-2 Ratchaburi
Bangkok FC 4-1 Raj Pracha
Sriracha 1-1 Siam Navy

It's so tight at the top with only three points separating the top 5. Ratchaburi lead the pack on goal difference after beating Air Force 2-1 with the winning goal coming from ex-Air Force favorite, Pornchai. Krabi dropped to second after the were beaten at Suphanburi. Jorrin John's second half goal ensured that the Suphanblood moved into the promotion places for the first time this term. Sriracha's keeper saw red as his side surrendered a 1-0 lead against Siam Navy to fall to fourth while Bangkok United continued their decent form with a comfortable 3-1 home win over Songkla.
Lee Tuck scored a hat-trick against Raj Pracha as the Iron Bulls climbed into the top half of the table. The English hitman is now the leading scorer in the first division.

Division 2 Bangkok
Rangsit FC 0-1 Chamchuri Utd
Kasem Bundit 1-1 Thai Honda
Luk Esan 0-0 Assumption Thonburi
R-BEC 2-0 Samut Prakarn Utd
Nonthaburi 1-0 Krung Thonburi
Customs 1-1 Kasetsart
Bangkok Christian 0-1 Samut Sakhon
Globex 1-0 Rayong Utd
North Bangkok 4-0 Central Lions

Chamchuri finally broke their six game winless streak with a 1-0 victory at Rangsit FC last Friday evening.
Samut Sakhon stay top after a narrow 1-0 win at Bangkok Christian while Rayong United lost by the same scoreline at Globex.
R-BEC maintained their perfect home record beating Samut Prakarn United 2-0 and edged to within one point of second placed Thai Honda who drew 1-1 at Kasem Bundit.  . 
Nonthaburi players finally received their first win bonus of the season as they beat Krung Thonburi 1-0. 

There will be a round of Div 2 fixtures this Wednesday:

Central Lions v Customs
Samut Sakhon v Rangsit FC
Thai Honda v R-BEC
Assumption Thonburi v Nonthaburi
Bangkok Christian v North Bangkok
Kasetsart v Globex
Krung Thonburi v Samut Prakarn Utd
Rayong Utd v Luk Esan
Chamchuri v Kasem Bundit

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Suphanburi 1-0 Krabi

The Suphanblood
Suphanburi moved to within one point of the summit of Division 1 with a well earned 1-0 victory over current league topper's Krabi.

The only goal of the match came five minutes after the break when Jorrin John cut in from the right to strike past Teerawat in the Krabi goal.

The first half was a tightish affair with the home side slightly on top. Both sides had shots cleared off their lines from early attempts before Pipat headed inches wide in the 20th minute for the half's closest effort.

John's strike on 50 minutes proved to be the only goal of the game although the home side could have doubled their lead late on when Bolarinwa Ayotomiwa's shot crept agonisingly wide after a precise pass from Worawut.

The "Suphanblood" have finally hit form after a stuttering start to the season. With the mid-season transfer window set to open soon, you'd expect that Suphanburi will dip into their plentiful resources to strengthen their claim on one of the three promotion spots.

As it stands tonight, Krabi still top the table. Defensively Krabi are pretty solid but they seem to lack potency up front. Carlo Coppari has still to find his feet in Thai football and the Energy could do with Christiano Lopes returning from injury to boost their attacking options.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Weekend Preview 12-13 May

BEC Tero v Bangkok Glass
Samut Songkhram v Chainat
Police Utd v BBCU
Chiang Rai Utd v Isan Utd

