Wednesday, 30 June 2010

TTM Pichit 0 Muangthong United 2

Muangthong cruised to a two goal victory at TTM Pichit in a  game where the victorious side was never looking in doubt.

Muangthong's second goal was a close range smash-in by Christian that threatened to tear through the top of the net.

TTM Pichit had their player no.32 sent off in the second half for a needless shove on a Muangthong player.

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

TTM Pichit Vs MTU

The Quilins travel to Pichit tomorrow night in a game rescheduled from earlier this season. Pichit had a great start to the season but have since hit a slump so this should be a good time to make the long journey. After tomorrow, our next game is home to TOT CAT FC. A preview and fan interview will appear here.

Monday, 28 June 2010

MTU 5 SCG Samut Songkhram 0 - Report

Christian shows us his goalscoring technique 

Give me live football over footie on the box any day. Why the crowds for every game at the Legoland Thunderdome have dropped during the World Cup is a mystery to me but today's game also saw a lower than usual attendance. Perhaps it's a preview of how crowds would look if Muangthong ceased to win trophies. It's not too bad though - the Ultras stand is 70-80% full, the side stands about 60% and the same for the North Stand. Still a big crowd.

To the lineup - Kawin (GK), Piyachart (LB) , Jetsada (Cpt, CB) , Nattaporn (CB), Kone (RB) , Datsakorn (MD) , Zaizen (MD) , Yaya (LW) , Siaka (DM) , Christian (FW) , Teerasil (ST). Did you spot the interesting bit? A rare start for Zaizen, whose class is undeniable but whose health seems highly fragile. I was glad to see him.

Samut Songkhram were never really in this game. The first goal came when, ironically, I was lost in thought worrying that this side would continue their now notorious tactics. After all, this is the team that walked off in this fixture last time as their coach threw bottles at the home fans. All those flashbacks stopped me from seeing the first goal properly. I just remember the head of Dagno (or his twin, Kone) going up and netting the first goal.

From then on, the risk of a cheat-fest from the visitors was moot, as they were chasing a game they could not catch. Zaizen worked his magic well, playing in a far more offensive position than the man he replaced in the starting line up. There was nothing highly technical about his game, he simply spotted the runs and sideways movement of his teammates very well. Combining with the increasingly dangerous Christian and the trickery of Yaya, his neat one-two passes created frequent chances from very short range. This was possible because the pace of our front line forced SS to play three defenders so deep I actually wondered if they were going to come and sit next to me at one point.

The second goal of the day was my favourite, Yaya cut inside from the left touchline and played a waist-high ball to someone on the other side of the six yard box. The goalie dived to catch it but the onrushing Christian got there first, the ball hit his backside and went in. Christian was very modest in his celebration. If I had scored that, I'd invite everyone to applaud my bottom.

So by half time the outcome was sure, but Muangthong were not done. After all, things are so tight at the top that goal difference could still decide the title if Chonburi beat us at their place.

As MTU attacked the Ultras Stand in the second half, I recall Kone scoring a goal that I don't remember much about. Around the same time, Zaizen started feeling his legs and it was obvious he was spent for the day. He was replaced by Kaewprom, whom I have still to make up my mind about. He always looks like he might do something good, but doesn't always do it.

Goal number four was the classiest of the day. Kone (or his twin) received the ball from Yaya just outside the box. He could easily have taken the shot himself but instead he played it back to Yaya, who takes aim, gets his head down and wacks it in. Great teamwork, great finish, great double forward flip from Yaya as he celebrates.

Goal number five came from the forgotten man, Leesaw, who had replaced Christian. The bright haired one had already had a couple of golden chances that he blew and I couldn't help wondering if half his mind was on Isaan food, if you get what I mean. But I was forced to eat my words - tastier than som tam bplaa, to be fair - when he received a rather wild and deep cross that he took down and hit low for his first goal in some time.

Job done, and done in style. It got even better when news came through of Chonburi's defeat. True, Buriram is becoming a difficult place to visit and we still have to go there but Chonburi also have to visit the Leo Stadium, where BG have improved greatly under their new coach. As we approach the halfway mark, it still seems a case of a two horse race for the title that will be decided by holding of nerves, but there are still two other horses sneaking up from behind.

