Где Кабаев?

Chiang Mai FC 0 Grand Andaman Ranong United 0

Thai M150 Championship
Sunday 20th February 2022
700th Anniversary Stadium

Starting XI

Evgeny Kabaev has not started a game since 5th December. He did play eleven minutes as a substitute in the last home game against Sukhothai.

Where is the Russian invasion when we need one? Kabaev scores goals. He may not last 90 minutes; indeed he may not last 45 minutes; but give him the time to come on and lead the attack.

Instead in the final minutes Chiang Mai sent on Nattawut and Pinyo. Pinyo is through on goal in the last minute with just the goalkeeper to beat. He takes a wild, uncontrolled swing at the ball and slices it hopelessly wide. Somehow it was all too predictable.

Make no mistake. This was a poor game against a very mediocre Ranong side. It was also Chiang Mai’s third 0-0 draw in 2022 with just six goals in the last seven games.

Chiang Mai made just one change from the side that lost at Ayutthaya last weekend with Somyot in for Natithorn. Tawan, Narupon and Pongrawit were still missing from the squad.

Ranong’s problems are much like Chiang Mai’s with just five goals in seven games since the restart. It is hard to see how they could ever score although in the Cameroonian, Frank, they did have the best player on the night. Sitting in front of the back four he was strong and energetic and his distribution was impressive.

The opening quarter was all Chiang Mai, in large part due to good work down the left side from Supasak. His early cross was palmed out by goalkeeper Wattanachai to Poomphat whose shot from twelve yards was drilled straight at his own forward, Danilo.

Gustavsson’s run across the penalty area ended with him slicing his shot wide. As an aside when were there ever two Number 77s on opposing sides in a football match.

From a short corner on the right Supasak’s shot flattened Saeid, Ranong’s captain.

Chiang Mai’s best opportunity of the half fell to Danilo. Supasak’s fine run down the left finished with him rolling the ball into the path of Danilo whose sidefoot shot was wide of the far post.

Chiang Mai then lost Gustavsson with what looked like a groin strain. Seiya Sugishita replaced him but at that point the home team lost the pace and urgency that had been so enjoyable for the first 25 minutes.

Seiya was quickly in the action volleying over after a long Poomphat throw.

Danilo’s driving run into the penalty area from the right side saw him play a tidy wall pass with Suchanon but then try to poke the ball home with his right foot when it was on his left side. The ball was deflected for a corner.

Finally, for the first half, Wattanachai reacted well to turn over Suchanon’s header from Poomphat’s gallop and cross from the right side.

0-0 at half time. Chiang Mai had dominated possession and created the only chances of the half. But after Gustavsson’s departure the approach play had become increasingly laboured.

The second half was far more even, and significantly duller.

A Ranong cross from the right ballooned into the six yard box from a deflection. Jaturong called for the ball then watched as it bounced over his head and onto the top of the crossbar. Comic relief.

Supasak, again, got away a left foot cross that was met on the half-volley by Suchanon but straight into Thawatchai.

A Supasak free kick was met by Seiya’s head but was a comfortable save for the goalkeeper though he was then beaten by a Danilo header, from Somyot’s cross, that scraped the outside of an upright.

Frank pulled a long range shot wide for Ranong and Jaturong turned a deflected near post shot from substitute Seki away for a corner.

And of course there was the Pinyo effort as the final act of a game that had so little to commend it.

If you want to win a match and you have a choice between Pinyo, Amornthep and Kabaev on the bench who do you really want to send out? Are our expectations now so low that we accept a 0-0 with lowly Ranong as a decent result? Is our coach choosing the team that plays or are BG telling him whom to play to give them game time?

A final tip of the hat to Ranong who will be driving home through the night – about 18 hours with a couple of stops. There are two drivers. But that is a long way and a long night.

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