Pattaya Utd v Osotspa
Muangthong v Army Utd
Chonburi v Wuachon Utd

It's a case of like for like this weekend with some interesting meetings at the top and the bottom of the TPL. The pick of the round has to be BEC Tero v Bangkok Glass. After BEC Tero lost their first two matches, there was some ridiculous rumours circulating in the Thai press that Rene Desaeyere would come into replace new coach, Andrew Ord. Thankfully the young Englishman was given time as he's now guided his side to five wins on the spin. The Fire Dragons have won both their home games this season while Glass have drawn both of their away ones. It will most likely be a full house at the Thephasadin, so get along early if you want a ticket.
Current leaders Muangthong United host their bogey team, Army United, on Sunday evening. The Nonthaburi side have never beaten Army in a TPL match with two draws and two loses so far. Army have had an indifferent start but have shown in recent games against Chonburi and Buriram that they can mix it with the big boys.
Chonburi in sixth against Wuachon in fifth is another game that will be followed with interest. The Sharks have won their three home games scoring 12 in the process. Wuachon are unbeaten in seven and last Monday they earned an impressive point at Buriram United.
Further down the road, it's a mid-table battle between Pattaya and Osotspa. The Saraburi side have fallen down to 11th after losing their last three matches.
The other four games all involve teams at the wrong end of the table. The Big Bang will return to last season's home at the Army Stadium to face homeless Police United. Chiang Rai United could have been excused for not picking up many points early on in the campaign against difficult opponents, but they'll be worried that their poor form has continued lately against beatable opposition. Isan United certainly fit into the latter category and three points for Chiang Rai Utd this time would move them out of the danger zone.
TTM and TOT both won 1-0 last weekend and another low scoring match seems likely. Samut Songkhram and Chainat have both hit troubled times after promising starts. The Crazy Mackerels have slumped to the foot of the league while Chainat have only won one game out of seven.

Division 1
Korat v JW Rangsit
Bangkok Utd v Songkla
Khon Kaen v PTT Rayong
Suphanburi v Krabi
Saraburi v Chantaburi

Pattalung v FC Phuket
Air Force v Ratchaburi
Bangkok FC v Raj Pracha
Sriracha v Siam Navy

Suphanburi have banged in eight goals in their last two 1st Division games to move up to fourth in the table. On Saturday they face their biggest test of the season when they welcome league leaders Krabi to the Suphanburi Provincial Stadium. Sriracha and Ratchaburi are sandwiched in between the pair in second and third place. Sriracha will start as strong favorites to beat a sinking Siam Navy side and Ratchaburi might find it difficult to break out of their three game streak of 1-1 draws at Air Force. The Airmen are unbeaten in three and have kept three clean sheets in the process.
After collecting a solitary point in first 8 games, Chantaburi's coach optimistically wants 15 points in the remainder of Leg 1 to stay safe from drop. Three points at Saraburi would certainly help his cause but realistically his team are on the fast track to second division football next season.
Another side in big trouble are FC Phuket. This week they set up the "Save FC Phuket" campaign in a bid to solve ongoing problems. After a relatively bright start, the southern side have only picked up 2 points from the last 15 available and have slipped into the relegation zone. They have a shortish trip by their standards as they travel to Pattalung this Sunday.

Division 2 Bangkok
Rangsit FC v Chamchuri Utd

Kasem Bundit v Thai Honda
Luk Esan v Assumption Thonburi
R-BEC v Samut Prakarn Utd
Nonthaburi v Krung Thonburi

Customs v Kasetsart
Bangkok Christian v Samut Sakhon
Globex v Rayong Utd
North Bangkok v Central Lions

Bangkok Christian still haven't won this season and with the visit of leaders Samut Sakhon, there are no suggestions that this unwanted record will be terminated this weekend. Second placed Thai Honda have a slightly more difficult task at Kasem Bundit while R-BEC will be glad to get back to their Rattana Bundit home after a couple of trips on the road. Rayong United should be able to get 3 points at Globex and Kasetsart will be aiming for another win to continue climbing the table.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Thai FA Cup - Round 2

Pattalung v Supanburi
PTT Rayong v Sriracha
Air Force v Songkla
RBEC v Ratchaburi
Bangkok Utd v Thai Honda
Paknampo NSRU v Rayong FC
Hat Yai FC v Krung Thonburi
Siam Navy v Ayuttaya
Maptaphut Rayong v Korat
Trat v FC Phuket

(Wednesday 16 May)
JW Rangsit v Krabi
Ratchapreuk College v Bangkok FC
Khon Kaen v Pattaya City
Raj Pracha v Chantaburi