Man of the match -
At the risk of sounding highly cliched, this really was a solid team performance rather than any outstanding individual effort. Five goals from five different players, after all. Therefore this MOM decision troubled me more than any other, but I have to give it to Christian Yao Kouakou. Before he was subbed in the second half he displayed his usual strengths but also showed some new sides to his game. He hit one through ball that was so inch perfect, Platini would have been proud of it and at other times he appeared to show that his pace is increasing. It doesn't take a genius to figure that Yaya may not be around forever, so it's good to know we have another player that could eventually start giving defenders nightmares.

Sunday, 27 June 2010

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Muangthong Vs Samut Songkhram - pre-preview

Regular readers will know I usually try to interview a fan of the opposition before any home game to help us get to know each other a little better. Unfortunately, my efforts to do this with Samut Songkhram have been thwarted by their bizarre internet setup.

Their offical site has no forum, their Facebook group requires users to add them as a friend (as though they were one person) before communication and best of all, the unoffical fan site requires this question to be answered in the sign up process:

คุณรักปลาทูไหม ?
(Do you like tuna fish?)

My answers "yes" "no" and "What a stupid bloody question" were offered in both langauges only to be met with the response: "You failed to answer the verification question correctly". Apparently, you're only good enough to talk with these guys if you know the correct level of fondness for fish.

To make things worse, the ideal candidates for explaining love of fish - Portsmouth fans - are obviously not going to be jumping up to help me.

So if you are a) a Samut Songkhram fan or b) able to answer the riddle of the tuna fish then please, do get in touch and help.

If there are no takers, I'll just jump straight to a post match report next week.

Monday, 21 June 2010

RTA V MTU - photos and fan clip

Premature celebrations: here  Some fan and match pictures here

Goals here

RTA 2 MTU 2 - Report

My weekend in pictures.....
 Friday - Algeria 0 England 0

Saturday - Rajpracha 1 Chula United 6
Sunday - RTA 2 Muangthong 2

You know, for a club representing the icon of national security, Army FC sure aren't so big on security of their own.

The bag search consisted of a quick glance followed by a big beaming smile from a soldier who smiled at me just a little too long, and alcohol flowed freely inside and outside the stadium.

Two thousand or so Muangthong fans were shepherded into a cosy section of the ground. Obviously by 'cosy', I mean 'freaking dangerous'. It was sealed off on both sides and the only entrance was via one single gate. Luckily one fence had a gap big enough for fans to enter the rest of the ground, which was largely unoccupied.

Army's fans consisted of about twenty people and a bizarre dog that had been kitted up with flashing coloured lights that made Fido look like a cross between K-9 and a Teletubby. We outnumbered them about fifty to one. I took up my position full of hope that my miserable footballing weekend would come to a happy end. After Rajpracha's debacle and the news that those selfish buggers at Chonburi had gone and demolished yet another team, I was in desperate need of a pick up. But the line up had me slightly concerned:

Kawin (GK) , Kone (RB) , Jetsada (CB) , Nattaporn (CB) , Piyachart (LB) , Sylla (DM) , (Datsakorn (CM) , Siaka (MD) , Yaya (LW) , Teerasil (ST) , Christian (FW). No Pakasit, no Anupong, no Leesaw (can anyone hear a clock ticking down?) and Kone filling in at right back. Would this work?

For the first fifteen minutes or so the answer was 'no'. Army played the ball around nicely and looked high on energy if limited on technique and skill. When they scored from a goalmouth scramble sometime around twenty minutes, I was none too happy.

The goal appeared to be the kick up the backside we need and on two occasions it looked like Christian - who spent most of his time on the right wing - would outpace his marker and cut inside, but in fact the goal came pretty much out of the blue. Kone (Edit: sorry it was Kone, not Dagno Siaka!) received the ball outside the Army box and there appeared to be no danger as he span around and hit a first time shot that screamed into the goal.

Half time 1 - 1

Sylla was taken off and replaced by number nine Ronnachi Rungsiyo for the second half. I was pleased to see him given a chance and he was damn pleased to take it. Chipping a goalkeeper is never easy, but to do it from the angle and with the quickness that this guy did it about ten minutes into the second half was truly excellent. 1 - 2 to Muangthong and we deserved it.

At this time a section of the massive away crowd broke off and began a series of fun-filled celebratory dances behind Kawin's goal. It was real party atmosphere. But the danger with a party over a one goal lead is of course that it's easy for the neighbours to bang on the walls. Muangthong appeared to become complacent, performing the old tricks of substituting players at the far end of the pitch (Pitchipong and Kaewprom both came on, I can't recall whom they each replaced) and the odd prolonged injury or free kick. But Army didn't give up and they scored in the dying moments of the game. Thai fans seem to take it so well when their team concedes that they hardly miss a beat in their cheering. By contrast, yours truly needs a few seconds to curse, grumble, complain and and imagine kicking a small animal.

