Thai League 2
Saturday 1 October 2022
Chiang Mai FC 2 Krabi FC 1
Chiang Mai FC:
Bo Yong Kim
A dominant second half performance earned a first home win of the season for Chiang Mai FC in abysmal conditions on a pitch that so wet that fishing would have been more appropriate than football.
But the game must go on – and it did. The conditions were better suited to Krabi FC whose home games have been played in similar weather this season.
Playing at home should give a team an advantage; Chiang Mai’s loud support does that; but the pitch and the drainage are just not good enough.
How different the game might have been when in the first minute Ronnayod collected the ball in midfield and let fly from fully thirty yards; Wuttichai’s save, throwing himself to his left, was just as impressive. What a start. Most people were still getting seated.
Fahas dealt very capably with two long range free kicks taken by Narong; concentration was needed as both bounced near to the Chiang Mai ‘keeper.
At the other end Stenio’s stooping header from a Pongrawit cross passed narrowly wide. Victor Oliveira was booked for a challenge on Stenio. It was not his first offence.
Then, from nowhere, Krabi took the lead. Babar Al’s pass down the right side released Techin. His cross reached Chigozie at the far post who swept home a falling volley. In the conditions it was a well-worked and well-taken goal.
Controversy followed in the 34th minute. A Chiang Mai attack had continued while a Krabi player was in a heap on the ground. Wuttichai took exception, ran from his goal to confront anyone in a blue shirt; and then as the inevitable pushing started up the Krabi keeper threw himself to the ground felled like a Canadian pine.
The referee, who had no clue what was going on, appeared to send Veljko off much to the defender’s bemusement and the confusion of the crowd around me. Suwannapat led the protest; the fourth official was consulted; the red card rescinded and a yellow card administered to Stenio. Wuttichai, who started the whole mess, should hang his head in shame.
In the Chiang Mai half, while tempers still simmered, Pongrawit was lucky that the officials ignored his hack at Chigozie. It did not look good.
Half time on a wet miserable night in Chiang Mai when you are losing 0-1 is when a coach earns his salary. Suwit replaced Pongrawit and played almost as a left winger through the second half.. Patrick Gustavsson replaced Suchanon; also pushing forward alongside Stenio and Bo Yong Kim.
After being too narrow in the first half and easily managed by the two Krabi centre backs Chiang Mai were now taking the game to the visitors.
Suwit was excellent in his advanced role. On 51 minutes his chip to the back post found Stenio at the far post – his header saved by Wuttichai at point blank range.
But Stenio would not be denied; Another first time cross from Suwit. Gustavsson jumped with the lumbering Watcharakorn at the far post – the ball fell to Stenio. With his back to goal he had a lot of work to do. He pirouetted through 180 degrees and rifled his left foot shot low past Wuttichai.
Wuttichai was busy; he punched clear Ronnayod’s free kick; then punched his own rebound only as far as Stenio finally saving, with his feet, Stenio’s goalbound shot.
Stenio was on a mission; his second goal was almost a carbon copy of the first; a cross from Suwit found the Brazilian forward, no pirouette was needed just enough space to move the ball onto his left foot and score from twelve yards.
Chigozie would clear the crossbar by some distance as Krabi ran out of ideas and time. Stenio might have added another as his header from a Tawan cross passed the face of the goal.
Suwit had given the home side width and quality on the left; preoccupied with Gustavsson and Bo Yong Kim the Krabi defense left Stenio with the space in which he thrives.
Job done. A difficult night and a very welcome three points. At the end it was easy to see how much the win meant to the players and their coach.
Thai League 2