Southeast Asia Thailand

Muangthong Back on Track, Port Aim to Stop Slump

Obb Deewajin

Football Tribe Thailand


Fresh of their thrilling extra-time win, Muangthong United head north to face relegation strugglers Chiangmai FC on the Friday-night kickoff.

The Kirin will be missing the services of new left-back Daisuke Sato who limped off with an injury last week, so expect Ernesto Phumipha to start at the 700th Anniversary Stadium. Other than that, there’s is no other major injury concern.

Head coach Alexandre Gama will be hoping chemistry between the front-3 of Heberty, Teerasil Dangda and Derley continues to develop following sequences of nice combination play when they beat the Angels at home last weekend.

Add to that Charyl Chappuis’s supporting runs from deep and you can see an industrious, direct, attacking team beginning to take shape. It’s exactly what’d you’d expect from the two Thai League winning head coach.

As for the Lanna Tigers, goalkeeper Pairote Eiam-mak and defender Decha Sa-ardchom have been putting in encouraging performances since joining the club. However, their true star is none other than 19-year-old attacking midfielder Ekkanit Panya, who found the net last week against Sukhothai to take his personal tally for the season to five goals and three assists.

Chiangmai FC have only lost twice at home this season, and have produced incredible results, including draws against title-chasing Bangkok United and Samut Prakan City, as well as a 1-0 win over the typically astute Prachuap FC. Beating Muangthong at this moment is a big ask and Chiangmai will be more than happy with a draw – something that is not too unrealistic.

On Saturday, Chonburi manager Sasom Pobprasert returns home to the PAT Stadium, where he won both the League Cup and FA Cup as Port FC head coach in 2009 and 2010. The Port fans will be eager to take three points of their former manager as their team is winless in their last four games, during which time they have conceded 10 goals.

Head coach Jadet Meelarp has been altering his starting XI but unable to get the side back to their best. Additionally, the club has entered the market to sign two new strikers; Panamanian international Rolando Blackburn and Thai U23 captain Chenrop Samphaodi.

Targetman Josimar had just replaced Dragan Boskovic as Port FC’s solution for an out-and-out striker, but after only two matches, the club turned to Blackburn for a new solution up top. Fans are left wondering about what will happen to the Brazilian after this recent turn of events.

Port FC have only collected four points from their previous five games and needs to get their act together soon to keep their title hopes alive, and Chonburi FC may just be the perfect opponent. Since Sasom’s appointment, Chonburi FC has won twice and lost twice, something the charismatic head coach sarcastically compared to “just about passing an exam”.

In addition to that, the Shark has only yielded one win from nine matches on the road this season and their prior three meetings with Port FC all ended in defeats, where they scored only two goals. All things considered, there is no reason for Port FC should fail to win this game. However, should they do, it could put their title aspirations in serious doubt.