Thursday, February 27, 2014

Toyota League Cup Fixtures - Last 64

Chachoengsao v Bangkok Glass
Prachinburi v Suphanburi
Nakhon Nayok v Chainat
Loei City v Police
Chamchuri Utd v Osotspa Saraburi
BCC Tero v Chiang Rai Utd
Nakhon Si Heritage v PTT Rayong
Phuket v Sisaket
RBAC v Air Force
Chiang Rai City v Chiang Mai
Uttaradit v Singh Tarua
Khon Kaen v Pattaya Utd
Rayong FC v Samut Songkhram
Udon Thani v Ratchaburi
Muangkan Utd v Nakhon Ratchasima

Samut Prakan Utd v TTM Customs
Maha Sarakham v Buriram Utd
Singburi v Ang Thong
Samut Sakhon v Songkhla Utd
Thonburi City v Bangkok FC
Maptaphut Marine v Ayuttthaya
Petchaburi v BEC Tero
Roi Et Utd v Chonburi
Sukhothai v BBCU
Ranong v Bangkok Utd
Lampang v Sriracha
Trang v Army Utd
Siam Navy v TOT
Krabi v Phitsanulok
Nakhon Pathom utd v Muangthong Utd

All matches are one off games and must be concluded on the day. Extra time and then penalties will be used if the sides cannot be separated. There are no replays.
The matches at the stadiums that don't have floodlights will start at 15.30. If these ties need extra time and penalties, the 3.30pm start should allow enough daylight for them to be put to bed.

Last season, Bangkok Glass, Pattaya Utd, Bangkok Utd, TOT and Sisaket of the TPL all fell to lower league opposition in the first round. Singh Tarua, who were in Division 1 at the time, also bowed out losing to Udon Thani of the regional league.

I expect most of the TPL sides will rotate their squads so expect to see many fringe players in the starting line-ups this weekend.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Sunday 23 February Review


Air Force 0-0 TOT
Army 2-1 Bangkok Utd
Samut Songkhram 0-0 BEC Tero
Singh Tarua 1-1 PTT Rayong
Siskaket 0-1 Osotspa Saraburi

It was a fairly quiet opening Sunday with only six goals scored in the five match-ups. The three promoted sides all took a point from their first encounters. Rufino Sanchez had already missed a sitter before he gave PTT a 69th minute lead at Singh Tarua. However, the lead only lasted six minutes. Leandro Luz curled home an effort from the corner flag to ensure each of the newbies earned their first point of the season.
Last year's Division one champions Air Force also got off the mark with a 0-0 draw against TOT. I'm sure they'll be slightly disappointed to have only collected a point from this fixture.
Sisaket were kind of making a return but it didn't go to plan as they lost 1-0 at home to Osotspa Saraburi. Jeferson's goal early in the second period proved to be the match winner.
The goal of the weekend came at Army Stadium via the left boot of Goran Jerkovic. His 24th minute angled drive gave Matt Elliott's side the lead before Mongkol's deflected shot doubled it six minutes from time. Sompong capitalized on some sloppy defending to grab a consolation in injury time.
It ended 0-0 between Samut Songkhram and BEC Tero. There was nothing from Tero's performance to suggest that they'll be in the running for the TPL crown come November.

Division 1

Nakhon Pathom Utd 2-0 Krabi
Nakhon Ratchasima 1-0 Bangkok FC
Phitsanulok 2-2 Khon Kaen 
Phuket 1-0 Pattaya
Roi Et Utd 1-2 TTM Customs
Saraburi 3-1 Sriracha

Shota Koide's second half goal was the difference as Nakhon Ratchasima beat Bangkok FC 1-0. It was also 1-0 in the battle of the tourist destinations as Phuket downed Pattaya. Veteran Ney Fabiano made up for a first half penalty miss when he bundled home a second half winner.
The newly rebranded Sriracha were given a tough introduction after they lost 3-1 at Saraburi. The youngsters conceded goals to Bernard Henry (2) and Valery before Boonkert netted a consolation.
It wasn't a particularly good day for the two promoted sides as neither could win their home fixtures. Phitsanulok were playing theirs in Phichit and they twice through away the lead in their 2-2 draw with Khon Kaen. The towering Matius Recio scored the all important equalizer for Khon Kaen. It looked like Roi Et were in for a comfortable afternoon when Prachaya gave the an early lead. It wasn't to be as TTM Customs fought back with two second half goals.
Woo Guen Jeong was Nakhon Pathom's hero of the day as his brace saw off Krabi.

