Six of the best

Picture: cmfc official

Thai League 2 2022-2023 : Saturday 8 April 2023

Chiang Mai FC 6 Udon Thani FC 0

Chiang Mai FC:
Ryhan Stewart
Saharat (sub Ronnayod 46’)
Srithai (sub Phommin 59’)
Im ChangKyoon (sub Chitchanok 70’)
Yuta Hirayama (sub Tawan 46’)
Kim BoYong (sub Pongrawit 81’)

Chiang Mai handed Udon Thani a six goal spanking on Saturday night as, at long last, the team cast aside caution and doubt and went after their hapless opponents with a determined zeal.

There were opening minute opportunities for Im ChangKyoon and Hirayama. Then a corner in the opening minute found the towering head of Filipovic but he was not on target.

The pressure was relentless – Ratchanon tried to clear upfield from his eighteen yard line; his clearance was charged down by Hirayama who reacted quickly to set the ball to his left into the path of Kim Bo Yong and he confidently slotted the ball passed the onrushing Tjeerawat.

Im ChangKyoon’s close range shot was deflected wide; Filipovic headed the resulting corner over the crossbar.

Theerawat intercepted Kim Bo Yong’s low cross before it could reach Hirayama.

A rare corner for Udon Thani saw Phuwanart flick on Jetsada’s near post corner; it was comfortably held by Fahas who presumably missed last week’s game while deciding on a new hair style and coloring.

Back in the Udon goal Theerawat was busy – he saved well from Hirayama getting a hand to the forward’s close range shot and then saved sprawling to his left from Thammayut.

But a minute later Thammayut’s pass inside from the left wing found Im ChangKyoon in space and with apparent nonchalance he moved the ball onto his right foot before, with the shortest of backswings launching the ball into the keeper’s top right corner from 25 yards.

Before the half hour it as 3-0 with a first goal in Thailand from Yuta Hirayama. Theerayut went walkabout chasing a ball some 30 yards outside his goal despite the nearby presence of two defenders. Kim Bo Yong was first to the ball but his shot was blocked by Ratchanon on the six yard line; Hirayama was alert enough to be first to the rebound and he happily slid the ball home. A goal to celebrate with his proud family visiting from Tokyo.

Chiang Mai should have added a fourth with a penalty after Kittinat tripped Saharat in the penalty area. Im ChangKyoon’s tame penalty was an easy save for Theerawat and the Korean forward then skied the rebound high over the crossbar.

Other than the wonderful penalty shootout with Sukhothai our penalty success record is woeful.

Kittinat was booked for a rugby tackle on Kim and then in injury time Filipovic went on one of his battering runs from his own half before being blocked in the Udon Thani penalty area. The crowd loved it. More would follow in the second half.

Many in the crowd of 776 were still unseated when Chiang Mai added their fourth. Filipovic, appearing like a genie on the right wing, passed inside to Im ChangKyoon; unchallenged he advanced towards the penalty area and this time with his left foot launched the ball past Theerawat. Another fabulous strike.

Udon Thani were close to pulling one goal back when de Silva’s header from a left wing cross bounced off the base of the far post.

Chiang Mai’s fifth was another first; a first league goal in Thailand for Rhyan Stewart.

Ronnayod’s laid a lovely ball into the path of Tawan who took one touch to push the ball past Theerawat who, outside his penalty area, appeared to catch Tawan with a flying right elbow; the ball rolled forward where Stewart who had made a fabulous run in support of the forwards was able to roll the ball home.

Tawan was able to continue after treatment. Theerawat was fortunate to escape punishment.

Filipovic again brought the crowd to life as he picked up the ball in his own half and accelerated forward; rather like the driverless train in ‘Unstoppable’ he just kept on going. Until, after leaving defenders floundering in his wake, from a borrow angle some six yards from goal, he thumped the ball against the near post.

At the other end Fahas stretched well to turn away a Jetsada freekick

In search of number six Tawan curled a trademark right foot shot millimetres wide of the far post and Filipovic then launched himself on his most spectacular run. It was Moses parting the Red Sea as the defense disappeared. Reaching the goal line his cross to the six yard box was met by Chitchanok and saved by Theerawat’s outstretched left boot.

Filipovic was not to be denied – although his role in Chiang Mai’s sixth required a little less effort. Tawan’s run took the ball to the left goal line; he picked his spot and slid a pass for Filipovic at the back post to tap in. His smile showed how much his rather overdue second league goal meant.  

This was football played by a team with a point to prove; to the fans; the coaches and maybe even to eachother. As a team they took the game to Udon Thani from the first until the last minute.

A word for two solid performances at the back Suwannapat was immaculate; and Chaiyapruek’s first league start of the season was a reminder that he is a very capable defender.

Maybe the only regret is that we have not seen more of this new found boldness over the previous eight months.

There is a break next weekend before our final two league games – away at Samut Prakan City on 23rd and finally at home to Ranong on 30th April.