|Ummm....is this the right colour?|
Muangthong's lineup was: Kawin (GK), Piyachart (LB), Panupong (CB), Nattaporn (Capt, CB), Kaewprom (RB), Pitchipong (DM), Datsakorn( MD), Siaka (AM), Teerasil (LW, yes, LW) Christian (FW), Kone (FW)
We began the game in attacking style, with Christian immediately causing problems for his marker. Early on, he beat his man who seemed to pull at him a bit, Chris went down and the ref gave the penalty. Sadly, Dagno's penalty seemed predictable and under-hit. Yes, you read that right. It was criticism - albeit affectionate criticism - of the league's top scorer from the bloke who couldn't even score one of those 'beat the keeper' games outside the stadium before kick off. To the joy of the home fans.the goalie caught it with relative ease
The rest of the half was probably 60-40 to Muangthong in possession terms. It looked like Christian could break through at any moment but while this was an immense improvement on last Friday, we still weren't quite firing on all cylinders. Teerasil was way off form due to being pushed out wide. The ref was also part of the reason for the lack of flow in the game. He was a typical Thai referee - indecisive, seemingly random and clearly short on confidence. So at half time it was 0-0.
In the second half we came out attacking but the pattern of the game was the same. We'd get a bit more of the ball but not finish it, Tero would attack but their efforts seemed to be aiming for the skytrains moving across the skyline behind the stadium. But then about midway through the second half, Pitchipong curled in a free kick that Siaka popped up to slot home. 1-0. Relief.
Tero upped their game and "put us under pressure" as Jack Charlton would say, but they were remarkably wasteful in front of goal. In the very dying moments of injury time, the ref bizarrely gave Pitchipong his second yellow and, ergo, marching orders. I didn't see him put in a single bad challenge all game but this just about summed up the official. At least he was so random with his decisions that it probably balanced out for both sides.
As Tero lined up to take the free kick, the writing seemed to be on the wall. You could feel the tension in the away end and the hope in the home stand. Tero took their time....the big Brazilian lined up a powerblaster.......up he runs........over it goes, flying towards the skytrain again. Full time. Sorry old boy, Datsakorn Thonglao you ain't!
Not our best result or performance but the sheer number of games seems to be telling on our lads and they are soldiering through like the professionals they are. As for Tero, they still have a decent sized fan base, a good sponsor and a bit of cash. If they can sign some strikers to support Leesaw (who didn't play today of course), perhaps they can become a top five team again.
I'm now off to Pattaya this week, returning for the weekend and then off to Hua Hin. I'm not sure which games I'll see and which I'll miss but in any case, updates will appear here.
Man of the match: Pitchipong Choeichiu put in some great passes, strong tackles and a nice free kick for Dagno to score. The referee was a plonker to send him off.
Image credit: http://www.ancastersoccer.com