Singh Tarua 1-1 PTT Rayong

The two newly promoted sides shared the spoils as they began life in the TPL.

PTT Rayong did have the ball in the net twice during the tense opening period, but there was no controversy as the officials had clearly called a halt to the play long before the ball hit the back of the net.

Spaniard Rufino Sanchez should have given the guests a 39th minute lead but he turned his close range shot wide following some indecisive goalkeeping.

Leandro had struggled to make any impact on the game but he came close to opening the scoring when his 59th minute looping header crashed onto the top of the bar.

In the 69th minute, Sanchez atoned for his first half miss when he turned in a cross from 8 yards.

The lead didn't last long and six minutes later the Khlong Toei side were level. Leandro and Saruta played a short corner together and Leandro's whipped-in cross ended up in the back of the net. The Brazilian was credited with the goal even though it appeared to have taken a touch on its route to goal.

That was it as both sides played down the clock apparently satisfied with a point.

Out of the two sides, PTT Rayong look more likely to stay in the TPL. They are well organized and they appear strong defensively. Tarua had nine players making their debuts so it was always going to be a tough start. None of the new boys really stood out for me and it appears that the creativity onus is going to be on Leandro's shoulders again.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Saturday 22 February Review


Buriram Utd 3-0 Songkhla Utd
Chiang Rai Utd 0-2 Bangkok Glass
Chonburi 4-0 Police
Muangthong 2-1 Chainat
Suphanburi 1-2 Ratchaburi

It didn't take champions Buriram long to open their account for the season. Patino's 7th minute back heeler set the Thunder Castle on their way. Songkhla held themselves in the contest until the 78th minute when Altobelli netted from close range. Patino grabbed his second to complete the 3-0 win.
Chonburi went one better beating Police United 4-0. It was a sluggish opening from the Sharks but once Thiago gave them the lead from the penalty spot in the 34th minute, there only looked like one winner. The Brazilian added a second shortly before the break and second half goals from Anderson and Therdsak moved Chonburi to the summit of the league table. Saranyoo was given a straight red for Police following an ugly lunge in the 88th minute.
The controversial moment of the day came late on at Muangthong. There appeared to be very little contact from Kritsakorn as Piyaphon tumbled in the box. The referee awarded a penalty much to the fury of Chainat. Mario made no mistake as he tucked away the late goal. Muangthong struggled for long periods and it seemed that Panuwat's sweet first half volley was going to win the points for the Hornbills. Wuttichai snuck in at the back post to level in the 76th minute before the late contentious call gave MTU their winner. The victory should secure Scott Cooper's job for at least another week.
It all went flat as the overly hyped Suphanburi lost to relegation candidates Ratchaburi. Heberty capped a fine first half performance for the Dragons giving them the lead in the 42nd minute. A long range shot appeared to have bounced off the bar and over the line before an offside flag denied Douglas a second goal for Ratchaburi. There was no disputing another debutant's goal when Genki Nagasato rounded the keeper to make it 2-0. Suphanburi grabbed a late consolation through a Wuttichai header.
Leesaw punished Chiang Rai for wasting a glut of early chances. The BG pinup boy scored a quickfire double late in the first half.

Division 1

Ayutthaya 1-1 Ang Thong
Siam Navy 1-1 BBCU
Trat 0-1 Chiang Mai

Anggello Machuca's injury time dipping volley won three points for Chiang Mai on their return to the first division.
The other two matches finished 1-1. Natthaphat headed Ayuttaya ahead but OJ Obatola levelled for Ang Thong. Ludovik Takem scored a penalty in his first match for Siam Navy while Julius Oiboh got his first in the pink of BBCU.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Opening Weekend Preview


Buriram Utd v Songkhla Utd (18:00)
Chiang Rai Utd v Bangkok Glass (18:00)
Chonburi v Police (19:00)
Muangthong v Chainat (20:00)
Suphanburi v Ratchaburi (19:00)

Air Force v TOT (19:00)
Army v Bangkok Utd (19:00)
Samut Songkhram v BEC Tero (18:00)
Singh Tarua v PTT Rayong (20:00)
Siskaket v Osotspa Saraburi (18:00)

*Please note the new kickoff times.

