Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Thai FA Cup - Round 3 Preview

(Wednesday 1 August)
Police v Wuachon Utd
Khon Kaen v Chiang Rai Utd
Chainat v TOT
Ayutthaya v Krabi
Buriram Utd v Chonburi
Rayong FC v Thai Port
BBCU v Ratchaburi
Bangkok Glass v Osotspa
Muangthong v Hat Yai
Pattaya v BEC Tero
Army v Trat
Suphanburi v Bangkok FC

The Thai FA Cup 3rd Round kicks off this Wednesday with Buriram United against Chonburi the pick of the fixtures. Neither side will relish losing to their fierce adversary so I expect they'll field their strongest teams. The duo have lost pace with Muangthong in the TPL and winning one of the cups appears to be their best route to silverware this season.

There are four regional league sides hoping to prove that the romance of the cup is still alive. Hat Yai will be serious underdogs at Muangthong and it's tough to see an upset at the Thunderdome. Trat, third in the Central East league, will also be a major outsider for their trip to Army although the White Elephants showed great fighting spirit last Sunday as goals in the 92nd and 94th minutes seized a 2-2 draw against promotion rivals, Ang Thong. 

The more likely upsets could come at Ayutthaya and Rayong United. With bigger fish to fry, Krabi may well field a weakened team as they travel to the ancient capital of Ayutthaya. The Energy's last encounter with a regional league side didn't go to plan as they were eliminated from the Toyota League Cup by Customs United. TPL's Thai Port head to Rayong where they'll most likely receive a hot reception both on and off the park. The passionate fans of Rayong have only seen one loss at home this season and the Wild Horses will be quietly confident of taming the Port Lions.

In total there are five all TPL clashes so we'll be saying cheerio to at least five of the big boys. BBCU could well be another top division side eliminated as they host Ratchaburi at the Rajamangala.

From the ties on the 15th August, TTM's home match with Korat has banana skin written all over it while Esan United won't be savoring their trip to PTT Rayong.

(August 15)
PTT Rayong v Isan Utd
TTM v Korat
Songkla v Bangkok Utd
Samut Songkhram v Raj Pracha

Monday, July 30, 2012

Weekend Review 28-29 July

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

Christian Nade's 90th minute penalty winner on the rain soaked Samut Songkhram pitch, has planted the TPL crown firmly into the hands of Muangthong United. The former Heart of Midlothian striker netted for Samut Songkhram after David Bayiha had won his side a penalty kick. It was a bad day all round for the Chonburi Sharks as Suttinan was dismissed on 77 minutes and some of their fans were injured as a bottle throwing contest ensured after the match. I'm sure Chonburi will be glad that they don't have to meet their Mae Klong nemesis again in the TPL this season. As this was happening, Muanthong were enjoying a comfortable evening with their 3-0 victory over TTM moving them eight points clear at the top.

The most bizarre goal of the weekend must be BEC Tero's first against Wuachon. It looked like BEC were supposed to return the ball to Wuachon from a throw in, yet new boy, Wichaya, failed to read the script and took a shot on goal. To rub salt further into the Fighting Bulls' wounds, the shot comically bobbled a couple of times before nestling in the bottom corner of the net.  BEC weren't deterred and went on to win the game 2-1 moving level on points with Buriram United who drew 0-0 at Police United.

Pattaya United continue to slide on a slippery slope as they were held 2-2 at home to Chiang Rai United. The ever reliable Niweat spared the the Dolphin's blushes with a rasping 76th minute free kick to grab an equalizer. That draw takes Pattaya's winless sequence to eight games.

Juninho could be a gem of a signing for BBCU as his late brace at Chainat helped his side to a 3-1 win and hence moved them out of the bottom three. George Ekeh's first goal for BG in the 4th minute was enough to see off Osotspa while TOT jumped back into the top half with a 3-1 win against Esan Utd. Thai Port and Army drew 1-1.

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

Ratchaburi, Suphanburi, Krabi and PTT Rayong all maintained their promotion push with wins while Bangkok United and Sriracha drew 0-0.

It's been a contrasting couple of weeks for Air Force United and Bangkok FC. The Bulligans were buoyed recently by the appointment of Zico as head coach and the acquisition of Jo 5 Yards set pulses racing, yet they've lost their last three without finding the net. The Bulligans are perilously close to the drop zone while Air Force United have collected nine points from the last nine available to move into the top half of the table. Granted the Airmen haven't faced the sternest of opposition in their last three, but they can only beat what's put in front of them.

JW Rangsit and Raj Pracha are becoming detached from the pack and unless things improve they'll be joining Chantaburi in the regional leagues next term. Above them it's tight with only 4 points separating seven clubs between 9th and 15th.

Division 2 BKK
Rangsit FC 0-1 Assumption Thonburi
Kasetsart 2-0 Chamchuri Utd
Samut Prakarn Utd 2-1 Globex
Kasem Bundit 1-1 Luk Esan
Central Lions 1-5 Rayong Utd
Samut Sakhon 1-1 Thai Honda
North Bangkok 6-4 Nonthaburi
Customs Utd 2-3 R-BEC
Bangkok Christian 1-0 Krung Thonburi

Rayong United extended their lead at the top to three points as they beat the hapless Central Lions 5-1. Thai Honda grabbed a late point at Samut Sakhon to stay second while Kasetsart moved third after a routine 2-0 home win over Chamchuri. R-BEC are also firmly in the picture as they continued their good run with a 3-2 at Customs.

And finally, just to confirm that North Bangkok 6-4 Nonthaburi was a football result and not a baseball one.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Thai Port 1-1 Army United

Army defender Alessandro Alves played a major part in both goals as Thai Port and Army United fought out a 1-1 draw.

There was obviously some bad blood left from the encounter a fortnight ago as the game burst into life on 20 minutes. Alex Ruella was the chief culprit as players from both sides got involved in an unnecessary bout of chest puffing. The over meticulios referee surprisingly kept his cards in his pocket as play eventually continued.

The best chance of the half though was squandered by former Kilmarnock and Swindon Town striker Danny Invincible when he miscued a header with the goal beckoning.

It was the home side that took the lead on the hour when Ruella set up Olof Watson to shoot past the stranded keeper between the Army sticks. It's debatable whether the strike would have gone in had it not been deflected off the unfortunate Alves.

Within seven minutes, Alves made amends as he was set up by his central defensive partner Chaiwat inside the box to level despite the unconvincing Wanlop getting a hand to the Brazilian's shot.

There was no real further action to report as the game predictably headed towards a draw.

