20 August 2024
Thai League 2
Samut Prakan City FC 0 Chiang Mai FC 1
Chiang Mai FC made a very different statement of intent tonight with a gnarly 1-0 win away at Samut Prakan City.
Last week’s exuberant football was replaced by a battle where Chiang Mai enjoyed much of the possession but struggled to break down the home side. It was not pretty. For neutrals it will not have been entertaining.
Yet a clean sheet away from home is always a success and Akarawin’s first goal for the club was taken with astute calmness.
While Chiang Mai were unchanged from last week Samut Prakan, as predicted, started both their Brazilians, Viana and Neto, adding power up front and strength in defense.
It was also clear that Samut Prakan had done their homework. Assuming that Chiang Mai would be unchanged they were happy to sit in defense, often with ten men behind the ball, and look to break forward when possible.
They were also happy to kill off any early momentum from the visitors – there was no more than three of four minutes of football in the first ten mainly due to Viana seeking repeated treatment,
Chiang Mai’s two plus two up front left space for Samut Prakan to over-run the Chiang Mai midfield starving the Chiang Mai strikers. Yoo hardly saw the ball in the first half and looked a frustrated figure.
Early minutes – when there was football between injuries feigned and otherwise: Fahas was smartly off his line to gather from the high boot of Viana while Chiang Mai’s main threat came down the right side where and an early cross from Chitchanok cross was headed out for a corner by Pantakan with Yoo lurking behind him.
Referees get a lot of criticism; suffice it to say that tonight’s referee was less than consistent. An early free kick for the home side was curled narrowly wide by Viana. It was the first of a number of freekicks outside the penalty area for the home side.
Yoo released Chitchanok for a run into the penalty area where he was held up by Jansada and the raised arm of the goalkeeper.
Meanwhile Im ChangKyoon looked to be flattened in the 32nd minute as he surged forward. Nothing from the referee.
Nukoolkit’s optimistic 35 yard shot produced a straightforward diving catch from Jirunpong.
With half time looming the heavens opened. It was a storm that Noah would have enjoyed. Not so much the traveling away supporters without a covering roof who spent most of half time taking cover under the awning of an electronics store opposite the away stand.
Samut Prakan started the second half on the offensive.
Fahas saved low from Ronnachai’s twelve yard snap shot; Samut Prakan then hitting the outside of the far post before a combination of Piyanachok and Nukoolkit cleared from the line after Viana had rounded Fahas on the edge of the penalty area.
Then against the run of play Chiang Mai scored. Pantakan probably thought that he had all the time in the world; Stenio thought otherwise and with a turn of pace robbed the defender and advanced on the penalty area; Jirunpong’s challenge was tame. Stenio retained possession and slid the ball across goal for Akarawin to side foot home with great composure.
It was Chiang Mai’s one on goal effort of the second half.
Juraphon was booked for an ugly looking professional foul pulling down Chitchanok in full flight.
More half chances for the home side as Jansada’s left foot shot was narrowly wide; and a near post corner was well saved by Fahas. At the other end Supawit did well to get a toe in front of Yoo ByungSoo in front of goal.
Six minutes of nail-biting injury time for the away fans; one more free kick in a dangerous position but Chiang Mai stood firm and held on for their second win in the first two games of the season.
Samut Prakan will feel unfortunate not to have taken at least a point; Chiang Mai will be enjoying the long drive home knowing that a resilient defense and a moment of opportunism is still a solid base for three points.