The fun wasn't over though, an incident on the far side of the pitch resulted in a red card for Pitchipong - who had barely been on the pitch for ten minutes - and some heated exchanges between players and officials as the final whistle went. A miserable end to a miserable footballing weekend.

Positives - we didn't lose, we looked very good in parts, Rungsiyo proved his worth and the shock of the late goal should eliminate any complacency in future. Next game is Samut Songkhram at home. Let's hope it's not another cheating-fest from the visitors and that Chonburi do the decent thing and drop some points for once.

Man of the match:
You would never know that Kone Muhammed was playing out of position. He cleared up all danger down the right side, distributed every ball sensibly and was never caught out of position. Competition for Pakasit?





Friday, 18 June 2010

Mystery man


Photo credit: mooninblack on mtufc.net

Farang Quilins may have been wondering who this man is, as he's been paraded around the Legoland Stadium a few times recently to a fair amount of excitement.

Well, he is Suwat Liptapanlop, former Deputy Prime Minister and member of Thaksin's Thai Rak Thai Party. As an executive, he was one of the party members banned from politics for five years when TRT was dissolved. The ban has two more years to run but of course, politicians can wield influence in many ways.

Muangthong travel to Royal Thai Army FC on Sunday. A report will appear here. 

 

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

FA Cup fixture

Muangthong begin their quest for the double tomorrow night as we take on non-leaguers Banbung Nawanakorn at home. Rene will be in Belgium trying to solve the Flanders conflict, so Robert Procurer will be in charge of first team affairs.

With great respect to our opponents, this would seem like a time to rest some key players and give the likes of Amorn, Kaewprom and Rungsiyo a chance to make a name for themselves.

It seems I'll be unable to attend this game but some updates will follow.

Monday, 14 June 2010

Nostelgia



At last week's game against Pattaya United, Panini were giving away free  (to ticket buyers) WC 2010 sticker albums. As they were free, I picked one up. Only for the nipper, you understand.....

This was the first sticker album I had picked up since the World Cup of Mexico 1986 and what a flashback I got. I can still remember the excitement of collecting those stickers as a kid; the ruthless trade on the playground between all of us who had "doubles" or "swaps", the fear of my parents that I would be mugged for my large collection of "swaps", my joy at completing my first team and my disappointment at the team in question being Poland.

Most of all I remember being so close to completing the album that my parents ordered the last set of stickers. However, orders were limited to thirty stickers per house, so I had to order extra deliveries to my grandparents, my neighbours and my non-football following friends, too.

I'm pretty sure that back then, stickers came in a pack of eight. Now there's only five in a pack. Apart from that, little has changed.

If you're after a bit of nostalgia or looking for your kids to follow in your footsteps, the album can still be picked up from the MTU club shop. Stickers can be purchased from the same place or from Seven Eleven stores, though many say they have sold out.

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Saraburi 0 Muangthong United 3

And, I hope, some pictures and details to follow. Possibly including a photo of Rene actually breathing fire.

Friday, 11 June 2010

Osotspa Saraburi M150 Vs Muangthong United

 Image credit: soccerway.com

MTU travel to Saraburi on Sunday to face a club that have already confirmed they will be next to trample on their fans and leave the area soon.

It will be a tough trip to the mid table side and the pressure will be on the Quilins as Chonburi seem to have bounced back from their Thunderdome defeat very well.

No match report for this one as I'm unable to attend but rest assured, I'll get the gossip.

Thursday, 10 June 2010

FA Cup 3rd Round draw

Buriram PEA (TPL) Vs Ratchatewi (D2?)
Nakhom Pathom (D1) Vs Customs FC (D1)
TTM Pichit (TPL )Vs Police United (TPL)
Suphanburi (D1) Vs Army FC (TPL)
TOT (TPL) Vs Saraburi (TPL)
Sumthorn Sakhorn JK (D2) v Chonburi (TPL)

Thai Port (TPL) v Bang Phra (?)
BKK Utd (TPL) v Khon Kaen (D1)
Muang Thong United (TPL)v Ban Beung (Non-league?)
Rajpracha (D1) v Prachinburi (D1)
Navy Rayong (TPL) v BKK Glass (TPL)
Chula United (D1) v Sisaket (TPL)
Samut Songkhram (TPL) v Phuket (D2)
Chiang Rai United (D1) v BEC Tero (TPL)
SriRacha (D1) v Rachaburi (D2?)

