Out of his depth

Picture: Official CMFC

Match report
Thai League 2
17 December 2023

Chiang Mai FC 0 Chanthaburi FC 0

Chiang Mai FC

Im ChangKyoon
Yoo ByungSoo
David Cuerva
Stenio Jnr

I try not to be too critical of referees but on Sunday night U-Sen Yala was out of his depth. It is a thankless job but a reasonable level of competence and experience should be expected at this level.

Referees need regular football; for their own fitness and match experience. This was only the third Thai league game that U-Sen Yala has refereed this season. He has been the fourth official in seven other matches.

Coincidentally his other two league games were Chanthaburi’s 3-5 loss at Chiang Mai United and CMFC’s goalless draw at Nongbua.

His decision making today incensed the players and coaching staff of both sides and that anger and frustration was taken up by the supporters.

The opening half hour was uncontroversial with chances at both ends.

Chanthaburi’s captain Yannarit made an outstanding block to deny Im ChangKyoon and at the other end Wander Luiz’s powerful run was followed by a truly disappointing effort from Charin. Mansunaga’s run into the CMFC penalty area also led to a disappointing final ball while Nukoolkit, immaculate throughout, stood strong to stop another Wander Luiz run.

In the 27th minutes Yoo ByungSoo and Jakkapan exchanged passes releasing Yoo into the Chanthaburi penalty area. Yoo was brought down by Artur Viera sliding into a challenge and taking Yoo’s legs from under him. It was as clear a penalty as you will see. Except that the referee waived play on. The Chiang Mai bench and players were enraged.

Sarawut immediately body-checked Wander Luiz. A foul but no card deemed the referee.

Four minutes later the referee appeared to be righting his earlier wrong. Charin passed inside to the fast breaking Wander Luiz.  Fahas rushed out and lunged feet first at Wander Luiz thirty yards from goal.

It could have been a straight red for the tackle. Add that Fahas stopped a goal-scoring opportunity and a red card looked likely. The referee, surrounded by players from both sides, opted for yellow perhaps on the basis that Piyachanok was covering across for Fahas. It was the turn of the Chanthaburi players and bench to be incensed.

By this stage half time could not come soon enough for the beleaguered referee.

A Stenio header from Jakkapan’s free kick was gathered by Peradach in the Chanthaburi goal.

At the other end Charin’s close range header hit the upright.

As the half ended Cuerva’s long range shot was hit with power and was well watched by Peradach turning the ball over the crossbar. Stenio then shot wide after Peradach had failed to deal with a cross.

The second half saw early chances at both ends; Piyachanok’s header from a Jakkapan corner was turned away by Peradach diving to his left.

With a three on one breakaway Nattawut somehow contrived to pass to a defender rather than a team mate. Wander Luiz’s mazy run in to the penalty area was eventually halted by Fahas.

Another Jakkapan corner was cleared only as far as Nattayot whose low drive beat the goalkeeper but not the far upright.

A moment of quality from the home side; Cuerva’s ball forward; Im ChangKyoon’s dummy; Stenio’s twenty yard shot – well saved by Peradach diving to his right.

Artur then took out Nattayot 25 yards from goal; a free kick rightly given. But Stenio tried to take the ball off Peradach who went down in a heap with Stenio looking ready to confront everyone and anyone.

Chanachan’s first booking then came for an agricultural challenge on Im ChangKyoon.

But it was time again for the referee to be the centre of attention. A long ball out of the Chanthaburi defense was clearly going out of play in front of the Chiang Mai bench. Coach Garcia, seeking to keep the game moving, controlled the ball for a quick throw in. The trouble was the ball had not gone out of play.

At this point a quick mea culpa would have diffused the situation. Instead Garcia protested that he was still in his technical area. He was not and was booked; his assistant was booked; as was one of the Chanthaburi staff. Players from both sides joining the ruckus.

Over on the east stand the anger had spread to the supporters. Sarawut fouled Yannarit in front of the fans. Bottles and other items were thrown at the pitch. The players pleaded for calm. A fine is possible.

Even the usually somnolent West stand was roused into angry protest shouting for fights – sadly not for goals.

Stenio’s strong challenge on Chanachan provoked a reaction in front of the Chanthaburi bench as the two players then went head to head and Stenio appeared to launch a head butt at Chanachan that fortunately did not connect; both were booked; it was a second yellow for Chanachan so he was off. Chanthaburi were both incensed and down to ten men.

Chitchanok, on as substitute for Yoo Byung Soo lifted a shot  narrowly over the top right corner. It was good to see him back in the starting squad.

Well into injury time the deadlock appeared to be broken. Stenio controlling Tawan’s pass and driving the ball low passed Peradach and inside the far post. But the whistle had already gone presumably for a handball by Stenio as he made space for his shot.

Stenio had to be held back by Chitchanok as he vented his wrath at the official.

Chanthaburi will be delighted with a hard fought point. They came with a plan to harass and disrupt the home side and to break forward with the pace and strength of Wander Luiz. But there is too little quality around him up front.

Chiang Mai will rue their missed chances and the decisions that went against them.

But our own lack of discipline almost certainly contributed to two dropped points. That ill-discipline starts with too many angry people in the home dugout;  our energy appears to be focused too much on the injustices of life rather than finding ways to break down a well-organized defense.

Our last game of the first leg of the season is at Chainat Hornbill next Saturday 23rd December; a 7pm kick off.