25 October 2023
MahaSarakham SBT FC 3 Chiang Mai FC 1
Chiang Mai FC
In years to come when the CMFC trivial pursuit game has been released to an unsuspecting world the best question will be:
Name the player who was twice on the losing side but still scored CMFC’s only two cup goals, one in each tournament, in the 2023/2024 campaign?
Last year we played four cup games at home all against League 1 opposition. This year the only cup football that CMFC fans will see is on their tv or tablet.
The club says that the fans are not interested in the cups. Only in the League. Tell that to the fans who saw us beat Sukhothai on penalties or the 2,773 who saw us lose in the REVO ¼ final to BGPU.
Overall this was a dismal night for T2 clubs. CMFC, Rayong, Suphanburi, Nakhon Ratchasima, DP Kanchanaburi, Chiang Mai United, Chanthaburi, Customs were all knocked out.
Kasetsart, Pattaya Utd, Lampang (on penalties), Nongbua Pitchaya (on penalties), Nakhon Si United and Samut Prakan City go through to the next round and all are guaranteed a home game against T1 opposition.
Back to last night’s game. Despite injuries to Suchanon, Cuerva, Chitchanok and Chappuis CMFC sent out a decently strong side; with a full substitutes’ bench. This was the side that should have played three weeks earlier in the FA Cup shambles in Chumphon.
Meanwhile MahaSarakham rested their three Brazilians before their League game against Khon Kaen FC on Saturday. This was disappointing. But in the end it might have been a coaching masterstroke. Nattapon, for instance, is not a regular starter but he was outstanding last night with a goal and an assist.
As early as the second minute the home side broke up a CMFC short corner routine and broke forward at pace; Nattapon looked to go past Nukoolkit and fell over the defender’s trailing leg. The referee did not even produce a yellow card.
The game was being played almost entirely in the MahaSarakham half; shots from Kiadtisak and Stenio were straight at the home goalkeeper, Sornnarai.
The home side looked for the occasional fast break. Nattapon’s long ball forward cut out Thammayut but Wanit’s heavy touch allowed Nukoolkit to intercept. It was a rare outing into the Chiang Mai penalty area.
Tawan then beat Phurewat on the right wing. He looked up and crossed for Akarawin who drove the ball over the crossbar. Tawan is at his most threatening running at, and taking on, defenders.
Five minutes later and CMFC took a deserved lead. Sornnarai took a really lazy goal kick passing it out to the left side for his penalty area. CMFC were already lined up for a high press. The ball was hastily played to the other side of the penalty area. Stenio, ever alert, beat Ninlamat to the ball, and played it inside for Amornthep to coolly finish from ten yards.
There really should be an inquest into the number of goals given away by short goal kick routines that go badly wrong; especially against a high-pressing offense.
It was not unreasonable to think that this would be the first of a handful of CMFC goals. Not so.
An accidental tangle of legs off the ball in midfield between Akarawin and Ninlamit ends with Ninlamit on his back and launching a two footed kick into Akarawin’s chest. What should have been a straight red was only a yellow.
From a short corner at the end of the first half Akarawin then headed in to the side netting.
By half time the little black bugs were out in full force to the discomfort of players and supporters.
The game changed in the 46th minute; Chiang Mai failed to clear the ball outside their own penalty area. It was played wide for Nattapon whose control was exemplary before he measured his cross for Wanit to run between Nukoolkit and Suwannapat and power home a header. A fine goal.
A series of chances came for Chiang Mai; Amornthep curled a shot narrowly wide; Tawan’s low shot was shoveled away by the goalkeeper; Akarawin shot (again) over the crossbar and Amornthep shot straight at the Keeper.
Changes for CMFC saw Yoo Byung Soo, Jakkapan, and Im ChangKyoon come on; Yoo’s first touch was to shoot against the cross bar after another shambolic short goal kick routine was intercepted by Stenio whose pass released Yoon inside the area.
Minutes later Yoo was held back by Ninlamat 22 yards in front of goal and Jakkapan curled a fine free kick against the keeper’s left upright. The keeper did not move.
As Chiang Mai pushed forward there was always the risk of an effective counter attack; so it proved; Wanit’s quick pass finding Nattapon to his left and inside the penalty area; he took one touch to steady himself and then slid the ball below the advancing Anipong.
Worse was to come two minutes later; Saharat was booked conceding a free kick 25 yards from goal and Ramon Rodrigues, on as a substitute, thumped the ball low and hard through a wall that had more holes than a swiss cheese and low into the bottom corner.
There was still six minutes of injury time; and time for an optimistic CMFC penalty shout after Yoo went down in the box.
Mahasarkham had taken their fewer chances; and in an entertaining game that was the difference.
It is a very basic observation but in any sport confidence and momentum are so important. That is four successive defeats. There was little intensity in our play yesterday. And little good fortune either; but fortune follows the brave
For the home team this is a win that they will remember for a long time and gives the club a guaranteed home game against T1 opposition on 6 December.
For the visitors it must have been a very long overnight bus ride home to prepare for the visit of Customs United on Sunday.
Amornthep is the answer to the trivial pursuit question (see above!)
As for MahaSarakham they give every impression of being a friendly and well-run club. A well-grassed pitch and new floodlights suggest a team that is investing for T2. Good luck to them.