Goals for Akarawin and Tawan set up a fine win 

Match report
Thai League 2
12 November 2023

Chiang Mai FC 2 Suphanburi FC 0

Chiang Mai FC

Im ChangKyoon
Yoo ByungSoo
Stenio Jnr

This was a thoroughly efficient win for Chiang Mai FC against a disappointingly lethargic  Suphanburi side.

Sarawut moved to central defense for the suspended Piyachanok. Nukoolkit was once again exemplary and Suphanburi’s leading goalscorer, Gustavo, was played out of the game.

Nattayot and Thammayut were the starting full backs with Thammayut making the clearance of the match off his own goal line.

Cuerva and Im ChangKyoon played in front of the back four with Stenio and Amornthep mostly staying wide leaving room for Akarawin and Yoo ByungSoo in the centre. Yoo was getting battered but kept going back for more; he is such a wonderfully old fashioned centre forward.

The opening ten minutes were a standalone highlight reel.

After two minutes a move that flowed down the left from the CMFC penalty area ended with Amornthep shooting with power but over the crossbar. A minute later Obama took a fresh air swipe at a clearance, gifting the ball to Yoo ByungSoo who took a couple of touches and placed the ball the wrong side of goalkeeper Sahawit’s left hand post.

Obama appeared to suggest that the ball was spinning – giving a whole new meaning to Presidential spin.

Straight down the other end where Sarawut attempted to head clear a ball that needed to be hoofed into the stands; Danuson advanced into the penalty area and with top scorer Gustavo and Panuphong both available Danuson picked out Panuphong. His shot from just ten yards was well struck but too close to Thammayut who was able to throw out a leg and turn the ball away. Great goal line defending.

How different would the game have been if that had gone in. Instead  Cuerva’s smart header created space outside the visitors’ penalty area for Im Chang Kyoon who was then tripped running into the area for a return pass from Yoo. Before there could be any debate about a penalty Akarawin had shown a predator’s touch and driven the ball low into the net from fourteen yards.

The game calmed down; Fahas deftly turned a chip over the crossbar; Sahawit pushed away a Thammayut corner that should never have been allowed to get close to the back post. And baby-faced Yuki Bamba belted a half volley high and wide after Danuson’s run and cross from the right.

The best second half chances once again fell to CMFC. Amornthep running on to a defense splitting pass from Stenio shot straight at the advancing goalkeeper.

Yoo ByungSoo then drifted past the statuesque Obama before lifting his shot over the crossbar.

Yoo may have a headache in the morning after a blow to his head drew streaks of blood. Given the only mild protests from CMFC and from the crowd in the East stand it was presumably accidental; the tv cameras saw the after effects but not the incident itself.

A poor studs-high challenge on Yoo from Panuphong was seen by the cameras but not by the referee. That one clearly hurt.

Tawan added CMFC’s second with just over ten minutes remaining. A long ball forward from Sarawaut missed both Stenio and Wasan, the central defender, leaving Tawan to run on goal and calmly lift the ball over the goalkeeper. His celebrations never disappoint.

Rapeephat had not been on the pitch for more than thirty seconds before he was booked for a challenge on Yoo. Someone had to be.

Tawan’s near post header from Jakkapan’s flat, low corner looked like it came from the training ground – the goalkeeper punched clear.

A Bamba free kick twenty yards out in front of goal cleared the crossbar. And Gustavo at last had a shot, narrowly wide from 25 yards in the 94th minute.

If Suphanburi are to challenge for promotion they will need to send for mid-season reinforcements. They looked lethargic and lacking in ideas beyond give the ball to Bamba and let him ask the questions.

Chiang Mai FC ‘s next match is away in DPM Kanchanaburi on Friday 24 November at 6pm.

Anyone wanting a football weekend could consider a Saturday stop in Suphanburi for their home game with Pattaya United (25 November) and then back to Chiang Mai to watch the other Chiang Mai team play NakhonSi United (26 November.)

A few final thoughts:

This was the first CMFC match this season that I have watched from home. It is a very different experience; without the matchday atmosphere and only seeing what the cameras show you.

After last week’s unpleasantness at Phrae it was good to the spirit in which both teams played this match. There will be no Monday morning press releases and no lawyers’ fees to be paid.

Fair to say that we have reached a point where this team now works together to play for coach Garcia and his team.

Given that the clubs in T2 had little notice that they would have to provide their own tv coverage CMFC (and others) have done remarkably well. At one stage there were over 5,000 viewers on YouTube. There is a pre-match preview; post-match interview, commentary and highlights. There are many young (and not so young!) sports journalists, technicians and production staff getting an early experience in sports television.

Finally a big thank you to NakhonSi United for giving Phrae United a 5-0 thumping; including a hat-trick for Maranhao. Christmas came early!