Sunday, 28 March 2010

MTU 4 Persiwa 1 - Report

 And if you thought this guy was a plonker......

Build up and atmosphere for this one was very similar to Wednesday's game. Same crowd size, same sense of optimism, same lack of knowledge of our opponents, except for me of course, thanks to my cockney contact.

There was still a shock in store, though. Whereas VB Sports had looked exactly what they were - a mixed bunch of average players from a  small team - the sight of Persiwa warming up was a shock. At first I thought Persiwa FC and the Fijian rugby team had got their team coaches mixed up.

Each Persiwa player sported an army haircut and shoulders that could be used for laying bricks. Some were lanky, Carlton Palmer lookalikes, others were shorter. The most captivating sight was the two 'keepers. These two twins both looked like Mike Tyson. By that, I mean the Mike Tyson of today - the square shoulders, the muscle and the flabby gut. With respect to these two, they both had the physique of Sunday league players and possibly the skill to match. I'll call the first choice goalie 'Mike' , and the second choice 'Tyson'. You'll see why soon enough.

MTU made few changes. With Nattaporn suspended, Panupong started next to Captain Jet, Piyachart came in on the left and Sylla played more central.

The game started in a scrappy way. Persiwa clearly planned to play a classic Wimbledon FC type of game; keeping it central, long ball and scrappy while using their superior size to their advantage. Indeed, Kone was not used to his marker having the height and strength to match his own and he wasn't having fun. After a clash of heads, he donned a headband. Mind you, his choice of salmon pink detracted a little from his 'tough guy' look.

(As usual in match reports, I will now switch to the present tense for narrative purposes)

Little happens in these opening moments except for a superb point blank save from Kawin at around twelve minutes. You know how much I rate Kawin, but it occurs to me today that one day this young goalie will - like all goalkeepers - drop a clanger. How he responds to that could determine his whole career.

After about eighteen minutes, Datsakorn slides it across for Kone to slot home. 1 - 0 MTU and Kone looks relieved. Perswia continue to play deep and look for a goal on the break. The Quilins continue to keep most of the possession but lack the killer through ball that seemed to come so easily on Wednesday.

In the second half MTU attack the North Stand where I'm standing. About five minutes in, the skillful Piycahart shimmies one defender and then shimmies another as he cuts into the penalty box. His second touch was too strong and the ball slips away, but at the same time, the defender makes light contact with him. Piyachart throws himself down for the penalty.  Leesaw steps up and shoots right....goalie dives left......2-0 MTU. Job done.

About ten minutes later, Yaya catches his marker napping and takes a neat finish to make it 3 - 0.

Would Persiwa close up and try to keep a respectable score or go for broke?  That decision becomes irrelevant soon. Yaya latches on to a through ball from Pitchipong and goalie Mike rushes out and purposely clips him. Out comes the red card for Mike - who does best to feign a serious injury - and Persiwa are down to ten men.

Persiwa haul off BA Baracus from midfield to make way for substitute goalie, Tyson. Tyson looks almost comically squat as he bounds onto the pitch, though he also looks confident. It won't last.

The free kick is cleared but it falls back to Datsakorn. He plays a stray ball that Tyson punts clear. Before long the ball runs to him (Tyson) again and he foots a weak clearance straight to Pitchipong. It's clear that Tyson's priority is simply to get the ball away from him ASAP. Not the sign of a confident goalie.

A few minutes later Piyachart plays the ball nowhere and a Persiwa defender trots towards the ball.  Suddenly Tyson comes bouncing out from goal to collect it. Thing is, Tyson is so comically slow that he actually orders the defender away from the ball to save his own face.

Persiwa persevere though and pull one back with about ten minutes to go. Still, it's mostly MTU and a fairly weak shot on goal is dropped by Tyson. He collects the spill, but like Phil Collins, I can feel it coming....

And so it was. With seconds left, Panupong shoots in a low but straight free kick. Tyson drops down, but he drops to one knee, not two. Sure enough, the ball runs through his hands, through the gap between his tree stump legs and into the net. Poor old Tyson lies flat out in goal, nursing his pride as the North Stand go wild. Even Leesaw was sympathetic as he refused to celebrate while he collected the ball.

By now everyone knew Tyson's confidence was shot to pieces and until the game was over, there could be no mercy. Fans called for a shot whenever an MTU player touched the ball, even on the half way line, but Muangthong seemed satisfied and the game played out to a 4-1 finish.

Credit to Persiwa, they may be a mediocre team but they played in a sporting manner and worked hard. Both the goalkeepers saluted the Muangthong fans both before and after the game, even though it was surely a nightmare for them both. Good luck to them both and the rest of this scary looking bunch of guys for the rest of the season.

As for us, two games in, seven goals to the good and top of our AFC group. Next up (we hope) is Navy Rayong for our first home league game.

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