The match stats state that Thai Port had more shots and corners than their guests but on reflection I don't really recall Kosin in the Army goal having too many saves to make. I'd say a draw was a fair outcome as Army extended their unbeaten TPL run to 10 matches to remain in sixth place while Thai Port stay in 14th just two points above the drop zone.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Samut Sakhon 1-1 Thai Honda

Rainy Season!!
An 88th minute leveller kept Thai Honda's promotion hopes bubbling as Samut Sakhon lost two vital points at the death.

Prior to the game their was a massive downpour yet the pitch held up extremely well with little excess water evident on the surface. 

1-0 Samut Sakhon
Samut Sakhon took the lead on 57 minutes when Narongsak flicked a header over the stranded keeper in the Thai Honda goal.

The same man came close to doubling the lead twenty minutes later, but his free kick was knocked over the bar by Kanoksak.

Just as it looked like hosts had earned a hard fought three points, Honda's second half substitute, Prawit, equalized two minutes from time with a sweetly struck free kick from 25 yards out to spoil the host's party.

Both sides will surely be in the shake up come the end of the season for the division two playoffs later in the year. After today's game, Thai Honda remain in second while Samut Sakhon drop to fourth.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Weekend Preview 28-29 July

Police v Buriram United
Pattaya Utd v Chiang Rai Utd
TTM v Muangthong
Samut Songkhram v Chonburi
BEC Tero v Wuachon Utd

Thai Port v Army Utd
Bangkok Glass v Osotspa Saraburi
Chainat v BBCU
TOT v Esan Utd

The two leaders of the title race, Muangthong and Chonburi, travel to relegation threatened sides with Muangthong heading up north to Chinag Mai while Chonburi go west hoping to exact some revenge over the Raging Mackerels who surprisingly beat them a fortnight ago. The traveling Chonburi fans will be desperate to win this one, that is of course provided that they can gain admission into the ramshackle stadium which was jam packed for the visit of Muangthong last Sunday. 

Elsewhere on Saturday, BEC Tero fans will be eager to see new boys Titus Bonai and ex-Real Betis midfielder Arturo 'Arzu' Munos. Arzu has played for the Spanish under 21's while Titus Bonai becomes the first Indonesian to ply his wits in the TPL. At Thammasart Stadium, Police will be hoping that their seven new signings can give their season the kick start it needs. It won't be easy on this occasion as the visitors to Pathumthani are the current title holders, Buriram United. Pattaya have their prodigal son, Ludovick Kengne, back on loan from Chonburi as they entertain Chiang Rai United. The diminutive striker has headed back to Nong Prue after failing to make a significant enough mark at Chonburi.

Meanwhile, Sunday's fixtures have what looks like a 0-0 banker with Thai Port hosting an Army United side that boasts the meanest defence in the TPL. The Big Bang could move out of the bottom three if they're successful at Chainat whereas TOT will be dropping nearer to the pits of the league if they fail to beat Esan Utd. The unpredictable Osotspa travel to the Leo Stadium where they be welcomed by a Glass side whose fortunes seem to fluctuate from week-to-week.

Division 1
Bangkok FC v Siam Navy
Chantaburi v Krabi
FC Phuket v PTT Rayong
Ratchaburi v Songkla
Air Force Utd v JW Rangsit

Pattalung v Raj Pracha
Saraburi v Korat
Bangkok Utd v Sriracha
Suphanburi v Khon Kaen

Ratchaburi and Suphanburi have home matches against mid-table opposition while Krabi travel to Chantaburi with Justine Uche Prince making an early return to his old stamping ground. The Hares will unveil 17 new local signings after their 14 remaining players from Leg 1 refused new contracts despite the appointment of a new chairman.

The Bangkok United v Sriracha clash will have most bearing on the top 6 as the Angels will be seeking to erase memories of their 4-0 defeat at Sriracha two weeks ago. On that same weekend, PTT Rayong trounced FC Phuket 6-0. However, The Islanders are boosted by new signings and they'll be hoping to make a better contest of it this time against PTT.

The Pattalung 13 host Raj Pracha who are now coached by ex Samut Songkhram coach, Worawan Chitawanit. Whether or not that's a good appointment, only time will tell. Korat will make the journey down the Mittraphap Road to Saraburi and Air Force will be looking for a treble of wins as they host their former ground sharers, JW Rangsit. The Bulligans' revival has gone flat in the last couple of weeks and they'll need three points at home to Siam Navy to help edge themselves away from impending danger.

Division 2 BKK
Rangsit FC v Assumption Thonburi

Kasetsart v Chamchuri Utd
Globex v Samut Prakarn Utd
Kasem Bundit v Luk Esan
Central Lions v Rayong Utd
Samut Sakhon v Thai Honda

North Bangkok v Nonthaburi
Customs Utd v R-BEC
Bangkok Christian v Krung Thonburi

It's third against second as Samut Sakhon host Thai Honda. Both sides have led the table in recent weeks but have thrown away points whilst in pole position. That role of chieftain is currently held by Rayong United who travel to Central Lions who have alarmingly slipped down the table to second bottom after a reasonable start.

Kasetsart and R-BEC in fourth and fifth know that at least one of the teams above them will drop points so they need to be ready to capitalize. Kasetsart entertain Chamchuri whilst R-BEC meet old Division 1 foes, Customs United.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Round-up - Wednesday 25 July

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

Ekapoom's 57th minute winner sealed a 1-0 win for Muangthong United as they began Leg 2 with a 1-0 victory over Samut Songkhram. Chonburi remain five points behind in second with three second half goals seeing them to a comfortable 3-0 over BEC Tero. Buriram United now trail Muangthong by 12 points after they were held at home by Esan Utd.

Elsewhere, there were draws at Nong Prue, Thammasart, Tinsulanon and the Army Stadium, while the Rajamangala and Saraburi stadiums witnessed home victories. The Big Bang's 3-2 win over TOT was their first home triumph since the opening day of the season. The return of Lazarus Kaimbi's to Osotspa ended pleasantly as he netted an 86th minute winner to give his side a 2-1 victory over Chainat.

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

Ratchaburi extended their lead to six points with their 2-0 win at JW Rangsit. Krabi were surprisingly beaten at home by Siam Navy which meant that Suphanburi moved into second and Sriracha jumped into third after the pair enjoyed 3-0 victories.

Bangkok United and PTT Rayong also won to keep the gap between second and sixth to three points.

It was a good evening for Air Force and FC Phuket as they moved out of the relegation places courtesy of 1-0 away triumphs. Saraburi and Pattalung replaced them in the drop zone after away losses.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Army United 0-0 Bangkok Glass

Army United and Bangkok Glass drew a blank as they cancelled each other out for the second time in five days.

