Thai League 2 2022-2023 : Wednesday 29 March 2023
Chiang Mai FC 4 Rajpracha FC 1
Chiang Mai FC:
Chiang Mai supporters will remember this game for the two fabulous strikes that book-ended our first win in the last six games.
Thammayut’s 18th minute free kick and Kim’s 94th minute strike were highlights in what looks like a comfortable win; though it was never certain until second half injury time.
Unfortunately a combination of smog, heat and the 5.30pm start meant this was CMFC’s lowest home crowd of the season. Just 662.
Credit must go to both teams for serving up an entertaining match despite air that you could cut a knife through and the high temperatures throughout.
Chiang Mai set up in a 3-4-1-2 with Filipovic, Suwannapat and Piyachanok as the back three and Yuta Hirayama and Tawan playing in front of Im ChangKyoon.
The surprise was the return of Phommin in central midfield. It was his first start since the opening day at Ranong and it was no surprise when just 11 minutes into the game he picked his first fight and was remarkably fortunate to escape a card.
The game saw early chances; Tawan, running onto Im’s lovely pass in behind the defense, shot straight at Phatcharaphong; at the other end Danilo Alves (9) left Stewart in his wake as he ran into the penalty area for a Ronnachai (14) pass but with time to pick his spot his left foot shot cleared the crossbar. Alves is a forward who looks like he cannot buy a goal.
It was Rajpracha who took the lead – Koki Narita (10) bravely running onto Jansada’s (21) chip behind the Chiang Mai defense and narrowly winning the race with Fahas to chip the ball over the Chiang Mai keeper.
The lead was short-lived. Pakpoom received a yellow card for a foul on Im ChangKyoon 25 yards in front of goal. Thammayut took the free kick and curled it with pace and bend over the wall and into the keeper’s top left corner. His calm reaction suggested he does this every day. It was a very good free kick.
The next chance fell again to Rajpracha as Santitorn (16) beat a half-hearted Phommin challenge and set up a shot that bounced off the base of Fahas’ right post.
A Rajpracha free kick was struck with power by Ronnachai but narrowly wide.
Stewart’s perfectly weighted right wing cross was headed narrowly over by Hirayama running behind Pakpoom at the far post and in the final action of the half Somroeng (20) headed wide for Rajpracha when it appeared easier to hit the target.
It has been an evenly fought first half.
Before the crowd were re-seated for the second half Koki Narita had shot over the bar from eight yards as Rajpracha pushed forward. Chatchai was then booked for a fairly agricultural challenge on the same player.
A long ball forward from Suwannapat on half way left Pakpoom challenging Kim BoYong (on at the start of the second half for Hirayama) in the penalty area.
Kim went down under Pakpoom’s clumsy challenge. Penalty. And a second yellow card for Pakpoom. He was very reluctant to leave the pitch.
The Rajpracha team either surrounded the referee of scuffed up the penalty spot. Finally after some five minutes Im ChangKyoon was able to step up and score from the spot sending the goalkeeper one way and the ball the other.
Minutes later Rjpracha were awarded a free kick for a foul by Im on Somroeng (20). The Rajpacha player jumped up and immediately belted the ball against the nearest Chiang MI player – in this case Chatchai.
The referee booked Chatchai – presumably for not retreating ten yards; though he would have had to be Usain Bolt to retreat before that free kick was taken. A second yellow card meant the teams were both down to ten a side.
After the Rajpracha shithousery following the penalty award this was bizarre refereeing unless he felt the need to even up the teams.
Rajpracha pushed forward for an equalizer though they have not scored more than a single goal in a game in 2023. Alves’ free header from a corner was deflected wide off Koki Narita’s knee and Veljko was booked for bringing down a Rajpracha forward – the free kick was given on the edge of the penalty area – from a distance it looked more inside than outside.
A tidy little pass from Ronnachai in behind the Chiang Mai defense released Alves but he pulled his shot wide of both the advancing Fahas and the far post.
That was to be Rajpracha’s last chance as they ran out of ideas and Chiang Mai rediscovered that goalscoring is fun.
In the 91st minute Kim BoYong under pressure could only scuff his shot but it ran across the six yard line for the onrushing Sarawut to confidently first time the ball home.
Then in the last minute of injury time and some 35 yards from goal Im let the bouncing ball run across him before hitting a high, looping, swerving volley with the outside of his left boot that Phatcharaphong could only admire as it sailed passed him into the roof of the net.
In the end 4-1 did rather flatter Chiang Mai – but at last we had a match where we both created chances and took them.
We also ended a depressing run of single goal defeats and can hopefully end the season in style.
Out next match is away at Chainat on Saturday 1 April – a 6.30pm kick off.