The first division sides enter Round 2 of the FA Cup. As is customary at this stage of the competition, the underdogs take their 15 minutes in the limelight. In the UK this usually involves a TV interview with a local celebrity as he walks down the High Street talking to bemused shoppers.
Amateur club Pattaya City produced the shock result of Round 1 as they beat the current North East Division 2 champions, Roi Et United, on penalties. This time they travel back up to the north-east to face Khon Kaen. Beating the T-Rex might be a tough ask but the cup romantics amongst us would love to see City advance to Round 3 and draw their neighbors, Pattaya United, in the third round.
The other non-league side, Ratchapreuk College, will have to wait until next Wednesday when they host Bangkok FC. The Bulligans have invested heavily in their squad and it would be a major scalp for the college side to beat the first division club.
The Maptaphut Rayong v Korat match will go ahead today despite the fact that there was a massive explosion and fire at the Maptaphut industrial estate last weekend. Korat have lost their last three league games, and losing to lower league opposition might just be the final nail in the Korat coach's coffin.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

AFC Matchday 6 - Review

AFC Cup  - Group G
Home United 1-2 Chonburi
Yangon United 1-2 Citizen AA

Chonburi deservedly won an open game to beat Home United 2-1 and win Group G. Pipob scored an early goal to settle the nerves and Noppanon added a second on 77 minutes to double the Thai side's lead. Indra Sahdan pulled a late goal back for the Singaporeans, but Chonburi held out to claim their first away victory this season.
Chonburi will have to wait until the early hours of Thursday morning to find out who they host from Group E in the last 16. As it stands they could meet either Al Shorta of Syria, Al Zawra’a of Iraq or Safa of Lebanon in the one off tie. With one match remaining, Al Shorta have 12 points while Al Zarwa'a Club and Safa are locked together on 9.

Group E Fixtures
Al Tilal 0-2 Al Zarwa'a Club
Al Shorta 3-2 Safa

The results mean Al Shorta win the group with 15 points. Al Zarwa'a finished second with 12, Safa on 9 and Al Tilal with a big fat zero.
So Chonburi will meet Al Zarwa'a Club of Iraq at the Chonburi Stadium in the last 16. The game is currently scheduled for 22 May. Home United will travel to Syria to play Al Shorta.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Weekend Review 4-7 May

Army Utd 1-0 Chonburi
Osotspa Saraburi 1-2 Muangthong
BBCU 0-2 Pattaya Utd
TOT 1-0 Chiang Rai Utd
Isan Utd 1-1 Police Utd
Chianat 0-1 TTM
Bangkok Glass 4-1 Samut Songkram
Thai Port 0-2 BEC Tero
Buriram Utd 0-0 Wuachon Utd

Pichitpong's 84th minute goal ensured that Muangthong remained top of the TPL as the Kirins won a hard fought contest against Osotspa Saraburi 2-1. BG and BEC kept in check with respective victories. Glass eased to a 4-1 home win over Samut Songkhram while Tero won 2-0 at Thai Port.
In the Friday night game, Chonburi lost ground as they were beaten by Army United 1-0.
On the following day, Pattaya and TOT both enjoyed wins to move up the table. Pattaya beat BBCU 2-0 at the Rajamangala and Diego Walsh netted again as TOT beat Chiang Rai United 1-0.
On Sunday, Isan United's home point against Police was enough to move them out of the relegation zone and TTM fans finally had a goal to celebrate after 600+ minutes of watching paint dry. Watchara's goal was the match winner as TTM won 1-0 in Chainat.
On Monday evening, a jaded looking Buriram United were held to a goalless draw by Wuachon. The Fighting Bulls had chances in the first half but didn't take them. The point apiece means Buriram stay fourth while Wuachon move up to fifth. Buriram's next three TPL games will prove pivotal in their bid to retain their TPL title with Chonburi, Bangkok Glass and Muangthong on the agenda. 