The Home of Gentlemen almost saw a goal in the opening minutes when Bjorn Lindemann warmed the palms of Kritsana in the BG goal.

The visitors prominent threats came through Leesaw midway through each half with a header that flew inches over the bar and a shot that he blasted over with his left peg after good set up play by Samuel Ajayi.

There were few talking points during the game as Bangkok Glass stay in fifth courtesy of superior goal difference over Army United in sixth.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Toyota League Cup Draw - Last 16

Below is the draw for the last 16 of the Toyota League Cup:

Thai Port v Muangthong
Bangkok Glass v Chiang Rai Utd
Suphanburi v BEC Tero
Ratchaburi v Pattaya Utd
Pattani v Wuachon Utd
Samut Prakarn Utd v Buriram Utd
Customs v Chonburi

Ties to be played on Wednesday 22nd August.

Midweek Action - Wednesday 25 July

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

Leg 2 commences with Muangthong United at the head of the pack. Unless something spectacular happens from within the pursuing group, it seems like Chonburi are the Kirins only real challengers for the TPL crown. The fixtures on Wednesday have been reversed from last weekend, although with a plethora of new signings set to make debuts at various clubs, familiarity from last weekend might not be as apparent as anticipated.

Muangthong and Chonburi both enjoyed 2-1 away successes last time out so you'd expect them to be confident enough at home to continue their title quests. Buriram United have several new signings available for the visit of Esan United with the Ćetković brothers from Montenegro adding to the list of foreign internationalists plying their trade in the TPL.

Army and Bangkok Glass have drawn their last three TPL meetings against each other with the latest one being a 0-0 draw last Saturday. Glass may be able to spicen things up with the arrival of the volatile Giorgi Tsimakuridze. Last month the Georgian scored a last gasp equalizer for his old club TTM as they fought back from 2-0 down to grab a point at Army.

Whilst on the subject of TTM, they could move off the foot of the table if their result betters BBCU's. The Tobacco Monopoly head to Pattaya whilst BBCU will be out to avenge last Saturday's 3-2 defeat to TOT. The Klong Toei Army will be hoping that Muangthong loanee, Anusak, can provide the much needed goals that have sorely been missing so far this season. His first assignment could be in Songkla against Wuachon this Wednesday.

Elsewhere, Osotspa host Chainat while Police United make their long overdue return to the Thammasrt Stadium. The arena will be getting plenty of use within the next fortnight as the Crimson Cops have four home games scheduled. Buriram United, Pattaya and Muangthong will quickly follow on after this round's opposition, Chiang Rai United.

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

It's any three from the top 6 as the Division 1 promotion hunt livens up. Ratchaburi have been the best side in Leg 1 and should have enough about them to be playing TPL football next season. They could be joined by any two from five with big spending Suphanburi set to unveil the aging duo of Ney Fabiano and Sutee Suksomkit for Leg 2. They'll be opposed for their debuts by the much travelled Sarayoot Chaikamdee as his latest club, Bangkok FC, travel to Suphanburi.

Second placed Krabi have bolstered their strike force be signing Justin Uche Prince and they have taken John Mary on loan from Buriram although the deal for the youngster apparently hasn't been signed and sealed yet. The official TPL website lists Bangkok United as returning to the Thai Japanese Stadium after a six week absence for their match with Saraburi.

Things aren't looking any brighter for Pattalung, Raj Pracha and Chantaburi. With Leg 1 just finishing last weekend, many registered players will no longer be eligible, and with limited resources, you have to wonder where they get the finances to acquire new players. PTT Rayong, Korat and Air Force will be aiming to cash in on their opponent's misfortune.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Weekend Review 21-22 July

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

Muangthong maintained their five point lead courtesy of a 2-1 victory at a full to the brim Samut Songkhram stadium. The unlikely hero of the day was Thitipan with his 76th minute goal proving to be the winner.

Chonburi came from behind to record their eighth consecutive TPL win over BEC Tero with second half goals from Pipob and Dossevi earning the Sharks a 2-1 win. Bangkok Glass and Army cancelled each other out in a 0-0 draw while Buriram dropped more points as they were pegged back at Esan United for a 1-1 draw. It could have been worse had Sivaruck not felled Monthol just outside the box as he was rounding him in injury time. The Buriram keeper was rightly red carded and his cynical foul probably saved his side a point.

TOT finally saw the Bas Savage moonwalk as his late goal won all three points for the Laksi side. Dudu's brace looked to have earned Osotspa a valuable three points at Chainat but they blew their 2-0 advantage allowing the Hornbills to score two late goals. Thai Port v Wuachon ended 0-0 while Chiang Rai Utd edged out Police United 1-0. I'm finally glad to put the statistic of TTM not scoring a home goal to bed as they finally got one through Laksana to beat Pattaya United 1-0. It was a shame that only 569 spectators witnessed the Tobacco Monopoly's first ever TPL goal in Chiang Mai.

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

Ratchaburi opened a four point gap at the top after they beat JW Rangsit 3-1. Second placed Krabi collected a useful point at Siam Navy while Suphanburi remain in third with a late winner at Bangkok FC. Sriracha, Bangkok United and PTT Rayong all earned fine wins to keep in touch with the top three.

Air Force United ended their five game goalless streak with a four goal blitz in one game against Raj Pracha. Hermann helped himself to a hat-trick as the Airmen won 4-2. The Swatcats showed no compassion for ailing Pattalung by sweeping them aside 3-0 while elsewhere in the south FC Phuket and Songkla drew 0-0.

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

The leadership baton passed back to Rayong United as they beat promotion rivals Kasetsart 2-1. Thai Honda relinquished top spot after they were held 1-1 at home by North Bangkok. R-BEC and Samut Sakhon both enjoyed victories to keep themselves firmly in the promotion hunt.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Bangkok FC 0-1 Suphanburi

Pipat Thonkanya's late winner kept Suphanburi in the top 3 as Bangkok FC were beaten 1-0. The former Thai international player's late introduction proved pivotal as he smashed home the winner two minutes from full time.
Defensive stuff

I'll be polite and say that the first half was a cagey affair as both sides were reminiscent of the pre-Wenger Arsenal approach of playing defensive football (younger readers ask your dad).

The first real effort on goal came after the hour mark as Peeratat missed a glorious chance at the back stick with a free header from a corner.
Super sub

I've never been a great fan of zonal marking at corners and this was to be the Bulligans undoing. With two minutes left, a long corner found an unmarked Pipat beyond the same back post, and he volleyed home while umpteen home defenders were marking space inside the six yard box.

