Monday, October 29, 2012

Weekend Review 27-28 October

Chiang Rai Utd 2-1 Buriram Utd
TTM 0-2 Police Utd
Samut Songkhram 2-0 Pattaya Utd
BEC Tero 2-2 Muangthong Utd
Thai Port 1-2 Chonburi
Wuachon Utd 1-5 Bangkok Glass
Chainat 1-0 Army Utd
TOT 1-3 Osotspa Saraburi
Esan Utd 1-0 BBCU

Muangthong United's 2-2 draw at BEC Tero Sasana meant they completed the 34 game season unbeaten. It's a remarkable accomplishment for the TPL champions who have improved massively since the appointment of Slavisa Jokanovic. Even the most optimistic of Muangthong fans would never have predicted the successful nature of this campaign at the turn of the year whilst under the guidance of a certain ex-Liverpool striker.
The draw also ensured the BEC Tero finished in third which realistically is a decent achievement. Ex MTU favorite Nattaporn tapped Tero in front before Adnan Barakat and Teerasil (penalty) had the champs ahead at the break. Cleiton Silva levelled in the second half to ensure a share of the points for Tero and his goal meant he finished the TPL's joint top scorer with Teerasil on 24 goals. The nauseating Mario Gjurovski and Rangsan were dismissed in the 93rd minute after a spot of handbags.

In the other matches, the surprise result of the weekend was Bangkok Glass winning 5-1 at Wuachon Utd. Buriram United and Army United both fielded weakened teams and lost as the save themselves for next Sunday's FA Cup final. There were also wins for Police Utd, Chonburi, Samut Songkhram, Osotspa and Esan Utd as the 2012 TPL season drew to a close. The 2013 season is expected to commence in February.

Division 1
Bangkok FC 2-1 Krabi
Siam Navy 2-2 PTT Rayong
Chantaburi 0-0 Songkhla
FC Phuket 4-0 JW Rangsit
Ratchaburi 6-2 Raj Pracha
Air Force Utd 3-1 Korat
Phatthalung 1-4 Bangkok Utd
Saraburi 1-2 Khon Kaen
Sriracha 0-2 Suphanburi

Songkhla became the fifth side to be relegated alongside the already doomed Phatthalung, JW Rangsit, Raj Pracha and Chantaburi. Their 0-0 draw at Chantaburi will probably be the last ever game for Songkhla FC as this branch of the franchise is expected to be disbanded by the owner. The 0-0 draw also meant that opponents Chantaburi went through the whole season without a victory. The Hares finished marooned at the bottom with only four points.
The other two sides who were in relegation danger before the last round, FC Phuket and Khon Kaen, both won in contrasting styles. The Islanders eased to a comfortable 4-0 win over Raj Pracha while Khon Kaen won a fiery contest 2-1 at Saraburi. Recio netted twice for the T-Rex before three of his teammates were sent for early showers. Saraburi did pull one back and had one player ordered off too.
The promoted trio all signed of with victories while Lee Tuck claimed the golden boot award finishing with 23 goals to his name.

Div 2 Playoffs
(Group A)
Pattani 0-2 Ayutthaya
Roi Et 1-1 Phitsanoluk
NSRU 2-1 Rayong Utd

Ayutthaya have asserted themselves as group leaders as they ended Pattani's 1-1 drawing sequence beating them 2-0 in their own backyard. Goals from Jose Ordenes and Sirichai helped open up a five point cushion on third spot.
Dusit shot Rayong Utd into an early lead before Anggelo Machuca levelled from the spot for NSRU. Nattakorn then rattled one in from 40 yards after the interval to win the three points and move NSRU into second position.
Roi Et United continue to baffle as they were held to a 1-1 home draw by bottom side Phitsanoluk. The White Squirrels took a first half lead but they were pegged back when Phitsanoluk scored from a second half penalty. The point leaves Roi Et two points behind second placed NSRU.

(Group B)
Thai Honda 0-1 Chiang Mai FC
Trat 2-1 Rayong FC
Trang 1-1 Sisaket Utd

A full house watched Trat climb into pole position as they beat Rayong FC 2-1. After a goalless first half, which included a 15 minute floodlight failure, Trat took the lead when Miroslav Toth headed them in front early in the second period. The lead was doubled 20 minutes later through Rattaporn before Rayong FC grabbed a late consolation goal.
Thai Honda lost their third consecutive match losing 1-0 at home to Chiang Mai FC.Wuttiphan's first half penalty was the only goal of the match as Chiang Mai earned their first win in Group B. The victory lifts the northerners above the ailing Bangkok regional champions.
On Sunday, Sisaket fought back from a goal down to grab a point at Trang. The Esan club are two points behind the top 2 while Trang prop up the group with 2 points.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Thai Port 1-2 Chonburi

Thiago Cunha netted twice as Chonburi won 2-1 on Thai Port's TPL swansong.

Both sides wasted early chances with Thiago knocking the ball into Wanlop's legs after being sent on his way by Jetsadakorn while Steven Robb missed a sitter with the goal gaping at his mercy.

Thai Port fell behind on 12 minutes when a long ball caught Termchai napping which allowed Thiago the easy task of stroking the ball past Wanlop.

Ten minutes later, another long ball from Chonburi was this time missed by Thongchai and as the left back tried to retrieve the situation, he fouled Thaigo in the box. It was a rather harsh award by the referee, but Thiago wasn't complaining as he coolly sent Wanlop the wrong way to make it 2-0.

However, the hosts began to find their feet with Sarawut fizzing an effort across the goal and Ri Myong Jun headed onto the post after a teasing cross from Robb.

Steven Robb then atoned for his earlier miss when he prodded home Watson's low cross on 45 minutes to give Port a glimmer of hope.

The clock whittled down slowly after the break with few chances for either side. Robb blasted a shot into Sinteeweechai's midriff while Ri Myong Jun's spin and shot in the box flew wide. The closest the Sharks came was when newly introduced sub, Paritas, fired over the bar from close in.

At the end of the game, there was a pitch invasion from the Klong Toei youngsters as they went in search of goodies from the players. Both sides now have about three months to prepare for next season. The pair might be in different divisions but the target of winning their respective leagues will be the same.

Bangkok FC 2-1 Krabi

Lee Tuck and Sarayoot were on target as Bangkok FC signed off the season with a 2-1 win over Krabi.

The match was supposed to have been played with no home fans present after crowd disturbances marred the final whistle last week against Sriracha. In my estimation, at least 1,000 of the official 1,239 attendance would have gone home happy after this contest!

On the rebound
Samuel Danquah should have opened the scoring early on before Sarayoot was tripped in the box by goal stopper, Theerawat. Lee Tuck's stuttering run up from the resultant spot kick didn't fool Theerawat as he blocked the Englishman's shot, but fortunately for the division's top goalscorer. the rebound fell comfortably into his path to be tucked away. The goal was his 23rd of the season and it ensured that Lee Tuck topped the Division 1 goalscoring chart.

Wrong way
On 34 minutes, the referee awarded his second penalty kick of the match when Christiano Lopes was adjudged to have been felled by Mika Chunuonsee in the box. The ex-Sriracha man dusted himself down and made no mistakes as he sent Naratip the wrong way to level.

The Energy should have gone ahead minutes later when Soukaphone jinked his way into the box, but his effort on goal was rifled over from yards out.

The hosts looked the more likely after the break as they targeted the left flank for several raids. Their persistence paid off on 71 minutes when Lee Tuck's cross from the left was headed in by Sarayoot.

Thaweepong and Bolarinwa Ayotomiwa came close to adding to the Bulligans lead, while Chaninthorn whistled a couple of free kicks inches wide for Krabi as the game finished 2-1 to Bangkok FC. At full time, there appeared to have been a red card flashed towards Rachanon as the teams departed the field.

At the end of the season, Bangkok FC finished 10th and five points clear of relegation. Overall they'd have settled for that one month ago, but when you consider the money that has been invested in the club by the owner, they really have underachieved.