Division 1
Ratchaburi 1-1 Pattalung
FC Phuket 0-1 Saraburi
Chantaburi 1-5 Sriracha
Siam Navy 2-4 Suphanburi
Krabi 2-0 Khon Kaen
PTT Rayong 0-1 Bangkok Utd
Songkla 2-0 Korat
JW Rangsit 1-0 Raj Pracha
Air Force Utd 0-0 Bangkok FC

Winnie Schaefer was in attendance to watch Krabi remain top after they beat 10 man Khon Kaen 2-0 with two second half goals. An Anuwat hat-trick helped Sriracha see off troubled Chantaburi 5-1 while Suphanburi scored an impressive 4-2 win at Siam Navy.
Ratchaburi still remain undefeated but they'll have been disappointed to have dropped two points in their 1-1 draw at home to Pattalung. Bangkok United earned an impressive 1-0 win at PTT Rayong and Songkla remained in the top 6 as they saw off Korat 2-0.
At the bottom, Saraburi's 8th minute goal was enough for all 3 points in Phuket and JW Rangsit restored some pride with a 1-0 victory over Raj Pracha. Air Force and Bangkok FC extended their unbeaten runs as they cancelled each other out at the Thupatemi.

Division 2 Bangkok
Luk Esan 0-3 Samut Prakarn Utd
Central Lions 1-0 Bangkok Christian
Rayong Utd 1-0 Kasem Bundit
Samut Sakhon 2-0 Customs Utd
Thai Honda 3-0 Nonthaburi
Assumption Thonburi 1-2 R-BEC
Kasetsart 4-1 Rangsit FC

Samut Sakhon and Thai Honda still lead the way after the pair had routine home wins. R-BEC finally won an away game as they beat Assumption 2-1 and Rayong United remain fourth after their close fought 1-0 victory over Kasem Bundit. Last year's champions, Kasetsart, are up to fifth after their biggest win of the season over Rangsit FC.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Thai Port 0-2 BEC Tero Sasana

Two second half goals from Chanatip Songkrasin were the difference between the sides as BEC Tero won the downtown Bangkok derby 2-0.

The first goal credited to Chanatip on 69 minutes was debatable as his shot took a wicked deflection off Mario Cesar to beat the wrong footed Wanlop in the Thai Port goal. There was no doubting who scored the second as Chanatip raced from his own half in injury time to score Tero's second with barely a challenge from a Port defender.

Before the goals it had been a fairly uneventful contest with the closest to a goal coming shortly after the interval when Wanlop had to make a point blank block with his foot from Korakod.

Pisan in the BEC goal had a quiet afternoon as Thai Port's 4-5-1 formation never threatened despite the fact that Tero's backline looked slightly shaky at times. BEC Tero will be happy with the result even though they weren't at their best. The Fire Dragons have now won five in a row and sit proudly in 3rd place. Next weekend they face unbeaten Bangkok Glass in a testing match at the Thephasadin Stadium.

AFC Cup - Matchday 6 Preview

AFC Cup  - Group G
Home United v Chonburi
Yangon United v Citizen AA

With Chonburi and Home United both confirmed as qualifiers for the last 16, the remaining issue now is to determine who finishes in first place. Finishing top would guarantee the group winners a home tie in the last 16's one off match while the runners up would have to travel to either Syria, Iraq or Lebanon. None of the aforementioned destinations could be described as appealing, so winning Group G is essential for Chonburi. To accomplish this, the Sharks need to remain undefeated on their trip to the Bishan Stadium in Singapore. As Chonburi have failed to win an away match on seven previous attempts this year, a draw could be their most likely route to success.
The other game between Yangon United and Citizen AA is a deadwood match as both sides have little else than pride to play for.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

BBCU 0-2 Pattaya United

Rajamangala Stadium
Pattaya moved back into the top half of the table as they beat a poor BBCU side 2-0. The "Rocking Dolphins" had to be patient as they scored two second half goals to eventually run out comfortable 2-0 winners.

The home side edged the first half chances and the closest they came to scoring was in the opening minutes when Kenneth Akpueze struck the base of the post with a header from a free kick.