Zico takes the Balotelli bid challenge
Suphanburi's game plan was played out to perfection today as they probably just shaded the contest. They are fairly dull to watch compared to Ratchaburi or Sriracha, but they have a steely determination about them that will probably see them in the TPL next season. As for Zico, I'm a great admirer of what he has achieved and the way he conducts himself, but I'll be honest and say that his BBCU side weren't pretty to watch last season. With the attacking options that he had available to him today, I feel his new side should have been more forceful in attack. With Sarayoot set to make his debut, that should hopefully change.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Thai Port 0-0 Wuachon United

Thai Port and Wuachon United played out a tame goalless draw at the PAT Stadium.

Korean, Whoo Hyun, almost gave the hosts an early lead but his close range header was finely saved by Wuachon goalkeeper Chayoot.

Port had another great chance on the half hour mark but Mario Cesar Da Silva couldn't connect from inches out after a free kick had been parried into his path by the visitor's keeper.

The first half was becoming a tale of set pieces and central defenders as Wuachon's Kone Seydou got into the act when his header stuck woodwork as the interval loomed.

In the second half, Wuachon had more shots at goal although the majority of them were wildly off target. The closest the Fighting Bulls came was minutes from the end when Aron da Silva was whiskers away from grabbing a late winner.

On the whole, a draw was a fair result. Port had some decent build up play but the lack of options in the box was alarming at times. Thai Port have gone almost six hours of football now without a TPL goal with the last one being Sarawut's strike against Buriram United. The arrival of Anusak and the return from injury of Alex Ruella will surely help matters. As for Wuachon, they certainly tried to win the game rather than sitting back for a point. They didn't play particularly well yet they showed enough to suggest that they'll comfortably finish in the top half of the league.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Weekend Preview 21-22 July

Chainat v Osotspa Saraburi
Bangkok Glass v Army
Thai Port v Wuachon
BEC Tero v Chonburi

Samut Songkhram v Muangthong
TTM v Pattaya Utd
Chiang Rai Utd v Police Utd
Esan Utd v Buriram Utd

This weekend marks the end of Leg 1 with match-ups this round being reversed next Wednesday due to the fixtures for Leg 2 being mirrored.

Muangthong will see their double header with Samut Songkhram as an opportunity to haul six points although the color of money may be the Kirins biggest enemy. According to sources, Samut Songkhram players have the lure of a 1M baht bonus from their sponsors if they can beat MTU in their next two games. The Mae Khlong players already pocketed a 500K perk for winning at Chonburi, so beating SMS may be more difficult than anticipated for Muangthong.

Chonburi produced a stunning comeback on Wednesday against Chainat to head the chasing pack. However, the pursuing group will take points off each other as BEC Tero host Chonburi and Bangkok Glass take on Army. Tero have lost their last seven TPL meetings with Chonburi while Army have never beaten Bangkok Glass in the TPL although they did mange to hold BG to 1-1 draws on both occasions last season.

Buriram United fans will make the rare trip eastwards as they travel to Ubon Ratchathani. Esan United haven't particularly caught the eye but they do sit in the top half of the league. In recent matches, Buririam have only collected five points from their last five fixtures while Esan Utd have doubled that total in their last five.

At the foot, there are plenty of clashes of interest which could reshape the bottom of the league table over the next few days. TOT, who haven't won in six, won't anticipate stretching that run to eight with two meetings against BBCU. Chiang Rai Utd and Police will both be looking for four points against each other as will Chainat and Osotspa. Thai Port's splendid win over Buriram appears to have been a one off exploit as they have failed to find the net in their last two TPL games. The Klong Toei side have struggled creatively without the injured Alex Ruella. Nevertheless, at least Port have scored some goals in front of their home support unlike TTM who have yet to break their duck. Pattaya are the latest side to face the TTM (mis)firing line.

Division 1
Sriracha v Khon Kaen
Saraburi v Bangkok Utd
Air Force Utd v Raj Pracha
Chantaburi v PTT Rayong

Siam Navy v Krabi
Bangkok FC v Suphanburi
Pattalung v Korat
Ratchaburi v JW Rangsit
FC Phuket v Songkla

As with the TPL, the Division 1 schedule has been flipped. After Wednesday night's games, the top 2 of Ratchaburi and Krabi have put some daylight between themselves and the rest. The Dragons have the easier couple of matches coming up as they take on JW Rangsit while Krabi face tougher tests against Siam Navy.

A few weeks ago, Suphanburi's coach said he'd step aside if his side weren't in the top 3 at the end of Leg 1. At this moment his job is safe by one point as the big spending side cling on to third place. Come Monday that might not be the case as the Warriors face Zico's resurgent Bulligans. Standing in line to replace Suphanburi are Sriracha, Bangkok United or PTT Rayong.

At the other end, with Chantaburi as good as gone, the next two clubs propping up the league, Raj Pracha and Air Force, have what could be described as a 12 pointer in the next few days. The struggling duo have a rich history within the Thai game and unless both show an upturn of form in leg 2, then they'll have uninspiring trips to Central Lions and Krung Thonburi looming next term. The other two sides filling up the bottom five are FC Phuket and JW Rangsit. The Islanders will stay in the south for the next two as they tussle with Songkla while as mentioned earlier, JW will most likely stay in the relegation spots after their encounters with leaders Ratchaburi.

Division 2 Bangkok
Samut Prakarn Utd v Rangsit FC
Krung Thonburi v Central Lions
Nonthaburi v Kasem Bundit
Chamchuri Utd v Samut Sakhon

Luk Esan v Customs Utd
Assumption Thonburi v Bangkok Christian
R-BEC v Globex
Thai Honda v North Bangkok
Rayong Utd v Kasetsart

The noteworthy contest this time out is Rayong United v Kasetsart. Back in the early weeks of the season when Rayong Utd were formerly known as Prachinburi Utd, they defeated Kasetsart 2-1 as last season's champions endured a sluggish start. Kasetsart have steadily improved and if they can get through this one undefeated you'd feel the momentum would be with them with a relatively easy schedule to follow.
Thai Honda would almost certainly kill off North Bangkok's promotion bid if they beat the Horsemen on Sunday while R-BEC should be too strong for Globex. Samut Sakhon haven't been firing on all cylinders lately and they may have to settle for another solitary point as they travel to Chula Uni's Chamchuri.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Wednesday 18th July - Preview

Chonburi v Chainat
Chiang Rai Utd v Pattaya

Chonburi aim to bounce back from their disappointing 2-1 loss to Samut Songkhram last Saturday. The Sharks currently sit eight points behind runaway leaders Muangthong, and three points are necessary for Chonburi to keep things interesting at the top. Surprisingly, their opponents, Chainat, are unbeaten on the road with three wins and four draws from their seven away fixtures. Last time out Chainat beat BBCU 1-0 at the Rajamangala despite not playing particularly well.