Krabi on the other hand should be satisfied with a sixth placed finish although they will be disappointed that they couldn't maintain their promotion push after an excellent first leg of the season.

I'd say both clubs have a decent nucleus in their squads to build on for next term. With sensible investment, I can see the pair challenging for promotion next year.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Midweek Round Up 23-25 October

FA Cup Semi Finals
Bangkok Glass 0-2 Buriram United
Army United 2-1 Chiang Rai United

A brace of goals from Goran Jerkovic ensured that double cup holders Buriram proceeded to another cup final. Buriram United beat Bangkok Glass in the Toyota League Cup semis last week and the Thunder Castle were never threatened in this tie as they comfortably brushed aside a toothless Bangkok Glass.

The initial encounter between Army United and Chiang Rai Utd was rained off on Wednesday evening. When the tie did eventually get played 24 hours later, it was Army who prevailed winning 2-1.
It was however Chiang Rai Utd who took the lead moments after the break through a long range shot from Uilian Souza that Watcharapong in the Army goal made a hash of. The Brazilian goalscorer then went from hero to zero as he was red carded after a needless forearm smash on Narong. The dismissal was the turning point and Army levelled midway through the half when Tatree slipped unnoticed into the CRU box. Danny Invincible then scored from close in to give Army a 2-1 lead which they held onto.
The final between Buriram United and Army United will be played on Sunday 4 November at the Supachalasai.

AFC Cup - Semi Final 2nd leg
Chonburi (2) 1-4 (8) Arbil SC

The great comeback never materialized as Chonburi suffered another 4-1 defeat at the hands of Arbil to exit the competition 8-2 on aggregate. The writing was on the wall as early as the 18th minute when Saab Abdulameer got in front of his marker to glance a header home from a corner. Suttinun gave the Sharks a glimmer of hope as he pulled one back shortly afterwards, but two second half goal from Amjed Rahdi killed the contest. To rub salt further into the wounds, Mustapha Ahmad added another to match the 4-1 scoreline of the first leg.
Arbil will now face Kuwait SC in the final on November 3 at the Francouse Al-Hareeri Stadium in Arbil City.

Osotspa Saraburi 3-1 Chonburi

The 3-1 win guarantees a fifth placed finish for Osotspa Saraburi. Noppanon gave the Sharks the lead on the half hour but by 52 minutes the weary Chonburi side were 3-1 down.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Last Day & Division 2 Preview

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

The 2012 TPL season draws to a close some 226 days after it started back on 17 March. Incidentally, the same opening day fixtures will be reversed to wind up the season.
All the major issues have been decided with Muangthong United being crowned champions and Chonburi as runners-up while Thai Port, BBCU and TTM have already started contemplating life in the second tier.
The BEC Tero v Muangthong game takes the spotlight for two reasons this Sunday. First, Muangthong are trying to complete the unique feat of going through the 34 game season undefeated, and for their opponents, BEC Tero, they need a point to claim third spot above last season's champions Buriram. A point apiece would suit each other very nicely!!
Elsewhere it's just a clambering for final positions with three points separating seven clubs between Esan United in 6th and Chiang Rai Utd in 13th place.

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

The only issue to be concluded is who joins Chantaburi, Raj Pracha, JW Rangsit and Phatthalung in the regional leagues next season. Songkhla currently occupy that fifth demotion spot but you'd fancy them to get three points at ailing Chantaburi. Likewise, FC Phuket should beat JW Rangsit at home so that leaves Khon Kaen needing a point at Saraburi to save themselves from a second consecutive relegation.
At the top, Ratchaburi are already confirmed as champions and they'll be joined in the top flight by Suphanburi and Bangkok United.
The golden boot looks Halifax bound as Lee Tuck currently tops the chart with 22 goals. Next in line is Douglas Gardozo on 19. The Dragons host relegated Raj Pracha and I'm certain Douglas will be granted permission to take every set piece in and around the box as he bids to catch the Bulligan's hitman.

Div 2 Playoffs
(Group A - Sunday)
Pattani v Ayutthaya
Roi Et v Phitsanoluk
NSRU v Rayong Utd

Group leaders Ayutthaya make the long trip to Pattani who have drawn all three games 1-1. The Queen Cannons are undefeated on their own patch this season and I'm sure Ayutthaya would settle for extending Pattani's 1-1 sequence to four matches.
Roi Et finally got their campaign up and running with an impressive 2-0 victory at Rayong United in Round 3. The visit of bottom side Phitsanoluk gives the Esan club an ideal opportunity to build on last week's victory.
Both NSRU and Rayong Utd sit on four points with Roi Et and the pair need to bounce back after defeats last weekend.

(Group B)
Thai Honda v Chiang Mai FC
Trat v Rayong FC

Trang v Sisaket Utd

Rayong FC face their most difficult test so far putting their 100% winning record on the line as they travel to Trat. The two league matches between the Central/East pair were both drawn which hints that we could see a third draw.
Thai Honda have lost their last two games and need to get back on track as they host struggling Chiang Mai FC. The northern side's coach offered to resign earlier in the week after his side threw away a 2 goal lead at home to Trang. However, his offer was rejected by the club owners who'd prefer to make any changes once the playoffs have finished.
Similar to Chiang Mai, Trang have also failed to make any impact in the group so far, but they will be buoyed by their late fightback at Chiang Mai last Monday. The Dugons host Sisaket United who have won their last two.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Midweek Action 23-25 October

AFC Cup - Semi Final 2nd leg
Chonburi (1) v (4) Arbil SC (Tuesday)

If Chonburi need any inspiration on how to overturn a 4-1 first leg deficit into a victory, then they should have been watching reruns of Deportivo la Coruna's 4-0 second leg victory over AC Milan in the UEFA Champions League back in 2004. On that night, AC Milan just thought they had to turn up in northern Spain to complete the formality of progressing to the semi final, and from what I've read in the press, Arbil appear to be suffering from the same bout of self assurance.
The 4-1 scoreline of the first leg flattered the Iraqi champions as they took advantage of some flimsy Chonburi defending. The Sharks will be boosted by the return of Brazilian Thiago Cunha who sat out the first leg due to suspension. A B3million bonus has been dangled in front of the Chonburi snouts by the club chaiman to defy the mountainous odds and qualify for the AFC Cup final.

FA Cup Semi Finals
Bangkok Glass v Buriram United
Army United v Chiang Rai United

Both games will be played at neutral venues with BG and Buriram Utd crossing swords once again at the Rajamangala Stadium while Army and Chinag Rai United will play at Muangthong United's home stadium.
Bangkok Glass will be looking to make it 9th time lucky to end a run of eight consecutive defeats to Buriram. The sides should be familiar with each other having met in the Toyota League cup semi final last week. The Thunder Castle won that tie 4-2 on aggregate.
Army United will be aiming to book an FA Cup final at the third attempt after two previous losses at this stage of the competition in the last two seasons. Their two recent semi finals appearances ended rather meekly with defeats to Chonburi in 2010 and Buriram PEA in 2011. This is the furthest Chiang Rai United have ever been in a cup competition, and they'll be hoping to lift their first major trophy in their short four year history. The form book would point towards Army winning this as they won both league meetings 1-0 this season.

Osotspa Saraburi v Chonburi (Thursday)

A point in this would be sufficient enough to secure a 5th placed finish for Osotspa. It's been a topsy-turvy season for the Saraburi club, but winning their last three games has propelled them to the cusp of a top 5 finish. Chonburi will play this game less than 48 hours after their AFC Cup semi final against Arbil.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Weekend Review 20-21 October

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

Teerasil's 87th minute winner was the concluding nail in Thai Port's TPL coffin as they became the final side to complete the relegation threesome alongside BBCU and TTM.
Thai Port got their noses in front against the lackluster champions through a Kiatjareon free kick, but goals from Dagno Siaka and Teerasil helped Muangthong fight back to claim a 2-1 win and consign Thai Port's fate.

