Thursday, November 22, 2012

AFF Cup Fixtures & Div 2 Preview

AFF Suzuki Cup 2012
(Sat 24)
Vietnam v Myanmar
Thailand v Philippines
(Tues 27)
Vietnam v Philippines
Myanmar v Thailand
(Fri 30)
Philippines v Myanmar
Thailand v Vietnam

The group games involving Thailand will all take place at the Rajamangala Stadium. The Thais kick off their 2012 AFF cup campaign when the host the Philippines on Saturday evening.  The Azkals have improved massively over the last few years and reached the semi finals of the AFF cup in 2010.
With home advantage in the group stages, Thailand are considered hot favorites to progress to the semi finals with possibly Vietnam anticipated to join them.
The 22 man squad announced by Winfried Schafer on Friday was:
Sintaweechai (Chonburi)
Kawin (Muangthong Utd)

Theeraton (Buriram Utd)
Panupong (Muangthong Utd)
Piyaphon (Muangthong Utd)
Niweat (Pattaya Utd)
Nattaporn (BEC Tero)
Cholratit (Chonburi)
Anucha (Chonburi)
Prayat (Ratchaburi)

Adul (Chonburi)
Arthit (Chonburi)
Pichitphong  (Muangthong Utd)
Datsakorn (Muangthong Utd)
Jakkraphan (Muangthong Utd)
Apipoo (Osotspa)
Sompong (Bangkok Utd)
Sumanya (Ratchaburi)

Teerasil (Muangthong Utd)
Kirati (Wuachon Utd) 
Chanatip (BEC Tero) 
Pipob (Chonburi)

(Sun 25)
Indonesia v Laos
Malaysia v Singapore
(Wed 28)
Indonesia v Singapore
Laos v Malaysia
(Sat 1 Dec)
Singapore v Laos
Malaysia v Indonesia

All of the fixtures will be played at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium in Kuala Lumpur except Singapore v Laos which will take place at Shah Alam Stadium in KL.

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

Group A was plunged into a mockery midweek when NSRU failed to fulfill their rescheduled away fixture with Pattani. They game was postponed last Saturday without much prior notice and NSRU swiftly declared that they wouldn't oblige and play the rearranged match. As expected they didn't show and a 2-0 win was awarded to Pattani. The university club were also hit with a three point deduction and a 50,000 baht fine. NSRU have since hinted that they will not show for their last three fixtures. (Please note that sometimes information reported through Thai media sources can be inconclusive. Don't be surprised if this punishment changes)
Nonetheless, I do feel a degree of sympathy for the Nakhon Sawan team, but they have to realize that two wrongs don't make a right. Their stubbornness has almost certainly killed off their chances of reaching the first division.

With uncertainty surrounding the game between NSRU v Ayutthaya, the match between Roi Et and Rayong Utd has the most riding on it this weekend. A win for the White Squirrels would kill off Rayong Utd's promotion bid and would leave Roi Et looking favorites to join Ayutthaya in Division 1 next year. If Roi Et were to lose, the winner of Pattani and Phitsanoluk would close in on the top 2.

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

The decision to reply the controversial 2-2 draw between Chiang Mai and Trat has been shelved. This means that a win for Trat over Sisaket United would earn the White Elephants a place in Division One next season. Sisaket Utd haven't won in two games while Rayong FC have been huffing and puffing after a promising start. Three points are essential as they travel to Thai Honda this weekend.
Chiang Mai FC could jump into the top 2 for the first time if they win at Trang and Sisaket Utd and Rayong FC both lose. The last time Chiang Mai and Trang met it ended 2-2 with Trang scoring two injury time goals to snatch an unexpected point.

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