I'd imagine Chiang Rai United and Pattaya will be disappointed when they look at their positions in the league table. The Fighting Beetles would have been aiming for a top half finish this season after they easily consolidated their top flight status in their maiden TPL season. Just now CR Utd are currently in 13th position. Pattaya had a storming second half to the season last year and they defied all expectations to finish in a lofty fourth position. The most optimistic of Dolphin fans wouldn't have been expecting to challenge for the title this season, but they would have been hopeful of keeping tabs with sides like Army and BG. Currently Pattaya are in the lower half of the table although they could move back into the top half with a victory at the United Stadium. 

Division 1
Siam Navy v Bangkok FC
Krabi v Chantaburi
Songkla v Ratchaburi
JW Rangsit v Air Force
Raj Pracha v Pattalung
Korat v Saraburi
Khon Kaen v Suphanburi

It's been a dramatic week for Pattalung FC. Last Thursday, the club was reported to have been abolished by the owner yet on the following day, he had a change of heart and decided to keep the club afloat. Since then the club has been frantically trying to find players eligible for leg 1 to field a team of 11 for Wednesday's match at Raj Pracha. For Raj Pracha it's also been a difficult few weeks with rumours of unpaid salaries and news that their coach will step down / be fired after leg 1 has finished. Troubled times indeed!!

Meanwhile, heads at the top of the table will turn southwards as leaders Ratchaburi travel to Songkla and second placed Krabi should be a nailed on certainty for three points as they host a beleaguered Chantaburi.

In the north east, we have the Khao Yai derby as the neighbouring provinces of Korat and Saraburi meet for the first of their double headers this month. Another adjacent province to Korat - Khon Kaen - sees the T-Rex get it on with Suphanburi.

Zico aims to make it two wins out of two for his Bangkok FC outfit, but he'll be up against a Siam Navy side which has shown steady improvement in recent weeks. The final tie has the ex-tennats of the Thupatemi, JW Rangsit, hosting the temporary, homeless owners of the Thupathemi, Air Force United, at a military school in Nakhon Nayok town.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Weekend Review 14-15 July

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

Muangthong United were the big winners this weekend as their comfortable 3-0 win over TTM saw them move eight points clear at the top. Closest challengers Chonburi and Buriram United slipped up as the Sharks lost 2-1 at home to lowly Samut Songkhram while the Thunder Castle twice threw away a goal advantage as they were held 2-2 by Police United at the New I-Mobile stadium.

The chasing pack of BEC Tero, Bangkok Glass and Army all enjoyed victories to close the gap between second and sixth to just three points. BEC and BG both had away day successes while Army edged out Thai Port 1-0 in Din Daeng.

Below the top six, only seven points separate ten clubs between Esan United in 7th and Samut Songkram in 16th. Chainat bought themselves some space as they won 1-0 at BBCU and Esan United came from behind to earn a 1-1 with TOT to stretch the telephone boys winless run to six games.

Division 1
PTT Rayong 6-0 FC Phuket
Air Force Utd 0-1 Songkla
Sriracha 4-0 Bangkok Utd

Sriracha's 4-0 pummelling of Bangkok United saw them leapfrog the Bangkok Angels into fourth place. Sasom's side have came up short in the last two weeks as they've suffered heavy losses to promotion rivals Sriracha and Suphanburi.
PTT Rayong kept in touch of the top five as three goals in each half left Phuket firmly embedded in the scrap zone at the bottom. Air Force United's first league game at North Bangkok University was a largely forgettable one as they lost 1-0 to mid-table Songkla.

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

It appears to be any three from five as the Bangkok region promotion chase livens up. R-BEC posted the biggest win of the weekend as they beat North Bangkok 4-0. Thai Honda and Kasetsart both enjoyed 2-1 wins while Samut Sakhon earned a reasonable point at improving Assumption Thonburi. Rayong United will consider their home stalemate with Customs as two points dropped as they relinquished their holding on the top spot.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Army United 1-0 Thai Port

Danny Invincible scored with a header 10 minutes from time as Army United ground out a 1-0 victory over relegation threatened Thai Port.

Bjorn Lindemann spurned a great chance for Army as he scooped over the bar from close in as the first half passed by in unspectacular fashion.

After the break, Army's most likely route to goal appeared to be from set pieces yet it was Kosin in the host's goal who had to make two blocks from Bawe and Thongchai as the game finally came to life in the last quarter.

Army, though, finally got the breakthrough when Tony Costa crossed from the left for Invincible to fire a header home.

The game turned ugly towards the end as a clash between Mario Silva and Danny Invincible produced a scuffle on the near touchline. There appeared to have been a couple of slaps thrown although the intervening match officials and coaching staff did just enough to stop a mass brawl erupting.

Defeat leaves Thai Port just two points above safety whilst Army, who remain unbeaten in seven league games, remain sixth but more notably move to within three points of second placed Buriram United.

Chonburi 1-2 Samut Songkhram

Samut Songkhram upset the apple cart as their surprise 2-1 victory inflicted Chonburi's first home defeat of the season.
Early pressure

Pipob nodded the Blue Sharks infront after 10 minutes after he latched onto a cross from the left that had been headed back across goal by Diakite. Replays show that the Chonburi striker was a yard offside as he netted.

After the goal, it looked like it would be a routine victory for the title challengers, but they were dealt a body blow on the half hour mark as Chonburi's covering right back, Kushida, was easily brushed off the ball by Zezinando, and the Portuguese man cut back for Decha to level matters. 

Chonburi's early zest was waring off, and shortly before the break, the Mae Klong side stunned the home support as Narat went alone to give the relegation threatened side a 2-1 half time lead.

Sending off
Ten minutes after the break, Samut Songkram were reduced to 10 men after Lee Han Kuk was shown two yellow cards within the space of a few seconds. The first was for back heeling the ball away after a free kick had been awarded to Chonburi and the second was for a light push on the ref. Both very soft, but under the letter of the law, the Korean should really have had no complaints.

No way through
Despite the man advantage, Chonburi never forced Puthasas into a save although Diakite and Pipob (twice) went close with glancing headers as the away side defended resolutely.

It was a precious win for Samut Songkhram and if they keep playing like this they should avoid the drop.