Trinidad and Tobago internationalist, Kendall Jagdeosingh, bagged a hat-trick in Chainat's 4-2 win at Wuachon. The three points for the Hornbills moved them three points clear of Port and with a superior head-to-head record over TP, Chainat confirmed another season in the top flight for 2013.

Pattaya United's end of season slump continued with a 3-1 defeat at BEC Tero Sasana. Ludo was on target again for Pattaya and it's fair to say that his goals have kept the Dolphins afloat. A cute lob from Kato, a Silva penalty and an own goal helped Tero hold onto third place.
Chiang Rai Utd and Police United can breathe a sigh of relief too as their top flight status were secured. CRU edged out TTM 3-2 while a point at home to Samut Songkhram was adequate for the Crimson Cops.

Elsewhere BBCU took the lead once again before caving in at the Rajamangala stadium. This time their losing deficit was half of Wednesday's eight as Buriram United ran out 4-1 winners. Chonburi were held at home 1-1 by Bangkok Glass while Army United and Osotspa enjoyed 2-1 home wins.

Division 1
Round-up was posted yesterday

Division 2 Playoffs
(Group A)
Rayong Utd 0-2 Roi Et Utd
Phitsanoluk 1-1 Pattani
Ayutthaya 2-0 Paknampo NSRU

Pre-group favourites, Ayutthaya FC, took to the summit of the group with a 2-0 victory over NSRU. The Nakhon Sawan side hit the bar in the first half but two second half goals helped the Ancient Warriors open up a three point advantage over the rest of the field.
Roi Et's campaign finally kicked off with an impressive 2-0 win at Rayong United. Similar to Ayutthaya, Roi Et won courtesy of two second half goals even though they finished the match with 10 players.
If it's 1-1 draws that you're after, then Pattani FC is the team to see. Their third successive 1-1 was a highly entertaining match as Phitsanoluk chalked up their first point. Despite having only one point from three outings, Phitsanoluk are only three points behind Roi Et, Rayong Utd and NSRU in the valuable second spot.

(Group B - Sunday)
Sisaket Utd 2-0 Trat
Rayong FC 1-0 Thai Honda

After eight matches in Group B, we are still awaiting our first draw. Rayong FC maintained their 100% winning record and moved clear at the top after they edged out Thai Honda 1-0. Alongkorn's first half goal was enough to send the Wild Horses onto nine points
10 man Sisaket ended Trat's perfect start with two late second half goals.The first was an own goal off Chae Wan Ji and Zola set up Jirawan to complete the victory in injury time. Sisaket Utd join Trat on six points.

Chaing Mai FC 2-2 Trang

Trang staged as sensational last ditch comeback to grab their first point of the group stages. Chiang Mai appeared to have had the game wrapped up on 80 minutes when Anucha gave the hosts a 2-0 lead. Nitiroj was then ordered off for Trang two minutes later, but the Dugons defied the odds scoring twice deep into stoppage time to snatch an unexpected point. Anusorn netted a free kick from the edge of the box before Ben Musah pounced on a goalkeeper fumble to level. Both sides still prop up the group on one point and sit five points behind Trat in second place with seven games left to play.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Division 1 Penultimate Saturday - Round Up

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

Lee Tuck's brace over Sriracha killed off the Blue Marlins promotion hopes and now ensures that Ratchaburi will be joined in the TPL by Bangkok United and Suphanburi next season.
Ratchaburi wrapped up the title in impressive style winning 3-0 at Nakhon Ratchasima. Bouba Abbo was the inspirational figure scoring one and then laying the two others on a plate for teammates to score. Rian Marques completed a miserable afternoon for the Swatcats as he was dismissed in between the second and third goals.
Bangkok United could only muster a 0-0 at home to Air Force United but that was enough to see them over the finishing line. Romain Gasmi almost scored the goal of the season as he tried to lob the AFU keeper from just in front of the halfway line. Unfortunately the French skipper's effort hit the bar.
Big spending Suphanburi saw off Saraburi 1-0 with Pipat deflecting Worawut's shot for the only goal of the game. The vast majority of the 8,641 crowd can now look forward to life in the TPL.
It was a disappointing end for Sriracha as they lost 2-1 at Bangkok FC. The Bulligans took the lead courtesy of Tuck's spot kick just before half time and the Englishman waltzed through the Sriracha rearguard to double the advantage minutes after the restart. The Blue Marlins did pull one back but it wasn't enough. The match ended with objects being thrown by Sriracha fans towards the Bangkok FC players as they went to salute their guests which prompted a comical fight with flags between rival fans.
By my calculations the Bulligans are 99.9% safe from the drop and it would take a freak combination of results on the final day for them to be relegated.
The big encounter at the bottom yesterday saw Khon Kaen beat Phatthalung 2-0. It was a comfortable victory for KK as Phatthalung had to play the last hour of the match with only 10 men. Khon Kaen still require one more point whereas the Swiftlet's Division 1 status has plunged off the cliff. How they must rue those two draws with Chantaburi now!!
The demise of what was once a prosperous Songkhla FC is almost complete as they lost 3-2 in front of 563 spectators at the Tinsulanon. It was only last season that they were watched for one game by 35,000, were chasing promotion to the TPL, and made it to the semi final of the FA Cup. Songkhla did fight back from 2-0 down but their comeback was undone midway through the second half when Chusana curled one into the top corner to restore Navy's lead. Songkhla need to beat Chantaburi next Saturday and hope for a slice of luck from elsewhere to stay up.
FC Phuket jumped out of the danger zone after their simple 4-1 win at Raj Pracha. The Islanders should secure their Division 1 status next weekend with the visit of JW Rangsit.
The other scores were JW Rangsit 4-0 Chantaburi and PTT Rayong 1-0 Krabi.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Weekend Preview 20-22 October

Chonburi v Bangkok Glass
Chiang Rai Utd v TTM

BBCU v Buriram Utd
Osotspa Saraburi v Esan Utd
Army Utd v TOT
Wuachon Utd v Chainat
Thai Port v Muangthong Utd
BEC Tero v Pattaya Utd
Police Utd v Samut Songkhram

As we enter the penultimate round of fixtures, the only placing of significance yet to be decided is who takes the last relegation slot and joins BBCU and TTM in the first division next year.
It appears to be a two way battle between Thai Port and Chainat on 33 points although Pattaya, Police and Chiang Rai Utd could still be dragged back into the scrap should they lose on Sunday and Chainat and Port win. For the Klong Toei favorites to achieve this, they'll have to do what no other club has done in 32 previous attempts and beat the TPL champions, Muangthong United.
If Thai Port were to lose to MTU and if Chainat won at Wuachon, then it would by goodnight for TP as the Hornbill's superior head to head record would ensure that they'd finish above Thai Port in the standings.
As mentioned earlier, Pattaya, Police and Chaing Rai Utd aren't out of the woods yet. CRU should book their safety ticket with the visit of hapless TTM. In similar fashion, Police United would expect to complete their series of seven home matches with a win over Samut Songkhram while Pattaya will probably be relying on favors from elsewhere as they have a tough trip to third placed BEC Tero Sasana.
The rest of the card has Chonburi v Bangkok Glass on Saturday, while it's BBCU v Buriram Utd, Osotspa v Esan Utd and Army Utd v TOT on Sunday.