There may be some games I've missed out.

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

CAT TOT ..... SOD OFF

 Image: siamsport.com
  
I'm not sure what the management of CAT TOT are thinking. In fact, I doubt they are thinking at all.

In Kanchanaburi they had a great stadium and a great catchment area for potential fans. They choose to spit on the fans they did gain and move back to Nonthaburi. Yes, the same Nonthaburi with three successful teams inside it already.

Only, when they got 'home' they realised their stadium wasn't ready (apparently they didn't check beforehand) and they decided to ground share with Muangthong. Another strain on a pitch already supporting two teams.

But if they were grateful for the assistance, they didn't show it. We've already had reports of fans hounding the referee out of the stadium after their game with Pattaya, and that was after their Georgian player decided to assault the referee in an earlier game with Saraburi.

Now comes the news that TOT have refused to accept the ten game ban on said player and are threatening to sue the TPL for "thirty to fifty million baht".
They claim they did not sign a pre-season contract of conduct that every other team signed.

How the heck do they arrive at the figure of up to fifty million baht? The prize money for winning the TPL is only ten million baht and nobody believes TOT will win it. Perhaps they were expecting to sell one hundred thousand shirts with this player's name on the back and can prove in court that they've lost one hundred thousand fans because of the punishment? Right, and perhaps I'll play for England on Saturday.

Given that TOT appear to have no respect for fans, no ambition, no code of conduct and no respect for a clearly just and deserved punishment given to them, I rather wish we'd never let them use the Thunderdome. Hope you go down, lads.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

FA Cup draw......postponed!

To june 10th.

Anyone else get the impression the Thai FA is like an Asian version of this.....?

Monday, 7 June 2010

FA Cup draw tomorrow

The draw for round three or first round proper of the Thai FA Cup is tomorrow. This is the stage where the Premiership teams will enter the competition. Of the lower leagues, Raj are through as are Air Force United, Suphanburi and Chula United.

A draw at home or away to Raj or Chula would be great.

Penalties at the Thunderdome

 Photo credit: Jane Chalinee 

The webmaster of thai-fussball.de made an interesting point recently concerning the number of penalties awarded at the Thunderdome and the fact that they seemed to be very frequent.

It's an understandable concern, but was it correct? Such complaints used to be frequently aimed at the Liverpool side in the Dalgleish years because of the number of late penalties awarded in front of the Kop End at Anfield. In later years, the same complaints predictably switched targets to Manchester United, though a report showed the 'Red Devils' received less penalties than several other teams in the EPL.

But enough of those minnows, what about Muangthong? At first I planned to knock up a spreadsheet to record the number of penalties along with the player fouled, time of award, etc. Then I remembered that I left my anorak in the UK and that my wife is a real person, not a mail order blow-up doll. So instead, here is a quick check from memory, subject to error:

VB Sports: Yes (2)
Persiwa: Yes
Navy Rayong: Yes
Bangkok United: No
Buriram PEA: No
BEC Tero: Yes
Chonburi: Yes
Pattaya United: Yes

So "yes" = 6 (two in one game) "No" = 2. At least three penalties every four games. It is also interesting that all but two of these penalties were awarded in front of the Ultras Stand.

Of course, this data alone doesn't tell us anything whatsoever. What we really need to know is: were these penalties justified? Was the ref giving them by instinct or under encouragement from fans and players? Even then, we would not be able to tell if this was giving us an advantage, we'd need to check the same statistics for every other team in the league. Moreover, if we are going to do things scientifically (which I'm obviously not right now), we'd need the data from a whole season.

So all we can do right now is try hard to be objective. I can honestly say two things based on my own personal opinion. Of all the penalties I have seen close up this season, only one was a mistake by the official and in the two games where the penalty was the deciding goal in the match - Navy Rayong and Pattaya United - we were clearly the better team and sought to play open, attacking football against players who not only sought a draw, but did so by very, very dubious means. I believe Muangthong players do not look for penalties because they feel they are the better side and can win by playing the game properly. I'd be interested to hear other opinions, though.

Muangthong United 1 Pattaya United 0

It's best not to write a full report for this one. Credit to the Muangthong players who tried hard to play football under very difficult and provocative circumstances. Credit to both sets of fans for calming a situation that threatened to flare up in the second half and for saluting each other at the end.