For Chonburi fans, it was a frustrating evening as they wasted a golden opportunity to close the gap on TPL leaders Muangthong United.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Weekend Preview 14-15 July & TLC Results

Chonburi v Samut Songkhram
BBCU v Chainat

Buriram Utd v Police
Muangthong v TTM
Wuachon Utd v BEC Tero
Army v Thai Port
Osotspa Saraburi v Bangkok Glass
Esan Utd v TOT

Chonburi will move to within two points of Muangthong this Saturday evening provided the form book follows its script. The Sharks have won five TPL games on the spin and failure to pick up all three points against Samut Songkhram would be seen as a massive body blow. The other Saturday fixture sees struggling BBCU hosting Chainat. As anticipated, BBCU have found life in the TPL difficult since promotion last season while Chainat have adjusted to the higher league slightly better although I'm sure their coaching staff will be disappointed not to have a few more points in the bag.

On Sunday, Muangthong should (on paper, anyway) have their easiest game of the season as they host basement dwellers TTM.You'd expect TTM to "park the bus" in front of their goal but unfortunately for the Chiang Mai side it's extremely doubtful that they'll be able to hang onto a 0-0 for 90 minutes. Buriram United welcome a Police side who have played 75% of their games as away fixtures. It's not surprising that the Crimson Cops are just one place and two points above the prospect doing at least a year's stretch in the first division.

Last weekend Army United and Thai Port both started without any recognized strikers in their line-ups and hence fought out tepid 0-0 draws. It wouldn't surprise me if this one is another low scoring affair. Whilst on the subjects of stalemates, BEC Tero's last two matches have ended goalless and they visit the Fighting Bulls in Songkla who drew 4-4 with Samut Songkhram last Sunday.

Bangkok Glass have lost their three previous trips to Osotspa in the TPL yet Glass will see this fixture as a prime opportunity to end this losing sequence with Osotspa currently in a patchy run of form. Esan have won their last three at home and they'll be expected to beat a TOT side that has only picked up three points out of the last fifteen available.

Division 1
PTT Rayong v FC Phuket

Air Force Utd v Songkla
Sriracha v Bangkok Utd

Only three matches this weekend with the most significant one being Sriracha v Bangkok United. This game was switched to Sriracha due to maintenance being completed at the Thai Japanese Stadium. Both sides sit just outside the promotion zone with Sriracha in fifth and Bkk Utd one place higher in fourth. Any slip ups by either club would allow sixth place PTT Rayong the chance to close the gap if the Petroleum Authority can beat FC Phuket.

The other match between Air Force and Songkla will be played at North Bangkok University and not the Airman's regular home at the Thupathemi.

Division 2 BKK
Krung Thonburi v Chamchuri Utd
Luk Esan v Central Lions
Assumption Thonburi v Samut Sakhon
Nonthaburi v Rangsit FC
Rayong Utd v Customs Utd

Thai Honda v Bangkok Christian
Kasem Bundit v Globex
R-BEC v North Bangkok
Samut Prakarn Utd v Kasetsart

If Assumption Thonburi v Samut Sakhon had been played in the first leg of the season, it would have been seen as an away banker. However on current form, Assumption will start as favorites as the Proud Junk Ship of Samut Sakhon aim to keep their promotion bid afloat after it has encountered some choppy waters recently.
The top 2 of Rayong United and Thai Honda have home games which they should win while fourth placed Kasetsart have a tricky tie at Samut Prakarn United. R-BEC and North Bangkok remain on the edge of the promotion race with 38 points each and they pair clash at Ladprao 107 this Sunday.

Toyota League Cup - Round 2
Korat 1-2 Muangthong
Kasetsart 1-2 Wuachon (AET)
Samut Prakarn Utd 1-1 FC Phuket (SPK won 4-3 on pens)
Lopburi 0-1 TTM (AET)
Petchaburi 0-4 Chonburi
NSRU 0-4 Chiang Rai Utd
Songkla 2-2 TOT (TOT won 4-3 on pens)
Customs 1-1 Krabi (Customs won 4-3 on pens)
Pattalung 2-4 Bangkok Glass
Pattani 2-1 Osotspa
Suphanburi 2-0 Samut Songkhram
Khon Kaen 0-2 Thai Port
Lamphun Warriors 1-2 BEC Tero
Hat Yai 0-1 Buriram Utd
Trat 2-3 Ratchaburi
Air Force 1-3 Pattaya

Pattani produced the biggest upset of the round as they beat TPL's Osotspa 2-1. Also notable mentions must go to Customs and Samut Prakarn United of the regional leagues who also advanced into the last 16 with penalty wins over Division 1 opponents.  Suphanburi of the first division knocked out Samut Songkhram of the TPL with a 2-0 victory, but you could hardly call this one an upset.

The heavyweight trio of MTU, Buriram and Chonburi all progressed as did local sides BEC Tero, Thai Port, Bangkok Glass and TOT.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Toyota League Cup - Round 2

Toyota League Cup - Round 2
Korat v Muangthong
Kasetsart v Wuachon
Samut Prakarn Utd v FC Phuket
Lopburi v TTM
Petchaburi v Chonburi
NSRU v Chiang Rai Utd
Songkla v TOT
Customs v Krabi
Pattalung v Bangkok Glass
Pattani v Osotspa
Suphanburi v Samut Songkhram
Khon Kaen v Thai Port
Lamphun Warriors v BEC Tero
Hat Yai v Buriram Utd
Trat v Ratchaburi
Air Force v Pattaya

The ties are set to be played this Wednesday with kick off times varying between 15:30 and 18:30. With 10 regional league clubs still involved, expect to see at least a couple of upsets as Div 1/TPL clubs tumble out of the cup.

In Round 1, Kasetsart produced the biggest shock of the round as they dispensed of Esan United 4-0. This time they face another TPL side that has recently relocated to an alternative location in Wuachon United.

Other ties with Regional league sides against TPL opponents are Lopburi v TTM, Petchaburi v Chonburi, NSRU Paknampho v Chiang Rai United, Pattani v Osotspa, Lamphun Warriors v BEC Tero and Hat Yai v Buriram Utd. If I were to pick a banana skin out of this one it would have to be Lopburi v TTM although NSRU v Chiang Rai could be interesting. The Nakhon Sawan Rajabhat University (NSRU) were in the Bangkok Division 2 last season and they did eventually finish a respectable fifth after an indifferent start. The Yellow Dragons have maintained their momentum and now sit third in the northern region albeit seven points behind runaway leaders Chiang Mai FC.

Another interesting contest is Pattalung v Bangkok Glass. The Swiftlets' ongoing problems have been well documented and the return of their recently departed coach Anurak Srikred in the BG technical area should add some extra spice to the cup tie.

There is no doubting where the highest attendance will be as Korat welcome TPL leaders Muangthong United. Locals are anticipating a five figure crowd even though some of the shine has been taken off the glamour tie after it was switched from the weekend to midweek. The Swatcats will be without Muangthong loanee Anon who has to sit it out against his parent club.