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

Unlike the TPL, there is still plenty to play for in the first division with two promotion spots and three relegation placings yet to be resolved.
At the top, the final day showdown between Sriracha and Suphanburi has already let Ratchaburi slip into the TPL waiting lounge and they'll be joined by Bangkok United provided they beat Air Force on Saturday. Suphanburi should have too much at home for Saraburi while Sriracha travel to Bangkok FC who themselves are desperate for points for other reasons. Anything other than a win for the Blue Marlins could make the big showdown with Suphanburi irrelevant if results pan out against them.
With Chantaburi, Raj Pracha and JW Rangsit already relegated, there are still two more from five clubs dreading a similar fate. Phatthalung and FC Phuket currently occupy those two unwanted placings with Khon Kaen, Songkhla and Bangkok FC hovering just above them. The biggie at the bottom has to be Khon Kaen against Phatthalung. You feel a home win would determine both clubs futures with KK staying up and Phatthalung going down. FC Phuket are at relegated Raj Pracha and three points should be on the cards for the Islanders. Likewise Songkhla should be able to beat Siam Navy at home and as mentioned beforehand, Bangkok FC welcome promotion chasing Sriracha.

Division 2 Playoffs
(Group A - Saturday)
Rayong Utd v Roi Et Utd
Phitsanoluk v Pattani
Ayutthaya v Paknampo NSRU

It's been tight in Group A so far with few goals scored and plenty of equally matched contests. Three teams are currently tied on four points with two of them meeting this weekend. Central/East champions Ayutthaya welcome NSRU who are venturing outside of Nakhon Sawan for the first time in the playoffs. Rayong Utd also have four points and victory over Roi Et would leave the White Squirrels a mountain to climb. Phitsanoluk make their first home appearance after two away defeats and three points are a must for the Violet Army to get their promotion bid back on colour.

(Group B - Sunday)
Sisaket Utd v Trat
Rayong FC v Thai Honda

Chaing Mai FC v Trang

If both Trat and Rayong FC win this weekend, the pair would open up a healthy six point advantage over the rest of the field. Even at this early stage, you'd have your money firmly on the Central/East double act should this happen. Chaing Mai FC and Trang don't play until Monday evening and they'll probably be hoping for Sisaket Utd and Thai Honda victories so they can move to withing three points of the top should they win this Monday night fixture. The loser can start preparing for another season of regional league football in 2013.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

TPL & TLC Midweek Review

Wuachon Utd 1-4 Chonburi
BBCU 1-8 Muangthong Utd

BBCU's 8-1 mauling at the hands of Muangthong United, confirms that they'll be returning to Division 1 for 2013 after only only season in the top flight.
Nobody expected the avalanche of goals to follow on 26 minutes when Kobenan Lion gave BBCU the lead. The Juventus clad TPL champs hit back with goals from Diago Siaka and two from Teerasil to lead 3-1 at the break, while Rangel added another after half time before Teerasil completed another double and Adnan Barakat notched a late brace to round off the 8-1 rout.

Early goals from Anderson Dos Santos and Phanuwat put Chonburi firmly in control of their match at Wuachon. Kone Seydou pulled one back for the Fighting Bulls but the outstanding Thiago calmed the nerves as his two goals towards the tail end of the match secured the three points for the Sharks.

Toyota League Cup - Semi Final 2nd Leg
TOT (2) 2-2 (3) Ratchaburi
Buriram Utd (4) 1-0 (2) Bangkok Glass

If goals dominated the TPL proceedings, then it was a fiery night of six red cards which grabbed the headlines in the Toyota League cup semi finals.

There were ugly scenes at the end of the TOT v Ratchaburi contest as players and staff traded blows on the pitch after Weera had apparently sparked it off by kicking a playacting opponent.
However, it was a placid opening at the TOT Stadium with Jang Gil Hyeok's 13th minute side footer making it 2-0 on aggregate for Ratchaburi. Paunovic's free kick went through the Ratchaburi keeper on the hour before Bas Savage gave the TPL side a 2-1 lead on the night with 10 minutes remaining. Narentorn though, finished the game off in stoppage time as the first division side reserved a spot in the final. Ratcahburi won the tie 3-2 but TOT can claim the red card count edging it by the same margin as the scoreline.

As reported earlier, Buriram United beat Bangkok Glass 1-0 on the night to win 4-2 on aggregate. There was only one red card in this tie which went to Valery Hiek of Bangkok Glass.

Buriram United 1-0 Bangkok Glass (Agg 4-2)

Buriram United reserved their place in the Toyota League Cup final for the third successive season. The cup holder's 1-0 victory on the night saw them beat Bangkok Glass 4-2 on aggregate and they'll now face Division 1 side Ratchaburi in the final next month.

Before this match commenced, Bangkok Glass knew they needed to find two goals from somewhere to have any chance of overturning their first leg 3-2 defeat.

The away side forced an early chance when a long throw released Ajayi and Sarun was inches away from connecting with Ajayi's cross come shot across the goal.

The push from Bangkok Glass never really materialized with the hosts having chances as Jakkraphan fired over from inside the box and Goran Jerkovic crashed a header onto the bar as it remained goalless at the interval.

The goalscorer
Buriram United were looking comfortable as the second half progressed and their passage to the final was assured on 76 minutes when Adisak capitalized on an incredibly sloppy piece of defending by Noppol. The ball bobbled off the lackadaisical Glass defender straight to Adisak who slotted the ball into the bottom corner of the net.

The Glass Rabbit's misery was complete five minutes from time when Valery Hiek was sent for an early shower after a high boot to Ekwalla's head earned him his second yellow card. There were little complaints as the big man from Cameroon slowly trudged off the park.

Attendance: 19,397
Anyway, the pair will meet again next Wednesday in the FA Cup semi final at the Rajamangala Stadium in Bangkok. For Buriram, they'll also be visiting the same stadium on Sunday to take on relegated BBCU.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Midweek Preview 17th October

Wuachon Utd v Chonburi
BBCU v Muangthong Utd

With league title and runner's up spot already sewn up, Muangthong United and Chonburi can take their foot off the gas for their away trips this Wednesday. BBCU can still mathematically stay up if they win their remaining three games and Chainat and Thai Port lose their last two. Anything other than a victory over the TPL champions would see BBCU join TTM in the first division next term.Wuachon will be missing several first team regulars due to them being farmed out from the stable of their guests.

Toyota League Cup - Semi Final 2nd Leg
TOT (0) v (1) Ratchaburi
Buriram Utd (3) v (2) Bangkok Glass

Ekwalla Herman's late controversial penalty established a 3-2 first leg lead for Buriram United over Bangkok Glass. The Countryside Champions (wikipedia) are now in a strong position to book their third successive Toyota Cup final appearance. Bangkok Glass have it in their locker to produce a one off win in Buriram, but whether they can win by two goals remains to be seen.
In the other tie, TOT need to overcome a 1-0 first leg deficit against Ratchaburi. It's a close game to call and I feel the scorer of the first goal will be vital to the outcome.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Weekend Review 13-14 October

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

Congratulations go to Muangthong United who claimed their third TPL title in four years. Teerasil was on hand to head the only goal of the game as Muangthong beat Chainat 1-0 to move 14 points clear of Chonburi. The Kirins next challenge will be to remain undefeated in their remaining three games to complete a full season without a league loss. No doubt the Thai press will make comparisons to the Arsenal's Invincibles of 2004 should it be achieved.
Meanwhile, second placed Chonburi earned a routine 2-0 win over TOT while BEC Tero moved into third above Buriram United who lost at Osotspa. That was their seventh loss of the season and the fans at the I-Mobile must be scratching their heads at how meekly their title defence has wilted.

Daniel Cortes swept home shortly after the interval as Police United's fine form continued with a 1-0 victory over Thai Port. The victory almost guarantees Police United's status as a TPL club for 2013. Thai Port on the other hand are level on 33 points with Chainat which currently suits the Hornbills as they have a superior head to head record over Port. Pattaya's 0-0 against BG draw moved them onto 37 points which eeks them that bit closer to safety.
BBCU's point against Army kept their survival hopes hanging on by the thinnest of threads but the vultures are already circling and ready to scavenge on their TPL remains.
As for TTM, their 1-0 home loss to Samut Songkram means they have officially finished bottom of the pile.

