Thai League 2 – 2022-2023
Friday 26 August 2022
Uthai Thani FC 1 Chiang Mai FC 3
Chiang Mai FC:
Our first three points of the season came from a fine away win for Chiang Mai FC against one of the more experienced sides in Thai League 2.
Coach Fukuda made just one change with Suchanon making his first start of the season in place of Srithai.
Chiang Mai lined up in a 4-2-3-1 formation that allowed Suchanon to play in the space behind Stenio with Pongrawit and Tawan wide and Ronnayod and Saharat in holding roles in midfield.
Suchanon was a revelation. Perhaps his best performance in a Chiang Mai shirt; although there were strong performances throughout the team.
There was a perfect start for the visitors. Suchanon drew a foul. Pongrawit’s freekick was headed out for a corner by Santos. Pongrawit followed up with his corner lofted towards the six yard line where Veljko and Stenio jumped with three defenders; Stenio’s timing was immaculate and he planted a strong header low inside the near post. 1-0 to the visitors.
Tawan nearly added a second minutes later when he turned Suchanon’s low cross narrowly wide.
Uthai Thani then had their best chance of the half; Kento Nagasaki’s free kick found Santos deep in the Chiang Mai penalty area. He headed the ball back across goal where Phattaraphon (G) somehow managed to shin the ball back across the goal line when it really was easier to score.
Chiang Mai were playing some fluent football on a good surface; moving the ball well out of defense and across the pitch. A more direct route was also an option; Veljko’s long clearance was cleverly flicked on by Suchanon into the path of Stenio whose shot drew a save from Anirut.
Sarawut’s cross into the penalty area found Tawan, neatly ghosting between Phattharaphon and Jakkrit. His lobbed header was turned over at full stretch by Anirut.
Uthai Thani responded with a Kento free kick that was well caught by Kiadtiphon.
Chiang Mai book-ended the half with a second goal of pace and quality. Stenio and Tawan linking up down the right; Stenio nutmegged the full-back Samerpak; looked up; and measured his low cross in for Suchanon to slide the ball home despite the three defenders around him.
A third goal would have ended the contest and almost came with the first attack of the second half; Ronnayod combined with Pongrawit whose low cross reached Stenio at the far post. Anirut’s first save was with his knees; the ball rebounded to Tawan who from close range belted the ball into the goalkeeper’s face. The keeper knew little about either save but he had kept Uthai Thani in the match.
How important these saves were became clear a few minutes later when Carlos Damian pulled a goal back for the home side deftly stooping to head a cross from Samerpak inside the far post.
Kiadtiphon was the busier goalkeeper and saved with his feet from Durasinmi and then smothered Santos’s rebound at the near post; a Kento free kick flew narrowly wide.
But Chiang Mai were solid in defense. Organised and efficient.
As icing in the cake the visitors scored a clever third goal in late injury time when Kiadtisak was first to reach Pongrawit’s low corner and turn it home from 12 yards while the defenders were expecting a high ball for Veljko.
Three games played and it is easy to see the confidence and commitment growing throughout the CMFC team.
Uthai Thani will have better days; though they are overly reliant on long balls biffed downfield towards Santos; who seemed to be at his fastest when chasing the referee to argue some perceived affront.
Next up for Chiang Mai is a long haul to Nakhon Si Thammarat for Sunday’s game against another of the promoted teams.