In the last four seasons, Buriram Utd, Muangthong Utd and Chonburi have been the contenders for the TPL crown. They trio have already opened their seasons and this weekend the other 17 TPL sides kick off their campaigns. So which teams are most likely to break the stranglehold held by the big guns?

The three most likely challengers would be Suphanburi, Bangkok Glass and BEC Tero. Suphanburi have certainly splashed the cash and it's hard to image that it was only a couple of years ago that they were floundering in the second tier of Thai football. New coach Mano Polking has an astute knowledge of the Thai game and expectations are high in Suphanburi.
Bangkok Glass and BEC Tero have spent big over the last few seasons without ever fulfilling their promise. It's hard to see either winning the TPL crown but their fans will at least want them to be challenging the top three.

For the remaining 14 clubs, the prospect of a relegation battle is far more likely than a top three finish. With five teams set to drop out of the league, the dangers of demotion are apparent.
Osotspa Saraburi, Chainat and Chiang Rai probably have enough to avoid the pitfall and they'll be aiming for a top half finish. Chainat apparently have a budget of B200 million while Osotspa have a decent squad but will play their first few games at the Rajamangala while their floodlights are being upgraded.

Police and Army don't seem as strong as last season and fans of both clubs aren't feeling particularly optimistic. In particular, supporters of Army have been fairly unimpressed with what they've seen in pre-season. Nonetheless, they should have enough to finish mid-table. Army will be lead by former Leicester City defender Matt Elliott while Police have appointed Carlos Roberto de Carvalho whom many of you will remember from his time at Bangkok Glass and Muangthong Utd.

For the three new boys, Air Force, Singh Tarua and PTT Rayong, the realistic objective will be staying afloat this term. The outcomes of Air Force and Singh Tarua could depend on goals coming from the two strikers that dominated the Division 1 goal chart last season. Leandro Luz of Singh Tarua topped the list while Bangkok's Lee Tuck finished second. The Englishman has since transferred to Air Force and has so far impressed in pre-season friendlies.
At PTT Rayong, a very famous striker has regularly been linked with a move to the PTT Stadium. The man in question is none other than Italian legend Alessandro del Piero. So far, he hasn't signed and the failure to make the marque signing might work in the team's favor. Remember Robbie Fowler at Muangthong!!
PTT will be lead by Peter Withe whom older readers will recall as the man who scored the winning goal in the 1982 European Cup Final. And of course, Withe was the coach of the Thai national team in the late 90's and early 00's.

Samut Songkram have managed to stay in the TPL for the last two seasons despite being plagued by financial troubles. They've usually been scrambling for players at the last minute but this time they are fully prepared player wise. A thing that might work against them is that they won't be able to play on their notoriously waterlogged pitch for a portion of the season.

On paper Bangkok United have plenty of experience with their most notable capture being Leando Tatu from Steaua Bucharest. The Brazilian made a couple of appearances in the UEFA Champions League last season.

There is nothing about TOT, Songkhla, Ratchaburi and Sisaket to suggest that they won't be involved in affairs at the wrong end of the table. TOT, Songkhla and Ratchaburi were all pretty woeful in the second half of last season and they need to gather points early doors if they are to survive. It's been a rough couple of years for Sisaket fans and it's good to see them back in the TPL. There is no doubt they'll take a great travelling support wherever they go but it's doubtful they'll be celebrating many away day successes.

Division 1

Ayutthaya v Ang Thong (16:00)
Siam Navy v BBCU (18:00)
Trat v Chiang Mai (18:00)

Nakhon Pathom Utd v Krabi (17:00)
Nakhon Ratchasima v Bangkok FC (18:30)
Phitsanulok v Khon Kaen (Phichit) (18:00)
Phuket v Pattaya (18:30)
Roi Et Utd v TTM Customs (16:00)
Saraburi v Sriracha (16:00)

Picking the three TPL bound sides from this group is nigh on impossible. If you were to ask ten different people which three sides will win promotion, I'm sure you would be given ten different answers. 