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

Even though Ratchaburi lost 1-0 at Khon Kaen, they sneaked in through the back door to the TPL as promotion was confirmed. As Sriracha and Suphanburi meet on the final day, the various permutations ensure Ratchaburi will go up. Bangkok United look set to join the Dragons as they just need one win from their last two games after they came from behind to beat FC Phuket 2-1.

At the bottom, we finally said goodbye to JW Rangsit and Raj Pracha as the pair both suffered 3-0 home defeats. Whether or not we will see either of these two again at this level remains to be seen. JW Rangsit are fairly new on the scene, but Raj Pracha have been part of the institution of Thai football for many years.
It's still two from five who will join them in the regional leagues. FC Phuket and Phatthalung both have 34 points while Songkhla, Khon Kaen and Bangkok FC all have 36.

Division 2 Playoffs
(Group A)
Roi Et Utd 0-1 Ayutthaya
Rayong Utd 1-0 Phitsanoluk
Paknampo NSRU 1-1 Pattani

It was another low scoring tight round of fixtures. 1-0 wins for Ayutthaya and Rayong United moved them onto four points while NSRU's home point against Pattani left them on the same total. All three sides have scored two goals and conceded one.

(Group B)
Thai Honda 0-3 Trat
Trang 0-1 Rayong FC
Chiang Mai FC 0-1 Sisaket Utd.

Trat and Rayong have raced to the summit of the group after they both recorded opening back to back wins. A large travelling support watched Trat make their second consecutive 3-0 victory in the playoffs at Thai Honda. Rayong FC didn't have it as comfortable as their Central/East compatriots edging out Trang 1-0.
Last week, there were three home wins in Group B and that was mirrored in Round 2 as Sisaket Utd completed a hat-trick of away wins. Chiang Mai had a penalty saved and hit the post before Sisaket Utd scored the only goal of the game on the stroke of half time. The Lanna Tigers are pointless after two matches while Sisaket are three points behind Trat and Rayong FC.

Wuachon United 1-1 Esan United


While the SCG Stadium was rocking to Muangthong United winning the TPL, I was watching Wuachon United and Esan United sharing an end of season 1-1 draw at the Tinsulanon Stadium. 

It was Esan United who opened the scoring in the 14th minute when the lively Yai Nilwong broke quickly linking up with Mark Burchill before the return pass from the Scot set him up to shoot into the roof of the net at the back post.

Busy man
Minutes later, Ulrich Munze sloppily fluffed a goal kick into the path off Kriangkrai who couldn’t take advantage pulling his shot wide. However, the exThai Port keeper kept his side in control of the contest twice before half time with two fingertip saves, from the same man Kriangkrai.

The away side should have extended their lead shortly after the interval when Yai slipped a precise pass onto Kim Tae Young, but the Korean shot into the keeper’s legs.

Munze once again made a spectacular save on the hour to prevent Jules Baga from scoring, but he could do nothing eight minutes later as Kriangkhai bulleted a header past him from a corner.

The game then slowly fizzled out as it finished 1-1. Wuachon shaded possession and chances, but I’d say a point a piece was a fair outcome. 

The big question now is what will become of both sides next season. It’s highly doubtful Wuachon United will remain as they are with rumours abound that Songkhla FC will be disbanded and a new hybrid called Songkhla United will emerge. 

When Esan United scored tonight, you could hear a pin drop inside the stadium. Granted it’s a long journey for fans to travel but at least Sisaket fans of last year would have made their presence felt. I honestly don’t think there was one Esan United fan at this game. It wouldn’t surprise me if they evolve into something new next season.  

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Trang 0-1 Rayong FC

Before kick off
Trang and Rayong maintained differing 100% records in Group B after the Wild Horses beat Trang 1-0.

The Dugons have lost their opening two matches and have failed to find the net in the process. Rayong have won two out of two and they sit comfortably on the shoulder of group pace setters Trat.

The team from the south started brightly with Anusorn forcing Rayong's keeper into an early save, and Waranyu flicked over following a low corner.

Rayong faithful pay their respects
Rayong started to get on top and they scored on 24 minutes when Piroj knocked in a free kick from the right which had been floated in from Pongsatorn.

The home side continued to press despite the set back although Rayong were always a threat on the break.

Anusorn continued to be a nuisance and his shot from the edge of the box crept wide of the post shortly after the interval.

On 77 minutes, Trang wasted a glorious chance when Waranyu headed over from yards out while the same  man was unlucky at the death as his shot was deflected over the bar after he set himself up.

Trang's promotion hopes go up in smoke
At the end the Dugons were unfortunate not to get a point. The created plenty of chances and they can take hope from the performance but not necessarily the result. It does appear though that they don't have enough quality to make a serious bid for Division 1 football next year.
Rayong FC however, looked to me that they played this match in only second gear and could have gone up a level or two had they needed to unlike their hosts. Natthawut, Alongkon and Piroj were a constant menace on the break and they'll be a handful for any other side in this group.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Results and Preview 10-14 October

TPL Results
Buriram Utd 0-0 Samut Songkhram
BEC Tero 7-1 TTM
Thai Port 2-0 Chiang Rai Utd
Police Utd 3-1 Bangkok Glass
Chainat 4-2 Pattaya Utd
TOT 1-1 Muangthong Utd
Esan Utd 2-1 Chonburi
BBCU 1-1 Wuachon Utd
Osotspa Saraburi 1-0 Army Utd

BBCU v Army
Chonburi v TOT
Police Utd v Thai Port

Wuachon Utd v Esan Utd
Muangthong Utd v Chainat
Pattaya Utd v Bangkok Glass
Chiang Rai Utd v BEC Tero
TTM v Samut Songkhram
Osotspa Saraburi v Buriram Utd

There will be a full house at Muangthong this Sunday as one point will see them crowned TPL champions. The prospective champs take on Chainat who themselves are desperate for points for other reasons. Earlier in the season, the Hornbills scored two very late goals as they fought back to draw 4-4 in a remarkable game at the Khao Plong Stadium. For Muangthong, they might not even need a point if Chonburi fail to beat TOT on Saturday.

The Police v Thai Port game will be a tense affair as both sides continue to battle against the drop. Police have picked up 10 points from the last 12 available while Port have amassed one less with 9 points. In the last two seasons, Thai Port have etched out two scrappy 1-0 league wins at the Thammasart against Police and the Khlong Toei Army would be delighted to complete a hat-trick of scrappy 1-0's come 9pm on Saturday night.

Inconsistent Pattaya United have been dragged back into the relegation picture with three defeats in their last four. They take on Bangkok Glass who have been on a wretched run of form themselves collecting only 3 points from the last 24 available.

The rest of the games are BBCU v Army, Wuachon v Esan Utd, Chiang Rai Utd v BEC Tero, TTM v Samut Songkhran and Osotspa v Buriram Utd.

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

Sriracha v Phatthalung
Songkhla v PTT Rayong
Bangkok Utd v FC Phuket
Korat v Chantaburi

JW Rangsit v Krabi
Raj Pracha v Siam Navy
Bangkok FC v Saraburi
Suphanburi v Air Force Utd
Khon Kaen v Ratchaburi

Ratchaburi just need one point at Khon Kaen to confirm promotion to the TPL. Behind them, it looks like it will go right down to the wire with two from Bangkok United, Suphanburi and Sriracha battling to join the Dragons in the TPL. All three of them have home matches this weekend with Bangkok United (67) hosting FC Phuket, Suphanburi (66) welcoming mid-table Air Force United while Srircaha (64) take on Phattalung.

Two of the aforementioned opponents, FC Phuket and Phattalung, are just one point above the relegation placings. Songkla and Khon Kaen are one point behind them on 33 points. As previously stated, Khon Kaen have their work cut out against league leaders Ratchaburi, but Songkhla will be slightly more optimistic as they entertain a PTT Rayong side that has slipped out of the promotion hunt.

JW Rangsit will be hoping that results go to the form book as a win over Krabi could haul them to within touching distance of making a remarkable recover. Likewise Bangkok FC will be sharing similar thoughts and a win over Saraburi would just about see them over the safety finishing line.