Pattaya were fairly quiet for the first hour and they seemed happy to defend deep and hit BBCU on the counter attack. BBCU barely threatened and Pattaya's tactics paid off in the 64th minute when Paul Ekollo opened the scoring after a quick breakaway.

The game was wrapped up in injury time as Kim Yong Yeon scored after another counter attack.

Final Score
BBCU had plenty of possession throughout the 90 minutes but their attack was well marshaled by the Pattaya defence. It's going to be a long season for the Big Bang and finishing in 15th place would be a realistic achievement. Pattaya won't finish fourth again on this evidence but a top half finish is certainly attainable.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Army United 1-0 Chonburi

Army United inflicted Chonburi's first defeat in the TPL this season as they edged out the Sharks 1-0. It was an engaging game although it wasn't one for the football purists.

Lucas Daniel was making his debut in between the sticks for Army United, and he was the busier goalkeeper in the first half making a block from Dossevi and then clearing up a goal line scramble as the Sharks pressed for an opener.

The only goal of the game came on 39 minutes from a nice individual goal from Issarapong. The close season signing from Sisaket cut back from the byline and then beat two players before unleashing his shot past Sintaweechai in the Chonburi goal.

The second half though was disheartenly a tale of injuries. Some were genuine whereas other were purely comical. Twice in the second period, Army players shamefully rolled back onto the pitch to receive treatment from outside the perimeter lines.

By the time 80 minutes had arrived, Chonburi had used all three subs and they were effectively down to ten men when Dossevi cramped up. He did eventually limber back on 10 minutes later but by that time he was virtually finished.

Just as the fourth official held up the board showing 8 minutes of injury time, Chonburi were inches away from equalizing as Diakite's onward header hit the crossbar.

With the last kick off the game, Pipob had a great chance to level but his shot on the swivel flew over the bar.

Beating Chonburi is an impressive scalp for Army United but their antics in the second half were particularly embarrassing. Nonetheless, Issarapong showed good skills in the first half and Daniel Blanco was immense in the second as Army snuffed out the Choburi attack.

The Sharks have an impeccable record at home, but away from the Chonburi Stadium they haven't won in 7 attempts in all competitions this season. That highlights where their problems lie!!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

FA Cup Draw - Round 2

Pattalung v Suphanburi
PTT Rayong v Sriracha
Air Force Utd v Songkla
R-BEC v Ratchaburi
Bangkok Utd v Thai Honda
NSRU v Rayong FC
Hat Yai v Krung Thonburi
Siam Navy v Ayutthaya
Maptaphut Rayong v Korat
Trat v FC Phuket
JW Rangsit v Krabi
Ratchapreuk College v Bangkok FC
Khon Kaen v Pattaya City
Raj Pracha v Chantaburi

Saraburi FC did not enter.

The one-leg ties to be played on 9 or 16 May.  

The 14 winners of these ties will join the 18 TPL clubs in the draw for the round of 32.

Weekend Preview 4-7 May

Army Utd v Chonburi

Osotspa Saraburi v Muangthong
BBCU v Pattaya Utd
TOT v Chiang Rai Utd

Isan Utd v Police Utd
Chianat v TTM
Bangkok Glass v Samut Songkram
Thai Port v BEC Tero

