Southeast Asia Thailand

Minnows Gave Giants Tough Time in Thai League Cup First Round

All 16 teams of the 2021/22 Thai League 1 season joined the qualifying round winners from both the 2021/22 Thai League 2 and the 2021/22 Thai League 3 in the first round of the 2021/22 Thai League Cup on Wednesday, with a number of underdogs claiming several notable scalps at the end of the day. Other minnows managed to give their more established opponents a run for their money, only missing out on qualification to the second round by the narrowest of margins.

Wednesday’s biggest giant-killings were done by Thai League 3 sides Muang Loei United and Uthai Thani FC, who managed to eliminate Thai League 1 giants Port FC and Muangthong United respectively. Leaders of the Northeastern Zone of this season’s Thai League 3, Muang Loei managed to knock out a strong Port side featuring the likes of Charyl Chappuis, Philip Roller, Sivakorn Jakkuprasat, Tanaboon Kesarat, and Nelson Bonilla 6-5 on penalties after a goalless 120 minutes. Former Port cult hero Tana Chanabut even got onto the pitch as a substitute for Muang Loei as the 37-year old helped his team knock the Khlong Toei goliaths out of the cup.

Meanwhile, a single Ricardo Santos goal in the 33rd minute was enough for Uthai Thani to eliminate Muangthong out of this season’s Thai League Cup. Leaders of their league’s Northern Zone, Uthai Thani had been quite ambitious in the transfer market as they’ve brought in a plethora of Thai League 1-experienced players, such as Santos, Junior Lopes, Mongkol Tossakrai, Datsakorn Thonglao, Wattana Playnum, Kirati Keawsombat, and Chitpanya Tisud. Their victory over a strong Muangthong side proved that Uthai Thani had what it takes to go toe-to-toe with opposition from a higher level.

Another Thai League 3 giant-killing was performed by Krabi FC as they edged out Thai League 1 side Suphanburi FC 3-2 at the Krabi Provincial Stadium, while Nakhon Ratchasima Mazda were eliminated from the Thai League Cup after losing 2-1 away at Thai League 2 side Chainat Hornbill.

Other lower league sides showed some grit and mettle in their games against Thai League 1 opposition, however in the end their opposition’s quality shone through and the lower league sides were narrowly eliminated despite their excellent performances.

True Bangkok United were made to work hard for their second round ticket as Thai League 2 outfit Lampang FC took them all the way to penalties, with the Emerald Chariots even playing with 10 men.

An injury-time winner from Getterson was exactly what Leo Chiangrai United needed as the Beetles eliminated plucky Thai League 3 side Phitsanulok FC 2-1, with the lower league side having taken the lead in the 15th minute.

PT Prachuap, Police Tero, and Khonkaen United were forced into extra-time by Thai League 2 sides Lamphun Warrior, Nakhon Pathom United, and Kasetsart FC respectively, however, the three Thai League 1 sides managed to edge out their opponents 2-1 thanks to goals scored in the final minute of extra-time.

Nongbua Pitchaya survived a fightback from Thai League 3 side Nakhon Si United to win 2-1 away at the Nakhon Si Thammarat Provincial Stadium, while a late Yoo Byung-soo goal managed to earn Chonburi FC a narrow 1-0 win away at Chiangmai FC of the Thai League 2.

Wednesday’s other first round games were more straightforward, though. Both Chiangmai United and Samut Prakan City won 3-1 away at Thai League 3 sides Nakhon Ratchasima United and Pluakdaeng United respectively, while Buriram United gave Thai League 2’s Rayong FC a footballing masterclass with a 2-0 win, in a match that saw Theerathon Bunmathan making his second debut for the Thunder Castles.

Thai League 2 bottom dwellers Rajpracha FC were hammered 3-1 by Ratchaburi Mitr Phol, with the Dragons mounting a spirited second half comeback having gone down 1-0 on half-time. The round’s biggest winners were arguably BG Pathum United, who crushed Thai League 3 side Songkhla FC 4-1 in front of a capacity crowd at the latter’s Tinsulanon Stadium. Singapore international Ikhsan Fandi, freshly signed from Norwegian second-tier side FK Jerv, scored a brace in this match, while there was also a goal for Worachit Kanritsribampen, who the Glass Rabbits had poached from Chonburi during the mid-season transfer window.