Division 2 Playoffs
(Group A - Sunday)
Roi Et Utd v Ayutthaya
Rayong Utd v Phitsanoluk
Paknampo NSRU v Pattani

Early pace setters, NSRU, will see the visit of Pattani as a chance to double their points tally to six. The Queen Cannons hardly set the southern league alight on their travels with only four victories and 11 goals scored in ten away fixtures. NSRU on the other hand, won 13 out of 17 at home netting 37 goals in the process.
The Roi Et v Ayutthaya clash is the battle of the group heavyweights with the winner of this taking on the mantle of being group favorites to make it to Division 1.
Phitsanoluk are the only side without a point and they have another away trip this time at Rayong United. The Klaeng side were seconds away from three points last weekend at Ayutthaya but were thwarted by a late leveller.

(Group B - Saturday)
Thai Honda v Trat
Trang v Rayong FC
Chiang Mai FC v Sisaket Utd

Opening day defeats for Chiang Mai FC and Sisaket Utd sets their clash up this Saturday as one that neither side can afford to lose. Chiang Mai will have pencilled this fixture in as a three pointer while Sisaket would probably settle for one point knowing that five of their eight remaining games are at home.
Trang also need to bounce back after their poor showing in the 3-0 defeat at Trat last time. They host Rayong FC who'll be bidding to be the first league side to win at the Tessaban Nakhon Stadium this season.
Thai Honda and Trat put their 100% records on the line when they meet in Lat Krabang. Both sides got off to perfect starts and the winner of this would looking a good bet for Division 1 football next season.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Krabi 4-1 Raj Pracha

Krabi read the last rights to Raj Pracha's existence as a first division side as they brushed them aside 4-1.

Straight from the off, Krabi were on the front foot and the most surprising thing was that it took them five minutes to score. Ekachai and Anuwat had both come close before Ekaphan netted after he'd been set up by his family member Ekachai.
First half action

The goalscorer then blazed over minutes later before Ekachai volleyed into an empty net after the Raj keeper punched the ball weakly into his path.

It was one way traffic and Raj Pracha were fortunate when Michel Liade's free header from a corner hit the bar.

Raj Pracha did eventually force a bit of pressure and they pulled one back on 39 minutes when a header across the goal went through the Krabi keeper and Rewat tapped in.

Krabi always appeared to be in control and they regained their two goal lead shortly before the hour. Ekaphan crossed low from the right and the ball seemed to bobble off Thaweepong into the guest's goal.

The game quietened down until the stroke of full time when a breakaway from substitute Justine Uche Prince set up Thaweepong to sweep home for his second goal of the night.

Overall it was a comfortable win for the Energy. Raj Pracha had a couple of 10 minute spells were they looked half decent but for the main they played like a side that was resigned to their fate.

Attendance: 1,525

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Wednesday 10 October - Preview

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

Muangthong United will be out to avenge last month's Toyota League cup exit to TOT when they meet on Wednesday. The league leaders would make it 30 games unbeaten if they avoid defeat against fifth placed TOT.
A win for Chonburi at Esan United would confirm a minimum of a second placed finish for the Sharks. The battle for third position has Buriram United at home to Samut Songkram while BEC Tero look a shoo-in for three points with the visit of TTM.

BBCU remain seven points from safety and anything other than three points against Wuachon wouldn't be adequate enough. Third bottom Chainat take on the unpredictable Pattaya United who themselves aren't clear of danger. Officially there will be no Thai Port fans in attendance when they host Chiang Rai United. The five previous league and cup games between the pair have ended in draws so expect them to share the spoils in this one. The Pathumthani derby between Police Utd and Bangkok Glass sees the home side play their fifth consecutive home game. Strangely enough Bangkok Glass have to play their last five matches away from home with this being the second of five. The game will also quickly reunite BG head coach Phil Stubbins with his old employees.

The contest between Osotspa Saraburi and Army completes the picture as both sides aim to achieve top half finishes.

Division 1
Songkla v Bangkok FC
Krabi v Raj Pracha
Siam Navy v Korat
Chantaburi v Bangkok Utd
FC Phuket v Khon Kaen
Ratchaburi v Suphanburi
Air Force Utd v Sriracha
Phattalung v Saraburi

There are some vital clashes at both ends of the table this Wednesday. Ratchaburi will clinch promotion if they can beat Suphanburi. I'm sure Bangkok United and Sriracha will be hoping for this outcome as they bid to catch up on Suphanburi. Third placed Bkk Utd should be able to capitalize on any slip-ups as they visit Chantaburi while Sriracha can't afford anything other than a win at Air Force United.

Depending on how the results pan out, Raj Pracha could be relegated if they lose at Krabi. There are two massive relegation bouts in the south with Songkla hosting Bangkok FC and FC Phuket entertaining Khon Kaen. Victories for either of the southern clubs would see them move above their midweek opponents. The Phatthalung v Saraburi clash also has significant bearing on the bottom with both sides still needing more points to secure a Division 1 spot for 2013.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Weekend Review 6-7 October

Chonburi 4-1 BBCU
Muangthong Utd 3-0 Esan Utd
TTM 2-5 Thai Port
Pattaya Utd 1-3 TOT
Police Utd 4-2 Chainat
Chiang Rai Utd 1-0 Bangkok Glass
Samut Songkhran 1-1 BEC Tero
Army 3-3 Buriram Utd
Wuachon Utd 3-0 Osotspa Saraburi

It was a high scoring Saturday with no fewer than 19 goals being shared amongst four matches. A first half Paulo Rangel header followed by a late Guy Hubert own goal and a cool chested effort from Rangel saw Muangthong beat Esan United 3-0. Second placed Chonburi also won by a three goal margin as they saw off BBCU 4-1. After a goalless first half the game sprung to life when Narul prodded home on 55 minutes. Juninho levelled from the spot before BBCU were reduced to 9 men after Kwang-Hoon received his second yellow card - Ekkaraj had already been dismissed in the first half - Goals from Panuwat, Pipob and Therdsak wrapped up the 4-1 victory for Chonburi.

Pattaya United continue to baffle after they threw away a first half lead to lose 3-1 to TOT. With TOT you know they'll graft for 90 minutes and second half goals from Wichen and Ekkachai twice swung it back in favor for TOT despite them finishing with 10 men after Bas Savage was dismissed. TOT now sit in the lofty heights of 5th place.

TTM's 5-2 home loss to Thai Port saw them bite the dust as a TPL side. Two goals from Leonardo Ferreira papered over the cracks as Thai Port blitzed TTM with five different scores getting their names on the scoresheet.

Sunday's action was almost as lively providing eighteen goals from five matches. Police United answered Thai Port's thumping of TTM by beating Chainat 4-2. Three goals in the first half hour ensured that Police ran out comfortably winners.

While we're on the subject of three goal leads, Buriram's one wasn't ample enough as they were pegged back by Army in 10 crazy second half minutes. Anthony Ampaipitakwong's 51st minute strike appeared to have wrapped the game up for Buriam at 3-0 but by the hour Tatree, Lindemann and Alves had scored for Army. There was to be no further scoring although Buriram would have breathed a sigh of relief when Issarapong's injury time shot rebounded off the inside of the post.

Cleiton Silva and Bireme Diouf were on target as Samut Songkhram and BEC Tero shared a 1-1 draw while Wuachon United and Chiang Rai United enjoyed home wins. 

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

Ratchaburi just need one more win from their last four games to book a TPL spot for 2013. Their hard fought 3-2 at Sriracha has the Dragons perched on the brink of promotion. Douglas Gardozo helped himself to another brace as Ratchaburi took the lead three times at Sriracha. The loss was a major body blow for Sriracha but Suphanburi won't have been complaining after their 2-0 home win over FC Phuket opened up a four point gap over the Blue Marlins in fourth. Bangkok United etched out a 1-0 over Siam Navy to remain third. Navy hit the bar twice in the first half but their keeper saw red on the hour before Kornwit scored from the resultant free kick.

