Thai League 2 2022-2023 – Friday 3 February 2023
Chiang Mai FC 0 Phrae United 0
Chiang Mai FC:
Thai football is littered with some very drab goal-less draws. This, fortunately, was not one of them.
Instead a good crowd of 1,343 saw a highly entertaining and competitive contest.
After the relative cool of January this was a taste (especially in terms of air quality) of what is to come over the next two months. It was hot and the air was heavy; weather that takes its toll on the body and that requires high levels of fitness.
For Chiang Mai Piyachanok started at centre half, and as captain, in place of the suspended Suwannapat.
Stewart was an early casualty; injured and replaced by Sarawin after ten minutes.
Phrae came to harass and press; they did so very effectively and are a big and fit outfit, allowing CMFC very little time to settle on the ball and establish any fluency. Marlon Silva is the ‘they shall not pass’ at the heart of the Phrae defense.
Taku Ito remains their outlet up front drifting from wide left into more central positions. But his blue hair looks like some form of industrial accident.
In the 4th minute a Taku Ito cross was cleared and CMFC broke quickly upfield. Tawan looked like he had been pushed too far wide but cut back inside and his right foot shot was well saved by Ukrit (32) diving to his left.
Ukrit did better four minutes later diving again to his left to turn away Saharat’s low 25 yard shot.
Phrae threatened with Maranhao’s (29) shot well blocked by the stretched leg of Filipovic and Taku Ito shooting straight at Fahas.
Filipovic needed a head first dive at knee height to beat Elivelto (11) to a low cross on the six yard line.
Im ChangKyoon’s freekicks were a threat throughout; one well defended by Marlon Silva (26) and another met by Piyachanok whose header was straight at the goalkeeper.
A questionable Phrae free-kick 22 yards started the second half. Fahas taking off to his right to get a hand to Nakarawong’s (88) curling shot.
At the other end Kim BoYong looked to be on the wrong end of a push by Kandanai (31) in the penalty area. But it would have taken physical mutilation for the referee to award CMFC a penalty.
The chances kept coming for CMFC – but it is the story of our season; we struggle to turn chances into goals. Suchanon could not get enough contact on a low cross from Tawan on the left; Tawan’s shot was straight at the keeper; Kim BoYong six yards out could not turn in a cross from the goal line on the right.
Filipovic leaped head, shoulders and torso above the Phrae defense and headed Im’s corner inches wide of the far post and in the final minutes a Sarawin shot from fully 35 yards that the referee deemed to be inches wide but in reality required a fine diving save by Ukrit. The goal kick was one of a number of how shall we say, unusual, refereeing decisions.
Amornthep came on, once again with ten minutes to go and played on the wide right of midfield where he could make no impact.
Meanwhile among all the CMFC chances Phrae really should have taken the lead; Noppawit’s cross from the right was missed by Rangsiman and Taku Ito in front on goal and then thumped over the crossbar by Maranhao.
With five minutes to go Taku Ito, who had a relatively quiet second half, chipped a ball towards the back post. Sarawut’s header lacked power and fell to Maranhao eight yards out and he scooped the ball wide of the near post.
With one minute of regular time left Fahas excelled throwing himself to his right to turn Noppawit’s (41) shot over the crossbar. Quite possibly the save of the season.
Phrae’s timewasting was so poor it was almost entertaining – Decha came on as substitute in the 94th minute and was booked in the 95th minute while struggling toy open a water bottle to delay taking a goal kick.
Phrae had settled for a point. It was a fair result in a game that could, until the final kick, have been claimed by either side.
Phrae look like a play-off team for the third season in succession. CMFC need to be bolder about seeking three points if they are to claim a play off spot.
Next weekend CMFC are in Krabi for a 5.30pm kick off on Saturday evening.