Unfortunately today's game was an example of how a potentially exciting game of football can be totally destroyed by an incompetent, inconsistent and very weak minded official, and a set of players willing to use that to their advantage. It certainly highlights improvements and changes that need to be made.

I hope to have some pictures to come soon and an interesting question regarding penalties at the Thunderdome has been raised, I might blog about that later.

Friday, 4 June 2010

Next up: Pattaya United - preview and fan interview






Pattaya United are the modern incarnation of Coke-Bangpra FC. The
Chonburi based outfit moved to Sin City in 2007 and since then have
enjoyed two seasons fighting relegation. Last season they stayed up on the final week of the season at the expense of Chula United.

The 'Dolphins' have a predictably high level of farang support but are
constricted in a tiny stadium with a capacity of three thousand. A new
stadium is already in the works.

Despite their previous struggles, the squad have recently embarked on
a good run of form including wins over TOT (marred by some violent
scenes after the match) and Samut Songkhram. They now sit in third
place in the table, trailing Muangthong and Chonburi by just one
point, but they have played two more games.

The province:

Pattaya is in Chonburi province and is within two hours drive of
Bangkok. The city is a popular weekend getaway for Thais and
foreigners alike. Although known for its wild nightlife and crime,
the city does have plenty of culture and history including the Thai-Chinese Museum, local vineyards and some excellent sports.

Pattaya is one of only two cities in Thailand that has an elected
governor.


The Squad:
See the fan interview below


Did you know?

Pattaya United's English-Jamaican player Richard Langley has played for Jamaica, Bristol Rovers and Luton. He recently took some of his teammates along to an orphanage in Pattaya and played a match with the children. Langley played barefooted. Kudos to this man.


I call:
This is an excellent opportunity for Muangthong to cut themselves
and Chonburi off from the rest of the pack and send a message that
the title race is between two teams (though BG may well catch up). As
long as we don't start to look tired we should do it. I predict 2-0.

 *************************************************************************
 And now the fan interview...........



My victim was Willi Schanz, who is prominent member of the PU fan club and acts as a contact point for fellow German ex-pat fans.



Could you tell us where you are from, how long you've lived in Thailand and what do you do here?

I am Willi Schanz and I come from Germany, Stuttgart.


What made you choose Pattaya United as your Thai team?
As I live in Pattaya, Nong Prue, it is granted that I support my local team here. But I also follow Banglamung FC in the Chonburi Provincial League.


There's a lot of ex-pats in Pattaya, does the team have a lot of farang fans? Do they get on well together?

Yes, Pattaya United has a big fanbase made out of ex-pats. And the nice thing is that you are stay together in the stands with folks from England, Germany, Scandinavia and other countries. We also go to away games together. I think that is something unique and wouldn't be possible in Europe.

Did you support Pattaya during last season when the team battled relegation?
Yes, I've been with Pattaya since they were founded. And I even watched a few games of Bangphra before. It was the teams fault they faced a relegation battle last year. In some games they easily gave away points out of their hands, which they obviously could win

This season, the team are doing well so far. What position do you expect to finish?
Before the start of the season, the board of the club aimed a spot in the TOP5. I was a bit more cautious, that time, I would had been happy with a place somewhere in the midfield of the table. But the team is really strong this season and we are good enough for some surprises.

Who are your best players?
I would say our Striker Ludovick, Niweat Siriwong and Arlindo.


What do you think of Muangthong United fans and players?
Muang Thong do have a really good team with a lot of Nationalplayers. And at the stadium there is always a great atmosphere. We as Pattaya United can only dream of such big crowds.

What do you think the score will be in the match between Muangthong and Pattaya?
I personally would be very happy with a draw. But I was at the training this week, and a lot players told me that we will win. After 6 Matches unbeaten, they are looking very confident now.

Anything else to add?

I would like to wish MTU all the best for their AFC Cup campaign, and I hope they can advance as much as possible. This would be a good thing for Thai football

Thanks to Willi for the interview (and Mario, another ex-pat who offered to help but didn't have time). The site www.pattayautd.com is available in Thai and English for anyone who wants to read more about Pattaya United.

Photo credits: mtutd.tv and ptufans.com 

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

The latest postponement

The home game against Pattaya United is postponed by twenty four hours. It will now kick off at 1800 this Sunday. Thanks to my usual source for the early heads up.

I hope to have a fan interview and preview soon.