Saturday, 29 May 2010

MTU 4 Chonburi 1 - Report

Yaya sends his welcome to the Chonburi defence

The best way to explain the excitement and noise for today's game is to say it matched any local derby in the UK. For the first time, Muangthong opened the upper West Stand of the Thunderdome, allowing a total of 21,000 fans into this game. A sea of red and an oasis of light blue covered the entire Impact Arena area with noise and colour. All fans were searched before entry but the mood was good. This was a special moment for Thai football and we could feel it. Like most fans, I was excited but nervous for my team.

One slightly unusual factor at play was Muangthong's choice of black strip - usually an away strip - making Chonburi use their own third choice of red stripes. Apparently this was due to the advice of a fortune teller.

Muangthong started out with what I consider to be our strongest line up: Kawin (GK) , Pakasit (RB) Piyachart (LB) , Jetsada (Cap, CB) Anupong (CB) , Sylla (DM) , Datsakorn (MD) , Siaka (MD) , Yaya (LW) , Christian (FW), Teeasil (ST)

Notice I put Yaya as a left winger today. A message in a bottle told me Muangthong's coaches believed Chonburi's right back would struggle to contain him. Boy, were they right!

Not that you'd know it from the opening moments, though. Chonburi's opener came as quick as it did in our last meeting. I was still trying to get focused on the game itself amid all the excitement, so all I recall is a striker sliding in from close range to beat Kawin. Damn.
Edit: My view was blocked but apparently this was an own-goal.

Muangthong responded well. Unlike previous games, the crosses came from the touchline and as such, they were delivered with more speed and less curl. But a few chances went amiss until someone - Datsakorn I think - was taken down in the box. At the risk of sounding like Arsene Wenger, I don't want to comment too much as I couldn't see what happened clearly. Chonburi's goalkeeper walked off and his team mates followed him. I never really understand the thinking of players when they do this. Still, there is no need to focus on it today.

The players returned , Dango took the penalty and scored.  1-1. The rest of the first half was balanced. Kawin pulled off some good stops and Muangthong kept up a good supply of crosses from both sides. Jetsada seemed to be playing notably further upfield than usual.

In the second half MTU were shooting towards me in the North Stand. Kone came on to replace Christian and made an immediate impact, getting in on a cross from the right wing that looped over Chonburi's keeper to send us home fans ecstatic. 2-1.

But, as seems customary, we did our best to let Chonburi back in. They began a spell of possession play that saw Byrne put one over and had Kawin tip another one over, several wasted free kicks and a cleared corner. We responded by taking off Datsakorn and bringing on Nattaporn. Jetsada seemed to move up to midfield officially. Then the tide turned.

Yaya had been tormenting the Chonburi back line for much of the game but as we began our own spell of possession play, he began to give the Sharks' back four nightmares that Freddy Krugger would be scared of.  As the coaches had planned, Yaya skimmed his marker over and over again, Kone seemed to find himself space whenever he needed it and Teersail was loving the extra options his teammates were giving him.

A free kick floated in by Piyachart met the head of Yaya to make it 3 - 1 around the seventy minute mark. This really seemed to be the mental clincher for both sides. The forward line continued to take it to the touchline and cut inside the Chonburi penalty area and were rewarded with a neatly set up goal for Teerasil about twelve minutes from time. 4-1. The home fans went delirious and began passing a giant flag around the ground. The away fans looked less chuffed.

During all this, the chances continued to flood in, some of them looked easier to score than to miss. But of course it's easy for a lazy fan like me to say that.

We were screaming for more of course, but the game quietened down. Chonburi did create more chances, hitting the crossbar and side post at least once each. But by then the Sharks knew today was not their day and that feeling must have been compounded when one of their team took what may have been the worst corner ever shortly before full time.

After the whistle, the teams swapped shirts, the players saluted both sets of fans and, needless to say, we hung around to soak it up.

Chonburi played well today. That they lost by this margin was because we, at times, were excellent. After our 'opening' game against VB Sports, I said nobody would be able to stop us if we played like that every game. Today, we played better than that. The title race is not even half way done and there are bound to be twists and turns but if we do retain, then today will surely stick out as one of the crucial moments.

For now we can reflect on a good game of football, some controversy, an amazing atmosphere and - as John Hannibal Smith would say - the love of having a "plan come together".

Some great pictures and video to come soon.

Man of the match:
I know, I know, it's the easy option to give it to Yaya. So many players did a great job today. Kawin, Sylla, Pakasit, Piyachart or Kone could all be in the running, but my overriding memory is the spell in the second half with Chonburi's back line looking like scarecrows thanks to this man. The champagne goes to the Ivorian.

Photo credit: 


  1. It's great for MTU to have so many choices up front; Yaya, Teerasil, Kone and Kristian!!!

    However, I think that this situation isn't good for Thai players like Leesaw and Ronnachai.

    Also, I heard a rumor, appears on a popular Thai football forum, that Leesaw might be moving to Buriram PEA in the near future!!! may be in the second leg of this season.

  2. Hi TT,

    I don't think there is anything to that speculation. Let's hope not! :-)

  3. Hi Greg,

    I was looking through the Muang Thong United Wiki page today and noticed a new name: Cihan Birin (a forward from Turkey taking the number 20 shirt). Do you know if they signed him or if he even exists cause that would be another blow for the Thai forwards like Ronnachai, who are trying to make the first team.
    And, do you have any idea when Goktan will return to full fitness? I believe he can be a force opponents will fear!
    Last question, I thought Leesaw was on loan from that Belgian club, so is it possible to move to another club if he is due back in a couple of months (I believe his loan ends in December)?



  4. Hi Sam, the info on wiki regarding MTU is sketchy at best. As far as I'm aware the no. 20 shirt still belongs to Amorn, and I've never heard of this other player. I will check on Monday though for the official word.

    Nobody seems sure what is going on with Berkant, sadly.

    Leesaw is still on loan, I'm guessing that loan is under UEFA rules so I believe he can join a third club if all three clubs agree terms but I don't believe there is any truth in the rumour anyway.

  5. Yes, it's confirmed that no.20 is Amorn. Nobody has heard of the other player.