Picture: Photo by Kwan
Thai League 2
7 January 2024
Chiang Mai FC 2 Samut Prakan City 0
Chiang Mai FC
It was a combination of Stenio Jnr’s high energy performance and calmness under pressure that eventually sealed the win for CMFC against a dogged Samut Prakan side.
The visitors matched Chiang Mai through the first half, and were unlucky not to take the lead, but Chiang Mai’s possession and persistence dominated the second period.
Yoo Byung Soo once again missed this game; Akarawin led a three man attack with Stenio and Amornthep on the flanks. Cuerva, Im ChangKyoon and Chappuis took the midfield roles
Chappuis in particular was given the freedom to go anywhere that suited his game awareness highlighted by his little backheel, just outside the Samut Prakan penalty area, that led to CMFC’s penalty and opening goal.
With Piyachanok serving a one match ban Sarawut moved to centre half alomgside Nukoolkit with Nattayot and Thammayut as the two fullbacks.
There was no place in the matchday squad for our two new defensive signings, Adisak and Nakin; their time will come.
The opening twenty-five minutes were dominated by the home team.
In the second minute Chappuis in midfield spread the ball wide for Amornthep and continued his run into the penalty area where he met Amornthep’s fine pass; his shot was well blocked by Tirapon.
Stenio then blazed over from 22 yards and Cuerva shot narrowly wide.
But Samut Prakan battled back. Stenio lost the ball in midfield and it was quickly moved forward for Samut Prakan’s new signing, Si Thu Aung. Aung took one touch and then launched a left foot shot beating Fahas but not the crossbar.
The ball bounced down in front of goal where Viana with most of the goal to aim at from ten yards instead shot with power but straight into Thammayut’s midriff.
Viana collected the ball as it rebounded off Thammayut but fell under pressure from Stenio. There was contact but the referee waved play on despite the Samut Prakan protests.
Minutes later Aung’s freekick was curled towards the six yard box. Kittichai got the faintest of touches directing the ball towards the bar post. Fahas launched himself to his right and pushed the bouncing ball away for a corner with his left hand. A top-class save.
Fahas, and his defense, have not conceded at the Municipal Stadium since 8 October with five consecutive clean sheets since that date.
Ronnachai did put the ball in the CMFC net after another Aung free kick; but there was a clear handball to bring the ball under control.
At the other end as half time approached Im ChangKyoon had a shot deflected wide and Stenio was again narrowly wide from long distance.
The second half opened with a fine run and cross from Thammayut that narrowly evaded Amornthep and a Thammayut free kick struck straight at Jirunpong in goal.
Ten minutes into the second half Amornthep’s pass found Stenio in space. Tirapon dived in but missed his tackle leaving Stenio to round the goalkeeper in style but then, slightly off balance, to shoot into the side netting. The disappointment on and around the pitch told its own story. Maybe it would be one of those days.
Three minutes later Stenio capitalized on another Tirapon error and chased a ball into the penalty area; Jirunpong was first to the ball but without conviction; Stenio collected the loose ball and passed inside for Im ChangKyoon who lofted his shot from twelve yards against the crossbar.
Samut Prakan must have been thinking fortune was with them and Aung, who had a fine debut, broke down the left side before shooting straight at Fahas and Kittichai in space on the right side of the penalty area dragged his shot wide.
Jakkapan, Tawan and Chitchanok were now on as substitutes for CMFC. Jakkapan cut inside from the right releasing the ball for Chappuis on the edge of the area; a little backheel from Chappuis was weighted for Tawan’s run into the area.
Neto’s hands grabbed at Tawan’s shoulders and Tawan went down. The referee immediately awarded a penalty and he and his colleagues were just as immediately surrounded by Samut Prakan players and officials.
Stenio calmly waiting to take the penalty was surrounded with Cuerva offering some protection but Tanat in particular was suffering from an angry red mist.
Eventually Stenio stepped up and stylishly buried a powerful penalty high and straight.
As the game restarted tempers rose on both sides with plenty of pushing and shoving and it was no surprise that Tanat was at the heart of it.
Four minute into injury time Stenio still had the energy and fitness to chase what most would have deemed a lost cause, down the left wing. He controlled the ball on the left side of the penalty area and his low pass across the six yard box left Tawan with a tap in to seal the win for Chiang Mai.
Samut Prakan had been tough opponents. Chiang Mai’s strength is that there is genuine depth in the squad with substitutes who are not there to provide fresh legs but to be matchwinners.
No new head coach has been appointed. The question is do we need one? There is continuity from the remaining coaching staff and a unity around the squad.
Our next challenge is a visit to local rivals Lampang on Friday 12 January at 7pm.