Friday, November 2, 2012

Weekend Preview 3-4 November

FA Cup Final - Sunday, Supachalasai 7pm
Buriram Utd v Army Utd

Both sides have had difficult yet contrasting routes to the final. Cup holders Buriram United stayed at home in the early rounds as they beat Chonburi, Ratchaburi and BEC Tero. In the semi final, they ventured out from their backyard for the first time as they comfortably beat Bangkok Glass at the Rajamangala Stadium.
For Army United, their trip to the final has been a tale of unregistered players, penalty kicks and comebacks. In Round three, Army thought they were out after losing on penalties to regional league side Trat. However, Trat were swiftly booted out of the tournament after they'd been found to have fielded an unregistered player. Army took advantage of the unexpected reprieve and in the next round they successfully beat PTT Rayong following a penalty shootout. The quarter and semi finals then saw Army come from behind to progress. Two late goals helped them come from 2-1 down to beat the mighty Muangthong United while in the semi final last week, Army hit back to beat Chiang Rai United 2-1.

Buriram United will start as favorites to hold onto the trophy that they won last year. Incidentally, Army were the last side to beat Buriram in the FA Cup back in 2010 when a goal from Tatree won a fiery contest. It was however a massive brawl during the match that made the headlines the next day rather than the actual football. For Army they'll can also reflect on an inspired league come back last month against Buriram United as three second half goals in ten minutes snatched a 3-3 draw from the jaws of defeat at the Home of Gentlemen.

The winner on Sunday will pocket B1.5 million, and more importantly if we're still using the same format as 2011, the victor will qualify for AFC duty next term.

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

It's top versus bottom as Ayutthaya travel to Phitsanoluk. Ayutthaya have won their last three games to open up a three point gap at the top while Phitsanoluk remain winless after four games.
The next two sides below Ayutthaya, NSRU and Roi Et Utd, clash this Saturday in Roi Et. An away success for the Nakhon Sawan university side would move them five ahead of their weekend hosts.
Rayong United have lost their way with two defeats after a promising start. They welcome Pattani who yet to win with three draws and one defeat accumulated so far.

(Group B)
Chiang Mai FC v Trat

Trang v Thai Honda
Sisaket Utd v Rayong FC

On Saturday, Chiang Mai FC face their biggest game of the season when they welcome group leaders Trat. A win for the Lanna Tigers would move them to within two points of Trat. On the other side of the coin, a loss would virtually extinguish their promotion bid while it would leave one foot in the Division 1 door for Trat.
The following day sees second placed Rayong FC at Sisaket Utd who sit two points and a slot below them in third. A win for the Wild Horses would move them five points clear of Sisaket Utd although I guess they'd take a draw now if it were offered to them.
The bottom two of Trang and Trat also face off. For either of these two to have any chance of sneaking back into the promotion picture, they need to win this and hope that Trat and Rayong FC lose too.

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