There are plenty of other ties and for those of you looking for a live TV fix, you can watch Trat v Ratchaburi live on SMMTV.

And finally, clubs with new signings for leg 2 in the TPL/Div 1 should be eligible to play their recent additions in the cup ties despite the fact they aren't permitted to play league games until the 25th of July.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Weekend Review 7-8 July

Thai Port 0-0 Osotspa Saraburi
Chainat 1-1 Esan Utd
Pattaya Utd 1-1 Police
TTM 0-1 Chonburi
Chiang Rai Utd 1-1 Muangthong
BEC Tero 0-0 Army
Samut Songkhram 4-4 Wuachon Utd
TOT 0-1 Buriram Utd
Bangkok Glass 5-2 BBCU

Saturday's two games in the north proved pivotal as Chonburi now have their title destiny in their own hands. The Sharks are only five points behind Muangthong having played one game less. Chonburi left it very late at TTM with the only goal of the game coming in the 97th minute via a Diakite free kick. In Chiang Rai, a packed construction site witnessed Muangthong fightback to earn a point through a Gjurovski goal.

It was a slumbering Saturday elsewhere as the four other matches finished as draws. There was very little to report at the PAT and the Thephasadin as both games bored the pants off the watching spectators, while Pattaya and Chainat claimed home points with 1-1 draws against Police and Esan Utd respectively.

Whatever Saturday lacked in entertainment, Sunday certainly made up for it with an abundance of goals.  Samut Songkhram took the lead on four occaisions against Wuachon only to be pegged back each time with the last equalizer coming in the 91st minute. Be advised though that the highlight clip of this game isn't one for the purists of defensive football. After a sluggish start to their game, Bangkok Glass eventually overwhelmed BBCU 5-2 at the Leo Stadium. The Big Bang have played with a quiet whimper lately with only one win coming since the opening day of the season back in March.
Meanwhile, Buriram United's 1-0 success at TOT keeps them hanging on to the coat tails of Muangthong and Chonburi at the top.

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

The match between Ratchaburi and PTT Rayong was an eight goal belter with the Dragons edging out PTT 5-3 to remain top. Krabi won their fourth successive game beating Phuket 1-0. In that four game winning sequence, the Energy have kept a quartet of clean sheets.

Suphanburi's 3-0 win over Bangkok United helped them leap over their beaten opponents into third place. Pipat notched a brace for Suphanburi to move joint top of the Division 1 goalscorers chart. He is level on 9 goals with Romain Gasmi who was incidentally sent off in the 55th minute of this game.

A Douglas Cobo free kick saw Sriracha on their way to a 3-1 victory as they inflicted Korat's new coach with his first defeat. While on the subject of recently appointed coaches, the new era at Bangkok FC under Zico began with a comfortable 3-0 home victory over Khon Kaen.

Pattalung's squad of 11 produced a superb comeback to salvage a late point with only 10 men. With JW Rangsit leading 2-1, Pattalung had a player sent off in the 85th minute but they managed to draw level three minutes later to earn a precious point. The other troubled Division 1 side, Chantaburi, weren't as fortunate as they lost 4-0 at home to Siam Navy. It's a sad indication of the club's plight when a 4-0 defeat is seen as a reasonable outcome when compared to other recent results.

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

Up until a couple of weeks ago, Samut Sakhon had been formidable at home. On Saturday they suffered their second home defeat in the space of a fortnight as they lost to Rayong United 2-1. That win moved Rayong Utd above Samut Sakhon and Thai Honda to the summit of the league. The Speed Kings lost 1-0 at Kasetsart as the Emerald Nagas moved into fourth spot.
At the bottom Nonthaburi collected their 7th point from three games following a 2-0 win at Globex while the form team of the moment, Assumption Thonburi, gathered their 10th point out of 12 with a 4-0 romping of Central Lions. Both Nonthaburi and Assumption must be rueing their disastrous starts to the campaign!

Toyota League Cup - Round 2
Korat v Muangthong
Kasetsart v Wuachon
Samut Prakarn Utd v FC Phuket
Lopburi v TTM
Petchaburi v Chonburi
NSRU v Chiang Rai Utd
Songkla v TOT
Customs v Krabi
Pattalung v Bangkok Glass
Pattani v Osotspa
Suphanburi v Samut Songkhram
Khon Kaen v Thai Port
Lamphun Warriors v BEC Tero
Hat Yai v Buriram Utd
Trat v Ratchaburi
Air Force v Pattaya

The ties are set to be played this Wednesday with kick off times varying between 15:30 and 18:30. With 10 regional league clubs still involved, expect to see at least a couple of upsets as Div 1/TPL clubs tumble out of the cup.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

TOT 0-1 Buriram United

A queue for tickets at TOT!!
Suriya's first half strike got Buriram United back to winning ways as they beat TOT 1-0 at a packed TOT Stadium.

The only goal of the game was scored on 40 minutes as Suriya finished off at the second attempt after being set up from the left by Frank Achaempong.
Rafael goes close

In the first half Weera was the busier keeper although TOT went close twice through Rafael Santana as the half time whistle approached.

Suriya was eager for a second goal and twice he was denied by fine saves from Weera in the second half. In injury time Weera continued to repel Buriram making a stunning one handed save after Theeratorn had been released following a quickly taken free kick.

Injury concern?
Buriram will be relieved to have gotten back to winning ways after a sticky period. They will be hoping to emulate the world's most famous United (Manchester) and string together a sequence of winning performances in leg 2 to retain their title. How many times have we seen Fergie's team have a shaky start to the season and then go on a winning run of ten consecutive wins to win the title?

On the other hand, TOT must be having an apprehensive look over their shoulder as they are only five points above the relegation trap door. In their remaining 19 games, only 7 of them are at home while 12 of them are to play on the road. The Laksi side will be looking to new boy Amaury Nunes to help steady the ship and maintain their top flight status.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

BEC Tero 0-0 Army United

BEC Tero and Army United played out a drab goalless draw at the Thephasadin Stadium.

The game mirrored the impending rain clouds in that they both threatened to burst into life but at the end they just humbly passed by.

The only save I can recall either keeper making was a block by Army's Kosin with his legs from an Ekaphan shot shortly before half time.

Tero passed the ball neatly and held possession well, but most of their movement was sideways and by the time they knocked the ball forward, they were snuffed out by a well drilled Army defence led by Daniel Blanco.

The Bulligan's new striker
Army will have been satisfied with a point but it's evident that they need to invest in a couple of strikers. They started with two midfielders upfront, one of whom was Lindemann, and Army certainly missed the German's creativity in the centre of the park.