The game between Nakhon Ratchasima and Bangkok FC is the same opening day fixture as 2013. The duo finished in fourth and fifth last season so they'll be expected to be in the running again. Bangkok were pipped on the last day and the failure to win promotion has seen them lose top scorer Lee Tuck. His goals will be a major loss but the Iron Bulls have acquired their own lucky piece of white heather with the loan deal of Diarra Ali. The Muangthong loanee has tasted promotion with Suphanburi and Singh Tarua in the last two seasons. The Bulligans will be hoping that Ali can complete the hat-trick this year.
Korat have also lost their goal getter from last season. Yasuke Kato has gone to Samut Songkhram but the Swatcats will be optimistic that Ivan Boskovic can fill the boots vacated by Kato.

Since Phil Stubbins arrival at the helm in the latter stages of last season, Ayutthaya have massively improved. If they can transfer their end of season form from 2013 into 2014, then the will be serious promotion contenders. The signings of experienced foreigners Michael Byrne and Berlin Ndebe-Nlome will be a boost too.

Pattaya United were the only side demoted from the TPL last season. They'll be aiming to emulate Singh Tarua who themselves bounced back at the first attempt in 2013. The Dolphins have been given the heart and soul of Sriracha FC as they have been deemed by the bigwigs in Chonburi to be the province's second club. The sad news for Sriracha is that they are to be a Chonburi youth side, The club are no longer based in the town and will play their games at the IPE Stadium in Chonburi. The small band of loyal Sriracha supporters haven't taken the news kindly and we all hope they can refind their identity in the near future.

The four new boys from the regional leagues are Ang Thong, Roi Et United, Chiang Mai and Phitsanulok. It's probably asking too much for them to make it back-to-back promotions but there is enough in the tank to suggest that they won't making a quick return to Division 2.
Chiang Mai's last venture into the first division in 2011 ended disastrously when they were relegated despite starting the season as title contenders. Their first division campaign almost didn't get started for 2014 when their owner proposed to keep them in the regional league. After a bit of ego caressing, he didn't follow through with his plan much to the relief of the fans of the club.
Roi Et and Phitsanulok have been banging on the first division door for a few years and they finally entered after negotiating the playoffs at the third attempt. Mid-table seems a realistic outcome for the pair and Ang Thong would surely except the same fate. Home form will be key to all the newbies.

Out of the rest, it's difficult to predict the challengers. Saraburi are always strongly tipped by sections of the Thai press. They've managed to retain their key player Bernard Henry from last year so the Warlords could be a good shout. Krabi will be hoping that John Mary and Erivaldo can form a partnership that will provide them with goals. Former Chiang Rai United coach Teco has now had time to stamp his mark on his new Phuket side and things need to improve after a disappointing campaign in 2013.

Khon Kaen will again be looking to Matius Recio to provide the goals to keep them out of trouble and similarly Siam Navy will need new boy Ludovik Takem to do a similar job in Sattahip.

BBCU have a good selection of foreign players but whether their Thai contingent is strong enough remains to be seen. For Trat, TTM and Nakhon Pathom, they don't appear any stronger than last season so I expect they'll finish in similar positions as last term.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Toyota League Cup Draw (Last 64)

Phuket v Sisaket
Chacheongsao v Bangkok Glass
Prachinburi Utd v Suphanburi
RBAC v Air Force
Surat v A5
Chiang Rai City v Chiang Mai
Nakhon Si Heritage v PTT Rayong
Uttaradit v Singh Tarua
Nakhon Nayok v Chainat
BCC Tero v Chiang Rai Utd
Khon Kaen v Pattaya Utd
Loei City v Police
Chamchuri Utd v Osotspa Saraburi
Rayong FC v Samut Songkhram
Mahasarakham Utd v Buriram Utd
Muangkan Utd v Nakhon Ratchasima
Samut Prakarn Utd v TTM Customs
Singburi v Ang Thong
Ranong v Bangkok Utd
Ubon Ratchasima v A20
Samut Sakorn v Songkhla Utd
Lampang v Sriracha
Trang v Army Utd
Udon Thani v Ratchaburi
Thonburi City v Bangkok FC
Siam Navy v TOT
Krabi v Phitsanulok
Maptaphut Marine v Ayutthaya
Sukhothai v BBCU
Roi Et Utd v Chonburi
Petchaburi v BEC Tero
Nakhon Patom Utd v Muangthong Utd

Trat and Saraburi withdrew from cup. It appears that Surat and Ubon Ratchasima will get byes.