The relief felt amongst the Khon Kaen players was immense as their late winner against Chantaburi earned the T-Rex a precious three points. JW Rangsit's second home win of the week kept their outside bid for survival alive. They beat Songkla 3-1 which meant the southern side joined fellow southerners FC Phuket in the bottom 5. Lee Tuck weighed in with a couple of goals as Bangkok FC beat Phattalung 4-2. The win lifts the Bulligans out of the relegation zone level on points with the Swiftlets on 34.

Division 2 Playoffs
Group A
Pattani 1-1 Roi Et Utd
Paknampo NSRU 1-0 Phitsanoluk
Ayutthaya 1-1 Rayong Utd

The opening results in Group A were tight with only NSRU claiming three points.
A header from Jules Brice midway through the second half was the only goal of the game as NSRU beat Phitsanoluk. Sittichai was red carded late in the game for Phitsanoluk which promptly turned Violet Army red. There were some scenes of crowd trouble as the crowd of 2,236 vacated the stadium.
The White Squirrels left it late as they salvaged a satisfactory point at Pattani. Substitute Nolan Murray tapped in five minutes from time to cancel out Pattani's first half lead.
Ayutthaya missed a glut of chances before Soulayman gave Rayong United an 89th minute lead. However a spill from Rayong United's keeper deep into stoppage time allowed Nuttapat to equalize.

Group B
Thai Honda 2-0 Sisaket Utd
Trat 3-0 Trang
Rayong FC 3-2 Chiang Mai FC

The opening round of fixtures in Group B produced three home wins.
Rayong FC raced into a three goal lead against pre-group favorites Chaing Mai FC. The northern champions did pull two goals back but 10 man Rayong held out for an important win.
The other side from the Central/East league, Trat, had a more comfortable opener with a 3-0 win over Trang.
Second half goals from Beckenbauer and Bamba Gaoussou, or "Fadel" which is printed on the back of his shirt, won it for Thai Honda over Sisaket United. It was a slow start from the Lat Krabang club but they improved after the break to run out deserved winners. Sisaket Utd came close on a couple of occasions with headers although they offered very little attacking threat once Thai Honda had taken the lead.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Weekend Preview 6-7 October

Chonburi v BBCU
Muantgthong Utd v Esan Utd
TTM v Thai Port
Pattaya Utd v TOT

Police Utd v Chainat
Chiang Rai Utd v Bangkok Glass
Samut Songkhran v BEC Tero
Army v Buriram Utd
Wuachon Utd v Osotspa Saraburi

The top 2 of Muangthong and Chonburi return to TPL action after their games were postponed last weekend. Since then, the duo have endured disappointing midweek results. Both will want to shake off their cup hangovers with home victories. Muangthong welcome 6th placed Esan United while Chonburi host struggling BBCU.

The biggie at the bottom is Police Utd v Chainat. Both sides occupy the two spots just above the relegation zone and defeat for either could leave them in serious trouble if Thai Port beat TTM on the previous day. The Klong Toei Army blamed the referee for their loss last weekend but there should be no such excuses if they can't beat TTM.

The fight for third place sees Buriram on 49 points travel to Army Utd who've lost four in a row in the TPL, while BEC Tero on 46, visit the muddy swamp of Mae Klong. 

With only five points separating Bangkok Glass in 5th and Chiang Rai Utd in 13th, the rest of the fixtures feature sides jockeying for their final positions. The two sides mentioned at either ends of the aforementioned pack meet as do Pattaya v TOT and Wuachon v Osotspa.

Division 1
Saraburi v Air Force Utd
Sriracha v Ratchaburi
Suphanburi v FC Phuket
Khon Kaen v Chantaburi
JW Rangsit v Songkla

Bangkok Utd v Siam Navy
Korat v Krabi
Raj Pracha v PTT Rayong
Bangkok FC v Phatthalung

A victory for Ratchaburi at Sriracha would leave the Dragons needing just one more win from their last four matches to book their spot in the TPL for next season.Winning won't be easy as Sriracha have won eight of their last nine with the only blemish being a 3-0 loss at Saraburi on the first day of September. Bangkok United's numbers are one less than Sriracha as they can boast seven victories in eight. Since Suphanburi unexpectedly lost at home to JW Rangsit, they've collected 16 from 18. This weekend, the Warriors host FC Phuket while Bangkok Utd entertain Siam Navy. It's a shame that one of these four clubs will miss out on promotion and they'll all be fully aware that any blips now will be costly.

In the relegation battle, Khon Kaen must collect three points at home to Chantaburi. One draw and four losses from their last five has seen the T-Rex plunge into the bottom 5. As mentioned beforehand FC Phuket have their work cut out at Suphanburi so it's highly likely they'll remain on 31 points. There are two big relegation dust-ups with Bangkok FC hosting Phatthalung and JW Rangsit welcoming Songkla. JW are hanging on by their fingertips and anything other than three points would signal the end of their two year tenure in Division 1 while Phatthalung would move six points clear of Bangkok FC if they are successful in Bang Mot.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Brief Preview of Division 2 Play-offs

The Division 2 play-offs are set to commence this weekend. The 10 week schedule is the pinnacle of the regional league season with the top two from each group earning a spot in Division 1 in 2013.
Here is a brief outlook of Groups A & B.

Group A
Pattani v Roi Et Utd (Sat)
Paknampo NSRU v Phitsanoluk (Sat)
Ayutthaya v Rayong Utd (Sun)

Roi Et Utd and Ayutthaya both won their respective regional leagues and they jump out as favorites to progress to Division 1 come December. Ayutthaya only lost one league game all season and made it to the quarter finals of the Toyota League Cup before ultimately losing to Bangkok Glass. Roi Et will be cautious after they were widely tipped last season to make it to Division 1 through the playoffs. Their campaign got of to a calamitous start when their 2-1 victory over Korat was overturned due to them fielding six foreigners for a few minutes near the end of the contest. The White Squirrels never really recovered and their bid eventually petered out with them finishing well off the pace.
From the rest, Pattani are unbeaten at home this season so not many sides will fancy making the long trip down to the Rainbow Stadium. Phitsanoluk, like Roi Et, have a point to prove after their 2011 campaign didn't meet expectations after they'd stormed to the Northern region title. NSRU have steadily improved since moving back to the north from the Bangkok region although taking the step up to the first division might be asking a bit much, while Rayong United are a club that have attracted attention this year for all the wrong reasons. There have been rumblings of unpaid salaries over the course of the season and they'll be without a couple of suspended players after their loutish behavior during their last league match against R-BEC.

Group B
Thai Honda v Sisaket Utd (Sun)
Trat v Trang (Sun)
Rayong FC v Chiang Mai FC (Sun)

There is no doubt that Chiang Mai will be expected to complete a quick return to Division 1. They won Div 2 North comfortably and with the title sewn up weeks ago, they'll have had plenty of time to rest and prepare players for the forthcoming 10 weeks. Nevertheless, I'd say this is a tougher group than Group A with any of the other five teams capable of challenging Chiang Mai for the top 2 spots.
The two teams from the Central/East will be strong contenders. Rayong FC have experience of the playoffs and have been whiskers away from promotion in the last two seasons. In 2010, they lost to Saraburi in a play off while in 2011 they were denied when Krabi scored a stoppage time equalizer in the last game to advance at their expense. Trat just squeezed into the playoffs despite the fact that they've spent a lot of money on their squad. They've shown in the cups that they can mix it with the big boys and I have a sneaky suspicion that they might prevail from this group.
Thai Honda and Trang both won their respective leagues. The Bangkok sides have generally struggled in the last couple of years in this competition while Trang will be hoping to emulate fellow southerners Phatthalung and Krabi from last season and not dwell on their disastrous 2010 effort when they lost nine of their ten matches.
The remaining side is Sisaket United who were unpopularly formed at the beginning of 2012 at the expense of Sisaket FC who metamorphosed into Esan United. I've only watched them once on SMMTV this season and from what I saw they'll probably fall short of making one of the promotion berths.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Midweek Round Up - AFC Cup & FA Cup

AFC Cup Semi Final - 1st Leg
Arbil 4-1 Chonburi

Chonburi were left to rue some poor defending after they lost 4-1 to Arbil of Iraq. The Sharks held plenty of possession and created several chances with the 4-1 victory flattering Arbil.
Amjed Rahdi flicked the home side ahead midway through the first half. Therdsak and Adul hit woodwork as Chonburi rallied and their persistence was rewarded shortly after the interval when Pipob poked home. Disappointingly, Rahdi was left unmarked minutes later as the hosts restored their lead. Suttinan then turned one into his own net before Salih Sadeer was allowed to run unchallenged to let rip a rasping shot past Sinteeweechai.
It was a disappointing result and Chonburi now have to wait three weeks to rectify the situation. In the other semi final, Kuwait FC also enjoyed a 4-1 success beating Al Ettifaq of Saudi Arabia.

