After a blockbuster opening weekend with 23 goals scored across eight matches, the second promises to be just as enticing with a number of significant clashes coming up.
Early Test for Bangkok United and Port
Port FC’s trip to the Thammasat Stadium might be the weekend’s biggest clash, and it may have come at an inopportune time for both teams.
Bangkok United were one of only three teams to take full points from Matchday 1, after a Heberty-inspired comeback saw them see off Chiangmai United at the 700th Anniversary Stadium. None of the four sides which finished above them last season were able to win their matches, which certainly gives it some narrative significance. The Angels would likely have preferred a simpler fixture to build upon the positive momentum.
On the other hand, Port have historically struggled against the other big sides, picking up only four points out of a possible 18 against the rest of the top four last season. These are the games where their lack of defensive organisation comes back to hurt them – something coach Dusit Chalermsan was explicitly brought in to fix. However, one would imagine that the new boss would like more time before his handiwork is put to the test, especially since the side shipped three goals to Police Tero last time out.
Regardless, it is the fixture the sides must face, and whoever comes out victorious could be in for a big boost of confidence and momentum.
Muangthong and Chonburi Aim to Atone for Missed Opportunities
Both Muangthong United and Chonburi FC felt they could have taken all three points from Matchday 1. The Kirin were denied a win against Prachuap thanks to a late penalty from Willen Mota, while Chonburi arguably had 10-man BG at their mercy but failed to land the killer blow. As a result, both sides will be even more eager to take full points this time out.
For the Sharks, their new forward three of Dennis Murillo, Gidi Kanuk and Yoo Byung-Soo holds the key to their success this season. Their interplay was on show in flashes during the BG game, and the team as a unit were able to hold their own against the defending champions. Trips to Chonburi will be a daunting prospect once things click into place, and Muangthong will be hoping to catch them before that happens.
However, coach Mario Gjurovski has some rough edges of his own to iron out. The side still looked vulnerable defensively, and the development of Chatchai Saengdao and Marco Ballini as viable partners for Lucas Rocha will be crucial for them this season. The lack of a defensive midfielder is also worrying, and could make them vulnerable on the counter-attack. Both sides look stronger going forward and have midfield technicians capable of the sublime, so an open and attacking game could be on the cards.
Vidmar Faces Selection Headache Ahead of Ratchaburi Clash
Aurelio Vidmar has enjoyed a fantastic honeymoon with BG Pathum United over the past few months. First, he guided the side through the group stage of the AFC Champions League and earned a nomination for the competition’s best coach in the process. He then got his hands on some silverware in the form of the Thailand Champions Cup thanks to their 1-0 victory over Chiangrai United.
However, that came to a halt in Chonburi on Sunday night, as things began to unravel for his side. Despite taking the lead through Diogo Luis Santo, BG had to withdraw Victor Cardozo due to fitness concerns. They conceded a penalty to allow Chonburi back into the game, and were then reduced to 10 men after Yodrak Namuangrak was sent off for acquainting Yoo Byung-Soo’s face with his elbow. After already losing Andres Tunez to injury, they could be without both Victor and Chatree Chimtalay this weekend, meaning that there may not be enough defenders to staff their characteristic back three.
The Rabbits are coming up against a Ratchaburi side that returned to form last weekend, dispatching Khon Kaen United 2-0 with a convincing display and a virtuoso performance from star attacker Steeven Langil. The Australian boss also has to keep one eye on their trip to Korea next week to face Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors in the Champions League Round of 16.
Nongbua Aim to Spring Second Surprise
Nongbua Pitchaya FC announced themselves to the Thai top flight in style last Friday night, dispatching Nakhon Ratchasima with a 2-0 victory. The side are playing at home again and hoping to make it two from two when they face Samut Prakan City.
The Gamecocks looked adept both in possession and at sitting back to strike with lethal counter attacks. Hamilton Soares showed off his incredible goalscoring instinct with a pair of clinical finishes, while left-winger Lidor Cohen and playmaker Lursan Thaimrat demonstrated their quality by providing the assists and tantalizing supporters with flashes of brilliance on the ball.
Meanwhile, Masatada Ishii’s men may consider themselves unlucky for not taking all three points from a very tough trip to Chiangrai’s Singha Stadium. The Japanese boss fielded an incredibly attacking and enterprising lineup, and missed a few chances to take the lead during the first half. A pair of wonder strikes from Chaiyawat Buran and Chayawat Srinawong put them on the path to victory, but their defensive frailty was their undoing once again.
This is another game that could go either way – but if Matchday 1 is anything to go by, we can be sure that it will be an entertaining clash.