Buriram Utd v Wuachon Utd

The TPL will be spread over four days this holiday weekend with Army United and Chonburi kicking the action off on Friday night.  Army's home form has been patchy with only one win collected from four against opposition that are currently below them in the league standings. Chonburi are unbeaten but have drawn all three of their games on the road. Last season Chonburi won a 4-3 thriller in the corresponding fixture although Army exacted some revenge a few months later by eliminating the Sharks in last 8 of the FA Cup.
Muangthong's visit to Osotspa Saraburi will bring back memories of last season's 5-1 thrashing. This game was at the beginning of the campaign and looking back now it was an early indication of troubled times for the Kirins in 2011. Right now though, Muangthong sit proudly on top of the league and could move temporarily 5 points clear of Buriram United with a victory in Saraburi.
BBCU and TOT squat just outside of the bottom three and will be looking at their home games this Saturday as a chance to creep into mid-table. Due to fixture juggling, this will be TOT's sixth home game out of eight while it's only BBCU's third game at the Rajamangla. BBCU welcome an off-color Pattaya United and TOT take on a Chiang Rai Utd side that appear to be suffering from a bit of second season syndrome.
On Sunday there are four matches which include a downtown Bangkok derby between Thai Port and BEC Tero Sasana. The duo both gathered a fruitful return of points in April after sluggish starts in March. 
Bangkok Glass's unbeaten home record should remain intact after the visit of Samut Songkhram. The next stop for the TTM cavalcade of entertainment is Chainat while Police United hit the road for the sixth time in a matter of weeks as they make the long trip to Isan United.
The Monday night contest is an alluring one between Buriram United and Wuachon. As most Thai football fans are aware, Buriram FC transformed into Wuachon United during the close season. Wuachon have several ex Buriram PEA and Buriram FC players in their ranks, and this will be the first meeting of the clubs since their separation.

Division 1
Ratchaburi v Pattalung
FC Phuket v Saraburi
Chantaburi v Sriracha
Siam Navy v Suphanburi
Krabi v Khon Kaen

PTT Rayong v Bangkok Utd
Songkla v Korat
JW Rangsit v Raj Pracha
Air Force Utd v Bangkok FC

The top 3 all play at home this weekend. Leaders Krabi welcome Khon Kaen, Ratchaburi take on an out of sorts Pattalung and PTT Rayong host Bangkok United.
In fourth, Sriracha will be expecting 3 points from their trip to bottom placed Chantaburi while fifth placed Suphanburi might have to settle for a point at Siam Navy as the Sattahip side have drawn all of their home games this season.
Elsewhere, FC Phuket v Saraburi already has the look of a relegation 6 pointer and JW Rangsit need to bounce back against Raj Pracha after last week's humiliating 5-0 loss at Bangkok FC. The Bulligans and Air Force have both won their last two games to move out of the bottom 5 and the pair meet at the Thupatemi on Sunday. Songkla have won three out of three at home and they'll see the visit of Korat as a chance to extend that sequence to four.

Division 2 Bangkok
Samut Prakarn Utd v Luk Esan
Central Lions v Bangkok Christian
Rayong Utd v Kasem Bundit

Samut Sakhon v Customs Utd
Thai Honda v Nonthaburi
Assumption Thonburi v R-BEC
Kasetsart v Rangsit FC
Krung Thonburi v North Bangkok

The leading duo of Samut Sakhon and Thai Honda will be expecting home victories with games against opposition from the lower half of the table. Third placed R-BEC have yet to win away and they have a golden opportunity to change that when they visit Assumption Thonburi. Rayong United and Kasem Bundit meet on Saturday and the winner of this would move into the top 3 for at least 24 hours.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

AFC Matchday 5 - Review

AFC Champions League - Group H
Kashiwa Reysol 1-0 Buriram United
Guangzhou Evergrande 1-3 Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors

Buriram United were nursing a third consecutive defeat in Group H after losing 1-0 to Kashiwa Reysol in Japan. The only goal of the game was scored midway through the first half when Leandro Domingues was allowed to waltz through the Buriram defence before slotting past Sivaruck. Shortly before the break, Buriram were reduced to 10 men when the cumbersome Ekkwalla was dismissed for receiving two yellow cards. The Thunder Castle's best chance to level came on 55 minutes, but Ohandza fluffed his lines after being put clear through on the goalkeeper. The J-League side held on cautiously to their 1-0 lead as Buriram tired in the closing stages.
In the other group game, Chinese side Guangzhou Evergrande were dealt a blow with a 3-1 home defeat against Jeonbuk. The South Koreans scored two goals in injury time to move to the top of Group H on 9 points. Guangzhou and Kashiwa have 7 while Buriram are fourth with 6 points.
For Buriram United to qualify for the last 16, they need to beat Guangzhou Evergrande and hope that Jeonbuk don't lose at home to Kashiwa Reysol on the final match day.