Chiang Mai FC 2 Navy FC 1
Thai M150 Championship
Saturday 9 April 2022
700th Anniversary Stadium
This felt like a must win game for Chiang Mai. Although not technically safe this win, ugly as it was, should be enough to ensure League 2 football for Chiang Mai FC next season
Chiang Mai retained just five of the team that lost last week at home to Trat. The changes are so extensive each week that it is hard to know who coach Tanongsak regards as his preferred starting line-up.
Navy are already relegated with just 11 points from their 31 games this season. They are the footballing equivalent of cannon fodder or target practice.
Chiang Mai scored after five minutes and dominated the first forty minutes.
It was Seiya who opened the scoring, leaping high above Durosinmi at the far post to head home Suchanon’s corner from close range and a narrow angle.
Gustavsson, looking lively on his first start since his outing to Dubai with the Thai under-23 squad, volleyed narrowly over.
Seiya then headed Sumeth’s left wing cross, narrowly over the crossbar and a Pongrawit shot drew a comfortable save from Surat in goal for Navy.
Danilo launched himself into a flying header to a cross from the right sides. It looked much more dramatic than the resulting sideways header.
A second goal followed just before the half hour. A throw in on the far side in the Chiang Mai half; a flick of the head that released Gustavsson down the right side. Shaking off a number of attempts to be hauled back by the lumbering Santipap, Gustavsson bore down on goal and had the time and composure to slide the ball past Surat’s left hand.
Danilo nearly added a third with his header from a corner into the near post drawing a fine instinctive save from Surat.
Then completely against the run of play Navy pulled a goal back. Durosinmi wide on the right beat Poomphat, leaving the Chiang Mai captain flat on his back. He advanced into the right side of the penalty area without any Chiang Mai defender trying to close him down, or even looking mildly concerned. Durosinmi simply picked a spot with his left foot to score.
2-1 at half time; Chiang Mai had been dominant but failed to convert that into the goal feast that their fast start had threatened.
The second half opened with Kiadtiphon carefully turning Sirichai’s curling shot over the crossbar.
After that the only second half excitement came from nearby rumbles of thunder and lightning.
A Santipap free kick deflected narrowly wide of Kiadtiphon’s right post.
With almost thirty minutes to go Chiang Mai replaced their main goal threat, Gustavsson, with Somyot moving into midfield.
Nattawut replaced Danilo and Seiya, so lively in the first half, disappeared from the game.
Looking comfortable with their one goal lead Chiang Mai were able to play out the game for a much needed win.
This was a stalemate of a second half that was depressingly devoid of both quality and incident.
The positives: three points and two welcome goals after three successive goal-less defeats; but in front of a miserly crowd of just 567.