Ties to be played on the first weekend in March.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Thai Pair Bow Out of AFC Quest

Beijing Guoan 4-0 Chonburi

Three goals in the first 18 minutes ended Chonburi's Asian adventure. With less than a minute on the clock, Chonburi were behind. Joffre Guerron got inbetween the indecisive Diakite and Korrakot before firing a shot past Sintaweechai.
Ten minutes later, the Ecuadorian got his second goal of the night. He expertly controlled a long pass with his first touch and with his second he unleashed a sublime shot past the keeper.
In the 18th minute it was game over when Peter Utaka lost his marker to head home a whipped in cross from the left.
At this point it appeared that it was going to be an absolute rout. Chonburi did limit the damage as the home side appeared to drop a couple of gears after their explosive start.
The closest the Sharks came to scoring was late on when a shot from substitute Bavorn struck the post.
In the last minute, a ball fired across goal was swept home by Shao Jiayi to complete the 4-0 scoreline.
Chonburi's miserable evening was complete in injury time when Thiago Cunha was harshly red carded for what looked like an accidental stamp on Zhang Xinxin. It was frustrating for the Chonburi supporters as the referee failed to punish two possible red card offences from Beijing Guoan in the second period.

Melbourne Victory 2-1 Muangthong Utd

An entertaining match was eventually won by Melbourne Victory as the Australian side came from behind to beat Muangthong United 2-1.
The home side had squandered a couple of chances before Muangthong took the lead in the 22nd minute. Mario Djurovski's curling corner somehow ended up in the back of the net as the Melbourne defence switched themselves off.
The game continued to ebb and flow and in first half stoppage time the hosts were awarded a penalty when Piyaphon bundled over Archie Thompson. Club captain Milligan was on spot kick duty but Vitsanusak made a smothering save to deny Victory an equalizer.
In the early stages of the second period, it was actually Muangthong who were looking more likely to score the next goal.
However, in the 58th minute, Victory levelled when a delightful cross from Galloway was headed home by Troisi.
The winning goal came seven minutes from time when a clearance landed at the feet of Broxham 25 yards out. His resultant shot deflected off Thitipan's head past the wrong footed Vitsanusak.
The match ended in an ugly fashion for the Thai side when Datsakorn was dismissed for headbutting Broxham.

Buriram United 1-1 Nagoya Grampus (Buriram won 4-3 on penalties)

Buriram added another trophy to their collection after they beat Nagoya Grampus 4-3 on penalties.
It ended 1-1 after 90 minutes so that meant spot kicks were required to separate the sides.
Jay Simpson headed home Anuwin's cross in the 16th minute but that was cancelled out by a sweet volley from Yusuke Muta in the 43rd minute.
In the shootout, Sivaruk saved twice before Altobelli struck the winning kick.
The victory meant Buriram lifted the Toyota Premier Cup for the second time.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Weekend Action 15/16 February

AFC Champions League Qualifiers
Melbourne Victory v Muangthong United (Kardinia Park 15:45)
Beijing Guoan v Chonburi (Beijing Workers Stadium 18:30)

The Thai sides will be underdogs this Saturday as they try to overcome the final hurdle in qualifying for the AFC Champions League group stages. Last weekend Chonburi beat South China 3-0 while Muangthong saw off Hanoi T&T 2-0 to set-up these showdowns.

Chonburi probably have the more difficult task out of the two Thai sides. The fact that it barely gets above freezing at this time of year in Beijing will hardly help the Sharks.
In Chonburi's favour though, the 2014 Chinese Super league hasn't started yet and they'll be hoping the Imperial Guard are still rusty. Also, this will be the first game for new coach Gregorio Manzano who was appointed earlier this week. His appointment comes after the sacking of Aleksander Stanojevic at the end of last season. Whether or not this works in Chonburi's favor remains to be seen.

Meanwhile, Muangthong take the long flight to Melbourne where temperatures will be more akin to their liking. In actual fact, the game won't be played in Melbourne itself. It will be at Kardinia Park which is in the coastal town of Geelong one hour away from Melbourne.
Melbourne Victory are currently coached by Kevin Muscat. Politely speaking, he was regarded as a robust tackler during his playing days. Victory sit fourth in the A League some 11 points behind pacesetters Brisbane Roar. James Troisi is second in this year's A League goal scoring charts and they can boast having the legendary Archie Thompson who holds the all time record for goals scored in an international match. He netted 13 times when Australia beat American Samoa 31-0 back in 2001.
Dagno Siaka didn't travel with the Muangthong squad and neither did the suspended Ahtit. Kawin is included but whether he is fit enough to start appears doubtful. 

