Thursday, October 3, 2013

Matchday 31 & Div 2 Playoffs Preview


Bangkok United P-P Sisaket
Osotspa Saraburi v Muangthong Utd
Suphanburi v Bangkok Glass
TOT v Chainat

Army Utd v Police Utd
BEC Tero v Samut Songkhram
Chonburi v Chiang Rai Utd
Pattaya Utd v Songkhla Utd
Ratchaburi v Buriram Utd

Back to back wins for Chiang Rai United have drawn TOT, Samut Songkhram, Patttaya Utd and Ratchaburi back into the relegation scramble. For TOT, they face a massive week with two home matches. Chainat come calling on Saturday while Suphanburi are at the TOT Stadium on the following Friday. The Telephone Boys need to end a barren run which has seen them collect only one point from the last 33 available.
Ratchaburi get an immediate dress rehearsal for next month's league cup final with the visit of Buriram United to their home. Pattaya look good for three points as they entertain an ailing Songkhla United while Samut Songkhram would take a point at Tero if it were offered to them now. Likewise, Chiang Rai Utd have a tough assignment at Chonburi and a draw would be seen as an acceptable outcome.

Elsewhere, Muangthong make the trip up to Osotspa Saraburi and a win would ensure them a second placed finish. Suphanburi and Bangkok Glass are battling it out for fourth place and the winner of this will be in pole position to claim a top 4 finish. If Suphanburi lose, they would drop to sixth if Army United can triumph over Police United.

Division 1

Ayutthaya v BBCU
Bangkok FC v Singh Tarua
PTT Rayong v Krabi
Trat v Rayong Utd
TTM v Khon Kaen

Air Force v Sriracha
Nakhon Pathom Utd v Siam Navy
Nakhon Ratchasima v Rayong FC
Phuket v Saraburi

The much anticipated clash between Bangkok FC and Singh Tarua won't decide who goes up, but it will certainly have a large bearing on the final standings. It's definitely more important for Bangkok FC to collect three points than it is for Tarua. A draw might satisfy the Klong Toei side as it would leave them a point ahead of the Irons Bulls with three to play and they'd have a superior head-to-head record should they finish level on points.
A loss for Bangkok FC coupled with an Air Force home win would confirm Air Force's ascendancy into the TPL. PTT Rayong in second will move a step closer to the top flight provided they dispatch of Krabi.

Rayong United's days in the first division are numbered and they would be officially relegated if they lost at Trat and Khon Kaen won at TTM.
Rayong FC need to get over their midweek cup disappointment as they visit the Esan region for the second time in five days. The travel to Nakhon Ratchasima who themselves were knocked out of the cup despite dominating their tie against Ratchaburi.
Two wins and three draws since the arrival of Phil Stubbins at Ayutthaya has eased relegation fears. A win over BBCU would leave them within inches of safety.

Division 2 Playoffs

(Group A - Saturday)
Kasetsart v Luk Esan
Nara Utd v Roi Et Utd
Prachuap v Phitsanulok

(Group B - Sunday)
Nakhon Nayok v Chiang Mai
Paknampo NSRU v Ang Thong
Sukhothai v Udon Thani

The pinnacle of the regional league season begins as the playoffs kick off this weekend. Four sides, the top two from each group, will be promoted to the first division for 2014.
Roi Et Utd will start Group A as favorites but their opening match couldn't be any tougher. They travel to Nara United where they'll be playing in a hostile atmosphere. A point for the White Squirrels would probably be a satisfactory return.
Kasetsart won their last three league games to make it into the playoffs and they kick off against Police United's youth/feeder club, Luk Esan. The Thammasart based club won the Central East region but it's a game that Kasetsart must win if they aim to climb up the leagues.
Prachuap were the front runners for the majority of the season in Central West but towards the end of the season they took their foot of the pedal with only two wins in their last seven matches. Their opponents Phitsanulok are currently 12 unbeaten and will be full of confidence. Apparently, they have the biggest squad budget out of all the teams in this section.

In my opinion, Group B is probably the tougher one to get out of with several strong sides in this pool. Chiang Mai will no doubt be pulling in most of the headlines and they start their campaign at Nakhon Nayok. Similar to Luk Esan, NN were floundering in the regional leagues until a partnership was made with a TPL side. The club they are tied up with are Muangthong United and they can boast a player rota which includes Jorrin John, Tomi Bolarinwa, Matej Rapnik and several Thai youth players from the Nonthaburi club.
Central West winners Ang Thong have been widely tipped to do well. The Rice Warriors finished their league campaign strongly with five successive wins scoring 16 goals in the process. They travel to another much fancied side, Paknampo NSRU.
Sukhothai made it through to the playoffs after negotiating a playoff with Chumpon. They welcome an Udon Thani side who seem to enjoy playing sides beginning with the letter 'S.' They accounted for the scalps of Singh Tarua, Samut Songkhram and Songkhla United in the league cup before they were eventually ousted by Buriram United in the last 8.

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