Down the rabbit hole

REVO League Cup Quarter Final 2022-2023

Wednesday 22 February 2023

Chiang Mai FC 0 Bangkok Glass Pathum United 3

Chiang Mai FC:


The Rabbits of BGPU came to town for the quarter final of the Revo League Cup. A visit that drew CMFC’s biggest crowd of the season 2,773.

Chiang Mai had beaten two T1 sides in previous rounds but BGPU started with one of their strongest line-ups and the difference in class was apparent particularly through the first half.

Chiang Mai meanwhile made nine changes to the side that beat Kasetsart 4-2 on Sunday. Why so many changes? Some were clearly due to injury. Im ChangKyoon was not in the squad tonight. Others were about protecting players with niggling injuries to ensure that they are fit for the League game at Customs United this Sunday.

A playoff place or better is clearly still the club’s priority. Not every fan will agree with how this affected tonight’s team selection.

BGPU meanwhile started with Teerasil (10) and Stenio (31) up front. Teerasil is a classy player and Stenio was all energy until an injury caused his 25th minutes substitution. He was replaced by Apisit Sorada (15) who has added some strength since his CMFC days. He also remains one of the good guys seeking out an admirer to donate his shirt at the end of the game.

The opening quarter was dominated by BGPU as CMFC struggled to deal with a series of balls into the penalty area. Santipharp (22) shot over the bar. Irfan Fandi (17) headed a corner wide of the far post. Phommin and Stewart both stretched to divert crosses out of play.

CMFC’s threat seemed to largely stem from Phommin trying to score from ever greater distances without threatening the target. And he does this without obviously looking for better options around him such as diagonal runs from Amornthep into space in and around the penalty area.

This would prove costly after 27 minutes when another long range effort from Phommin ricocheted forward off a defender into the path of Teerasil. His mazy run from near halfway left at least four defenders trailing behind him and finished with a well struck shot that Fahas managed to keep out low to his right. The rebound fell to Apisit Sorada who slid the ball home from eight yards.

Chiang Mai’s mistake had been punished. BGPU’s almost immediate mistake was not. Kittipong badly misjudged a free kick from the left side and flapped at thin air. The ball reached Sarawut at the back post who with an empty goal two yards in front of him hooked the ball with his left foot onto the near upright.

Two minutes later BGPU added their second. A training ground move from a corner. Taken short the ball was curled to the back post where Irfan Fandi ran behind Suwannapat and Stewart and nodded home a simple header.

Fahas then had to be alert to shovel Sorada’s cross, deflected off Stewart, for a corner and he then bravely dived at the near post to keep out a Sarach (6) free kick while being clattered by Cassio Scheid (41) at the same time.

CMFC emerged for the second half with Filipovic replacing Piyachanok and Suchanon for Kiadtisak.

For most of the second half CMFC were the better team; dominating possession and looking the more fluent and creative side.

Suchanon ran in front of Santipharp but guided a Stewart cross inches wide. Filipovic headed a corner over the crossbar. Pongrawit cut in from the right side and his shot was also narrowly wide.

Tawan was busy on the left; from a few yards outside the penalty area his right foot shot required a leaping save from Kittipong to turn the ball over the bar.

It was thirty minutes into the second half before the first BGPU attack. Sarawut did enough to outjump the substitute Azubel (7) and concede a corner. But Sarach’s corner was met by Azubel in front of Filipovic and he headed home a simple goal.

With eight minutes left in regular time Kim BoYong and Suchanon both chased a ball into the BG penalty area. Yusuke Maruhashi’s (14) challenge was late and he pulled down Kim. A penalty whistled the referee.

After the predictable arguments and a gathering of BGPU players around the penalty spot Phommin stepped up to take the kick. It was his first on target shot of the night but it was also more of a sidefooted backpass at the ideal height for a goalkeeper to fallto his right and push away. He never really looked like scoring. Our third successive penalty miss.

Two minutes later Chiang Mai had an even clearer shout for a penalty as Kim was once again tripped in the penalty area. Maybe it was a relief that the referee decided there was no offence.

Tawan worked really hard all evening and he had one last shot which he pulled narrowly wide – finally Suchanon was unable to re-direct Kim’s hard low cross on goal.

And that was it. CMFC had been given something of a lesson in clinically punishing mistakes. Although a strong second half performance had a least made the visitors work for their place in the semi-finals

I suspect that Chiang Mai fans would have preferred a stronger starting line-up and the chance of a semi final game against another big T1 name. Instead at 2-0 the contest was largely over by half time.

Chiang Mai now have little time to prepare for the next league match at Customs United in Bangkok. A 5.30pm kick off on Sunday 26th. At least a win at Customs would, arguably, justify the changes made to the team for tonight’s cup game.