Overall, a point apiece was a fair outcome as BEC Tero have temporarily moved up to third while Army remain in fifth.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Weekend Preview 7-8 July

Thai Port v Osotspa Saraburi
Chainat v Esan Utd
Pattaya Utd v Police
TTM v Chonburi
Chiang Rai Utd v Muangthong
BEC Tero v Army

Samut Songkhram v Wuachon Utd
TOT v Buriram Utd
Bangkok Glass v BBCU

The majority of the TPL clubs return to competitive action for the first time since the middle of June. For Buriram United, they haven't had the luxury of hastily arranging friendlies to fill in the gap as they've had to play catch up on missed games due to earlier AFC Champions League involvement. Whilst playing their four make up games, Buriram have only picked up four points and the buoyant optimism of 2011 is slowly disintegrating as their grasp on the TPL title has substantially loosened. The Thunder Castle travel to the capital for the third time in as many weeks as they visit TOT in Chaeng Wattana this Sunday. The other matches this Sunday evening are Samut Songkhram v Wuachon and Bangkok Glass v BBCU.

The top 2 of Muangthong United and Chonburi make the lengthy treks up north. The Kirins have the more difficult task as they'll have to contend with a passionate throng of Chiang Rai United supporters as the semi-built unimaginatively named "United Stadium" opens its doors for the first time. Meanwhile, Chonburi will be expected to beat TTM provided that they start with their strongest 11. TTM still have the unwanted record of being the only side in Thailand not to score a home goal this season.

Elsewhere on Saturday, the Army will roll into downtown Bangkok to encounter the red shirts of BEC Tero. The Fire Dragons have occupied the top 4 for several weeks now and the Army will displace them from the top 4 with a two goal or higher victory. Thai Port are aspiring to complete a hat-trick of wins in the TPL for the first time in over a year when they face a floundering Osotspa. The continued unavailability of the Thammasart means that the Police v Pattaya match has been switched to Nong Prue, and Chainat will be eyeing only their second home win of the year as they entertain an improving Esan United.

Division 1
Pattalung v JW Rangsit
Ratchaburi v PTT Rayong
FC Phuket v Krabi

Suphanburi v BangkokUtd
Sriracha v Korat
Raj Pracha v Saraburi
Chantaburi v Siam Navy
Bangkok FC v Khon Kaen

With 20 games left to play, the promotion race in Division 1 has thrown up six strong candidates with four of them facing off in Round 15. Table toppers Ratchaburi welcome fifth placed PTT Rayong while Bangkok United in second travel to Suphanburi in fourth.

Krabi in third make their shortest away trip of the season as they visit FC Phuket who have newly branded themselves as "the Islanders." Phuket also plan to unveil a new strip and logo when leg 2 begins at the end of this month.

Another match worth keeping an eye on is Sriracha in sixth against Korat who are one place below them in seventh. Last month, the Swatcats successfully advanced to the second round of the Toyota League Cup at the Blue Marlins expense to set up a lucrative tie with Muangthong United next Wednesday. A repeat of last month's victory would move Korat level on points with Sriracha.

Chantaburi's coach was quoted earlier in the week saying that coaching sessions are being held with only 3 or 4 players present. With rumours that players haven't been paid for 4-5 months, it makes you wonder how long it will be before the club folds. Nevertheless, next up for the Hares are Siam Navy. With 24 goals shipped in their last three games, keeping it to less than five would sadly be seen a reasonable achievement for Chantaburi.

Division 2 BKK
Rangsit FC v R-BEC

Samut Prakarn Utd v Chamchuri Utd
North Bangkok v Kasem Bundit
Bangkok Christian v Luk Esan
Samut Sakhon v Rayong Utd

Kasetsart v Thai Honda
Globex v Nonthaburi
Central Lions v Assumption Thonburi
Customs Utd v Krung Thonburi

Similar to Division 1, there are two big clashes this weekend involving promotion chasing teams. Leaders, Thai Honda aim to complete the double over a Kasetsart side that have only picked up one point from their last two outings. A defeat for the Emerald Nagas in this one would severely dent their play-off bid. Samut Sakhon v Rayong United will be a fiercely contested game and a draw wouldn't be too bad a result for either side.
R-BEC will play at the Leo Stadium on Friday evening against Rangsit FC while North Bangkok will entertain Kasem Bundit a few hundred meters along the Rangsit-Nakhon Nayok Road 24 hours later.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Weekend Review 30 June - 1 July

Thai Port 2-1 Buriram United

Buriram United lost their second game of the week as they went down 2-1 to Thai Port. Early goals for Port gave them a two goal cushion with Buriram's only response being an injury time penalty. The result leaves the 2011 champions eight points off the pace at the top while Thai Port jumped two places to 14th spot.

Division 1
JW Rangsit 1-3 Suphanburi

Suphanburi edged to within one point of third placed Krabi with a 3-1 win at JW Rangsit. Despite playing two-thirds of the game against ten men, the Warriors struggled and needed two late goals to see off a stubborn JW Rangsit 3-1

Division 2 Bangkok
Thai Honda 1-0 Chamchuri Utd
Luk Esan 1-2 Rangsit FC
Krung Thonburi 1-4 Rayong Utd
Kasem Bundit 1-2 Samut Sakhon
Bangkok Christian 2-5 R-BEC
Nonthaburi 1-1 Central Lions
Samut Prakarn Utd 2-2 Customs Utd
North Bangkok 2-1 Globex
Assumption Thonburi 1-1 Kasetsart

It's as you were at the top after most of the top sides recorded wins. Thai Honda secured a tight 1-0 over 10 man Chamchuri while Samut Sakhon came from behind to win 2-1 Kasem Bundit. Rayong United and R-BEC enjoyed slightly more comfortably afternoons with Rayong United beating Krung Thonburi 4-1 while R-BEC won 5-2 at big brother BEC Tero's home as they easily disposed of the other tennents at the Thephasadin, Bangkok Christian. The Christian college must be sick of the sight of R-BEC as they have received two maulings from them this season. The other contest in the early weeks of the season ended 6-0.
Kasetsart were the only side in the top six to drop points as they drew 1-1 at improving Assumption Thonburi. North Bangkok claimed a 2-1 win over Globex to move level on points with Kasetsart. The Horsemen remain in sixth place.

AFC U-22 Asian Championship Qualifying
Thailand 2-4 DPR Korea 
Thailand 4-0 Cambodia 
Thailand 0-1 Laos 
Thailand 1-1 China 
Thailand v Hong Kong (3 July)