EDIT: Latest rumours just in suggest that Scott Cooper has handed in his resignation notice after disagreements with the Muangthong board. This match will be his last one he'll take charge of.
Also Ri Khwang Chon has apparently been refused entry in Australia due to his North Korean nationality.

Toyota Premier Cup
Buriram Utd v Nagoya Grampus (Thammasart 17:45)

Buriram United face a repeat of last season's Toyota Cup as Nagoya Grampus return to the Land of Smiles. In 2013, two goals from Jungo Fujimoto won they day for the Japanese side.
There is a cup to play for so it will be taken seriously. However, I'm sure beating Muangthong in the King's Cup two weeks ago would have been seen as a bigger priority for the majority of the GU12. 

Regional Leagues
Finally, the regional leagues start again this weekend. There are too many divisions and teams for me to submit weekly reports and updates. However, I will still try to get to some matches throughout the season and will cover the end of season playoffs. Best of luck to all the 83 teams that are involved.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Victories for Thai Duo in AFC Qualifiers

Muangthong Utd 2-0 Hanoi T&T 

Jay Bothroyd inspired Muangthong to victory as the Englishman grabbed his first goal in Thailand. It was a sluggish opening to the tie but that changed ten minutes before the interval when a headed knock back from Bothroyd was smashed home by Mario Gjurovski. 
In the 55th minute, Hanoi were reduced to ten men after Sam Gallagher was given a straight red for pulling back Teerasil as he headed in on goal. Gallagher wasn't impressed with the decision and within seven minutes the game was over as a contest. Jay Bothroyd embarked on a powerful run from 40 yards out before unleashing a shot that cannoned off the underside of the bar into the net.
Both sides eased off and seemed content with the 2-0 score line. In injury time, the Korean official dismissed a player from each side for an off the ball incident and as a result Ahtit and Samson got a head start on the rest of the players for the shower queue. 
Muangthong travel to Australia next Saturday to face Melbourne Victory. The winner of this contest will qualify for the AFC Champions League group stages.

Chonburi 3-0 South China

A trip to Bejing awaits for Chonburi after they comfortably beat South China 3-0.
The first goal came after 18 minutes when Pipob rose above his marker to bullet home a header at the near post from Natthaphong's cross.
Kushida and Narul should have doubled the lead before Thiago Cunha did in the 36th minute. The Brazilian nodded home from close range after the South China keeper had parried an Anderson flick on from Narul's set piece directly into his path.
Thiago got his second goal ten minutes after the interval. He sprang the offside trap before rounding the keeper and slotting home into an empty net. 
Chonburi now have six days to prepare their winter woolies for their trip to Beijing Guoan next Saturday.

League Cup Qualifiers


Samut Prakan Utd 1-0 Kasem Bundit
Chamchuri Utd 5-1 Rayong Utd
RBAC 2-1 Rangsit Uni

Central West

Luktapfah 1-4 Petchaburi (penalties)
Raj Pracha 1-2 Samut Sakorn

Central East

Prachinburi Utd 5-3 Sa Kaeo City (penalties)
TG Rayong 1-2 Nakhon Nayok
Chachoengsao 4-1 Phan Thong


Satun Utd 1-3 Ranong
Phang Nga 1-5 Trang


Nakhon Sawan 0-1 Chiang Rai City
Sukhothai 1-0 Lamphun Warrior
Lampang 6-4 Phrae Utd (penalties)


Amnan Charoen Town 2-6 Ubon Ratchasima
Loei City 3-1 Kalasin


Petchabun 0-1 Udon Thani
BCC Tero 3-1 Chantaburi (penalties)
Surat 5-3 JW-BU (penalties)

Thursday, February 6, 2014

AFC Champions League Play-offs

Muangthong v Hanoi T&T (Saturday)
Chonburi v South China (Sunday)

Chonburi and Muangthong play the first of two play-offs as they bid to join Buriram United in the AFC Champions League Group stages. The Thai duo will be favorites to overcome their initial one leg ties but they'll be underdogs in the final round of playoffs should they negotiate this weekend's matches. If they progressed, Muangthong would face a trip down under to Melbourne Victory while Chonburi would be heading to the cooler climates of China where they would encounter Beijing Guoan.

