Football Tribe Thailand
PT Prachuap FC is set to play in their first-ever cup final this Saturday when they face five-time League Cup winner Buriram United, who are looking to make it six at the SCG Stadium.
Having been absent from the final for the past two seasons, Buriram head coach Bozidar Bandovic aims to celebrate the club’s 10th anniversary with this trophy. The 2018 Coach of The Year also iterates that this is not a David versus Goliath match, mentioning his side’s congested schedule of late and praising PT Prachuap FC’s boss Thawatchai Damrong-Ongtrakul for molding such a united squad.
The Thunder Castle is yet to be beaten by the Killer Wasp in four of their previous meetings – conceding only once. However, keep in mind that PT Prachuap FC did outplay Buriram the last time both sides met – limiting Bandovic’s team to just half-chances. Centreback Apiwat Ngualamhin, knowing he can’t match the pace of PT Prachuap’s counter-attack, got sent off with a second yellow for fouling Jean Philippe Mendy. If striker Supot Jodjam and company were a little calmer in front of goal, the game wouldn’t have ended in a goalless draw.
As for Thawatchai, he believes there is a chink in Buriram’s armor – one the Killer Wasp could pierce through. “We [have] never beat them before but at least we will put up a good fight.” said the former Thai midfielder “records are meant to be broken and this might just be the time to do it.”
They are also undefeated in six previous Thai League games and stacked up four clean sheets on the bounce. Defense is PT Prachuap FC’s biggest strength and we can expect to see Thawatchai reverting to the 5-3-2 formation that worked so well against Buriram last time.
With Buriram having a tough time breaking down opponents who sit deep this season, this could be a tight match with lots of possession turnovers in the middle of the park but limited goalmouth action.
One element that could prove to be the deciding factor is both side’s impressive set-piece tactics. Remember, it was Sasalak Haiprakhon freekick in the final second of extra-time that got Buriram past JL Chiangmai United in the round of 16th. Their semi-final opener against Nongbua Pitchaya FC also started from Korrakot Wiriyaudomsiri’s in-swinging freekick delivery.
Buriram United are clearly the favorites to win but, as both head coaches mentioned, Prachuap can cause an upset. The only advantage Buriram have over their opponent is probably experience. The club’s first cup final in history is a massive occasion and that could easily get to the players head.