FA Cup - Last 8
Army 3-2 Muangthong Utd
Buriram Utd 3-0 BEC Tero
Ayutthaya 1-2 Bangkok Glass
Chiang Rai Utd 3-1 Suphanburi (AET)

Army Utd booked their third successive FA Cup semi final appearance after they beat TPL leaders Muangthong United 3-2. Nipol beat the offside trap to give Army the lead before Teerasil levelled on the stoke of half time. Rangel's tap-in midway through the second half swung the tie the way of the pre-match favorites. However, substitute Lindemann burst through the Muangthong defence to level and an unmarked Tatree hooked home the winner four minutes from time as Muangthong exited a domestic cup quarter final for the second time this season.
Phil Stubbins' first game at the helm of Bangkok Glass ended successfully as they negotiated a potential banana skin by beating Ayutthaya 2-1. First half goals from Anawin and Leesaw saw them overcome their regional league opponents.
The first half between Buriram and BEC Tero was a tight affair, but after the break Buriram scored two quick goals before eventually easing to a 3-0 win.
The tie in Chiang Rai went to extra time with the Fighting Beetles ultimately defeating the Warriors 3-1. Leandro Assumpcao's first half goal was cancelled out by Nawin long range strike before Wasan and Nantawat won the game in extra time for the TPL side.
The semi final line up on October 24 has Army v Chiang Rai Utd and Buriram Utd v Bangkok Glass.

Division 1
PTT Rayong 2-0 JW Rangsit

PTT kept their slim hopes of promotion alive while JW's slim hopes of survival have almost bitten the dust.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Midweek Preview

AFC Cup Semi Final - 1st Leg
Arbil v Chonburi (Tues)

The first leg of the semi final will be played in the Arbil Stadium in northern Iraq. Arbil will be hoping to go one step further than 2011 when they were eliminated at the same stage of the competition by Al Kuwait.
The Yellow Castle have already won silverware this year claiming their fourth Iraqi Premier League title back in August by seven points whilst only losing once in 38 matches. 
Chonburi should be feeling relatively fresh after resting at the weekend following their quarter final victory over Al Shorta last Wednesday.
The other semi-final will be between Kuwait SC and Al Ettifaq in Kuwait City on the same evening.

FA Cup - Last 8
Army v Muangthong Utd
Buriram Utd v BEC Tero
Ayutthaya v Bangkok Glass
Chiang Rai Utd v Suphanburi

The last 8 of the FA Cup, unlike the Toyota league Cup, is only a one leg affair.
Last month's TPL clash between Army and Muangthong was a washout with Muangthong squelching out a 2-1 win. Both sides will be hoping for drier conditions as they bid to book a semi final berth. Muangthong rested up last weekend while Army's loss to Wuachon made it four consecutive TPL defeats.
Buriram and BEC Tero will clash for the fifth time this season with Saturday's league match going the way of BEC Tero. The Thunder Castle have developed themselves as a strong cup side and will enter this contest as slight favorites. 
In the last round, Ayutthaya, of the regional league, sent Thai Port packing beating their TPL opponents 2-1. Bangkok Glass make the short journey up the road aiming to reach another cup semi final. The Glass Rabbits have to do it without coach Surachai who resigned on Saturday evening. His replacement is Phil Stubbins who was previously technical director at Police United
It's been a relatively disappointing season for Chiang Rai Utd in the TPL. The northern club have flirted with relegation rather than pushing on for a top half finish as expected. The FA Cup is their last chance to turn their season into a successful one. Beating first division Suphanburi won't be easy but the Fighting Beetles faithful would be bitterly disappointed not to advance to the last 4.

Division 1
PTT Rayong v JW Rangsit (Wednesday)

After the weekend's home loss to Korat, the equation is simple for PTT. They must win every game and hope that any two of Suphanburi, Sriracha and Bangkok United self-implode allowing them to sneak back into one of the promotion berths.
JW will be in a buoyant mood after they staged a late comeback to beat Bangkok FC 3-2 on Sunday. Nonetheless, not many will be predicting anything other than a home win.

Weekend Review 29-30 September

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

With neither of the top 2 in action, the focus this round switched to the other end of the table.
The Klong Toei Army felt short changed after their 2-1 home loss to Samut Songkhram. With their side 1-0 up, the referee then awarded the away side a soft penalty on 73 minutes which promptly turned the tide. In the defence of the man wearing lime green, he correctly gave Sivakorn a second yellow for tugging an opponent's shirt and he can not be blamed for the defending for Samut's second goal or the miss that Watson blazed over the bar in the dying seconds. After the match, referee Tanom Borikut announced his retirement after being hemmed in his dressing room for ages due to protesting Port fans. Fortunately for Thai Port, Chainat lost and Police could only draw at home to TOT on Sunday. Chainat couldn't build on their early lead as they eventually lost 2-1 to Chiang Rai United while Police United were also pegged back by TOT with Lee Jun Ki's second half goal cancelling out a first half penalty from Daniel Cortes.

TTM had a rare good day as they fought back to grab a 2-2 draw at the Leo Stadium. The result caused BG's coach, Surachai, to throw in the towel after his highly paid stars disappointed once again.
BEC Tero finally beat Buriram after several previous close encounters with Cleiton Silva notching the only goal of the game on the half hour mark.

Away wins for Wuachon and Pattaya moved the pair onto 36 points which should be adequate to ensure another season of TPL football. Wuachon's 3-1 win at Army was the fourth loss in a row for the Bangkok side. The promise of a top 6 finish at the Home of Gentlemen is quickly vanishing and at this rate they'll be lucky to finish in the top half.

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

The shortly departing TPL bus will now be taking any three from four as PTT Rayong bowed out of the promotion race after their 1-0 loss to Korat. Prompong's 14th goal of the season was good enough for the Swatcats as they extended their unbeaten run to six matches.
Ratchaburi brought Saraburi's mini revival to a shuddering halt as they dispatched the Warlords 4-0. Douglas Gardozo's treble moved him to the top of the scoring charts on 17 goals.
Suphanburi made hard work of beating Chantaburi but eventually they tamed the Hares with two late goals to win 3-1 while Berlin also struck late for Sriracha to keep the Blue Marlins on course for a quick return to the TPL.
Two second half goals, including one from Romain Gasmi, helped Bangkok United get back to winning ways as they saw off Krabi 2-0 on a pitch that resembled the Baseball Ground back in the 1970's.
If the alarm bells were ringing at Khon Kaen last week, they are now blaring at deafening decibel levels after their meek effort at Siam Navy who essentially had nothing to play for. The 4-0 loss ensures the T-Rex stay fourth bottom one place below FC Phuket who are also in danger of dropping to the regional leagues. Bangkok FC's loss at JW Rangsit means their level on 31 points with FC Phuket while wins for Phatthalung and Songkla gave them some temporary breathing space.