The match on Sunday will be the first test for Chonburi's new Japanese coach, Masahiro Wada. The Chonburi supporters will be hoping that the new coach can freshen things up after a stale couple of seasons under Withaya Laohakul. The club have had a bit of a clearout with several fringe players being moved on. The Sharks squad appears solid defensively but a big onus rests with star player Thiago Cunha to provide the goals. If the Brazilian were to lose form or suffer from injury, it leaves the question of where the goals will come from. Sunday's opponents, South China, were reluctant to travel to Thailand due to the current political protests. However, the AFC deemed the Eastern Seaboard save enough and the game will go ahead as scheduled at the Chonburi Stadium. The Hong Kong champions caused a slight surprise last Sunday when a 2-1 extra time victory over Tampines Rovers in Singapore set up their match with Chonburi.

Muangthong had their first taste of competitive action last weekend when they lost 1-0 to Buriram United in the Kor Royal Cup. It wasn't a great start to Scott Cooper's reign and the Englishman will be hoping for a better performance and result this time out. He'll be without the injured Kawin while Dagno Siaka's omission in the Kor Royal Cup has raised some eyebrows. Jay Bothroyd will see the match against the Vietnamese side as an ideal opportunity to open his goal account in Thailand.

The last time Hanoi T&T and South China were in Thailand they were comfortably beaten. In March 2011, Muangthong brushed aside Hanoi T&T with a 4-0 victory at the Thundedome. Teerasil grabbed a double that evening along with a goal each for Christian Kouahou and Anon.
Also in the same month Chonburi beat a South China squad containing Nicky Butt and Mateja Kezman 3-0. Fans of Thai football will be hoping for a similar outcome this weekend.

Latest News: Teerasil Dangda will join Almeria on a season long long for the 2014-15 La Liga season. The deal includes a clause for the Spanish side to buy Teerasil should the initial loan deal prove successful. The Muangthong striker will stay in Thailand until the beginning of the next Spanish season.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Buriram Bag Another Trophy

The 2014 season began in similar fashion to the one that just ended. Buriram collected another trophy while Muangthong submitted another meek performance against their much loathed foes.
The only goal of the Kor Royal Cup came ten minutes from time when Jay Simpson robbed a dithering Ahtit before coolly bending the ball past the Muangthong keeper.
The treble holders should have been well ahead by the time Simpson arrived into the action midway through the second half. Suchao had a first half penalty saved by Witsanusak and they were unlucky on the stroke of half time when Carmelo's goal was adjudged to have been offside.
Buriram again had the better chances in the second half before Simpson's goal. It finished 1-0 and Buriram are looking odds on favorites to win the TPL again this year. Muangthong appear inadequately short of defensive cover and they need to add a couple of faces before the transfer window closes at the end of this month.

League Cup Results:


Samut Prakan Utd 1-0 Thai Honda
Chamchuri Utd 6-1 Customs Utd
BCC Tero 2-1 Rangsit FC

Central West

Luktapfah 3-2 Rajapruek College
Raj Pracha 3-2 Hua Hin
Singburi 6-5 Globex (penalties)
Nonthaburi 1-2 Thonburi City
Muangkan Utd 6-5 Futera (penalties)
JW-BU 5-3 Krung Thonburi  (penalties)

Central East

Prachinburi Utd 2-1 Kabin Utd
TG Rayong 6-5 Pathum Thani Utd (penalties)
Rayong FC 3-1 Samut Prakan FC
Mapthaput Marine 1-0 Luk Esan
Chantaburi 1-0 Thai Fleet


Pattani 3-4 Satun Utd (penalties)
Nakhon Si Heritage 2-0 Phatthalung
Prachuap 3-5 Phang Nga  (penalties)
Hat Yai 1-3 Surat


Nakhon Sawan 1-0 Phayao
Khamphaeng Phet 1-3 Sukhothai
Nan 1-2 Lampang 
Uttaradit 2-1 Phichit
Tak 0-1 Petchabun


Nong Bua Lamphu 4-5 Amnan Charoen Town
Nong Khai 6-7 Maha Sarakham Utd (penalties)
Loei City 2-1 Surin
Sakhon Nakhon 0-1 Udon Thani

Apologies for not including the full time scores for the matches that went to penalties. The Thai football websites that I get the scores from include penalties in their full time score.