Picture: Strictly Come Dancing; Official Chiang Mai Football Club on facebook.
12 August 2024
Thai League 2
Chiang Mai FC 4 Kasertsart FC 1
Chiang Mai FC made a huge statement of intent tonight dismantling Kasetsart 4-1; in reality it could have been many more.
Chiang Mai were irrepressible; they played with flair, style and adventure. They played to their strengths in effectively a 3-3-4 line up throughout the game.
There were Chiang Mai debuts for Yoo ByungSoo, Akarawin, David Cuerva, Nukoolkit and Charyl Chappuis. With Yoo scoring a memorable hatrick on his Chiang Mai debut – right foot, header, left foot.
A terrific crowd of 2,716 will hope to see more of the same.
CMFC were a goal up in the first minute. Lim wide left sent a long raking pass to Chappuis wide right who had time to pick out Yoo in the penalty area and drive the ball forward. Yoo looked to head the ball into the path of Akarawin; Hyun Woo Park blocked the header but the rebound fell kindly for Yoo to sweep home from eight yards.
A minute later, as CMFC struggled to clear their own lines, Ryosuke’s close range shot was well saved by Fahas low to his left.
Chitchanok’s pace was a threat throughout and he came close to a second when Auksornsri in the Kasetsart goal could only push Akarawin’s low 25 yard drive out on front of goal and Chitchanok following up was clocked by a combination of the goalkeeper and the defender Yossawat.
Against the run of play Kasetsart equalized as CMFC tried to clear the first corner of the game. Lim lost possession to Kandanai just outside his own penalty area. Kandanai eased past Akarawin and his chipped cross was well met by Christian Alex outjumping the three defenders around him.
The response was rapid and a bit special. Outside the Kasetsart penalty area Yoo chipped a ball wide for Chitchanok on the right; his first time volleyed ball across the box was perfect for Stenio Junior to run past a static defense and half-volley into the net.
Stenio would have another effort blocked on the line before CMFC added a third.
Lim took the corner on the right side. While everyone else was running around the penalty area like a bad game of musical chairs, Yoo remained unmoved and timed his jump to perfection heading low into the keeper’s bottom left corner.
Half time and CMFC led 3-1. The only surprise in the second half was that only one more goal was added.
Yoo almost had his hattrick as early as the 54th minute; Cuerva launched a fabulous ball forward for Chitchanok on the right. His ball to the edge of the penalty area was met by Yoo but blasted over.
Cuerva was all calmness and guile throughout – finding space at will and with a range of passes that either tidies up the game or launches CMFC forward. Impressive.
Stenio nutmegging Yoochan was an indication of the confidence that exists in this squad.
The fourth goal was another treat; Chitachanok, Akarawin and Lim all finding space to move the ball forward for Yoo on the edge of the penalty area to take one touch and thump the ball home with his left foot.
Substitutions started to take some of the energy out of the game.
4-1 down and Kasetsart took of Alex and still with a back five they looked to be surrendering or at least in damage limitation.
Auksornsri was still busy; smartly off his line to block Akarawin and then saving with his feet from Suchanon; on as substitute for Yoo.
There were also chances for two of the other substitutes; Tawan and Samroeng.
It was a thoroughly convincing win. There will be tougher tests ahead where we are put under much greater pressure in defense than we were tonight.
For now this was a win to savour and vindication of two months of team-building and training.
Next Sunday, 20 August, we travel to Samut Prakan City for a 6pm kick off and hopefully no processions, delays, or traffic jams.