Honours even

Match report
Thai League 2
Saturday 23 March 2024

Chiang Mai United 1 Chiang Mai FC 1


Saharat Posri

A crowd of 3,445 were at the 700th Anniversary Stadium on Saturday night to watch the latest instalment of the Chiang Mai derby.

Despite the balmy 38C at kick off the game did not disappoint and the teams shared two goals and two sendings off. The result was a fair reflection of the both the chances created and the commitment of both teams.

It was not be the result that Chiang Mai United needed if they are to challenge for 6th place and the playoffs.

Nakhon Si drew 2-2 at Kanchanaburi and remain one point ahead of CMFC in third place. Their three remaining away games, including Nongbua in their final game of the season must leave CMFC as favorites for third.

Firstly a little bit of pitch envy. The 700th has become a fine stadium. 17,000 seats all around the stadium; no more concrete seating; superb floodlighting and a pitch that must be the best in T2 and better than most in T1. Yet the average crowd for Chiang Mai United prior to the derby game was just 594.

For CMFC Alef returned at centre half alongside Piyachanok with Chitchanok returning from his engagement celebrations to play wide right with Akarawin in the centre of a front three and Suchanon on the left, at least initially.

Did I mention that it was hot !

Chiang Mai United took the lead in the 11th minute. A long ball from defense found Sintupun wide right; his deep cross was headed back across goal by Warayut for Tanakorn to head home from five yards. His second goal of the season and in successive games. It was all a bit too simple.

However, the lead was short-lived. After multiple passes where CMU simply sat back and left CMFC play a sweeping ball from Piyachanok out to the left side for Sarawut was headed in the path of Suchanon; his second touch was a delightful pass across the penalty area with the outside of his right boot. Chitchanok’s pace got him a yard ahead of Kittiphong and he swept the ball home with his left foot from twelve yards. A lovely goal and a reward for some patient football.

Akarawin’s left foot shot from the edge of the penalty area brushed the outside of Pairot’s right upright; the referee gave a goal kick although Pairot might have made the save.

At the other end Lim with surprising space in the CMFC penalty area needed a touch too many slipping as he turned and wasting the opportunity.

Kittiphong’s 30 yard free kick saw Fahas scrambling to save at his near post and push the ball away for a corner as CMU finished the half stronger.

Early in the second half Chitchanok was again a yard too quick for Kittiphong as he ran onto Suchanon’s long ball into the CMU penalty area. Pairot did well to quickly leave his line, stay big and block the volley; before falling to the ground.

The big talking point came on the hour. Pairot saved again from Akarawin’s 20 yard shot but as he spilled the ball Chitchanok running into the six yard box tripped in front of Marlon Silva; Words were likely exchanged as Marlon towered over Chitchanok. The CMFC forward getting to his feet to confront Marlon.

The referee was almost too close as he came between the players and his report will likely say that there was a headbutt from Chitchanok. Marlon certainly made the most of whatever contact there might have been.

Two yellow cards would have been sufficient…but Marlon got a yellow and Chitchanok a red card prompting protests of a grievous miscarriage of justice. Piyachanok acted as might a calming parent.

The referee was able to even up the numbers ten minutes later sending off Pittaso for hauling down Tawan as the CMFC substitute ran onto Stenio’s pass breaking through the CMU back line. While the incident was over 30 yards from goal Pittaso was the last defender.  Complaints were pointless. The CMFC celebrations showing just how charged the game had become.

Into the last ten minutes and it was time for Fahas to remind everyone just how good a goalkeeper he is with two fine saves.

The first stop was from Jeffren Suarez’s 20 yard free kick in front of goal. Hit with power low underneath the jumping wall and past the prone defender Fahas must have seen the ball late. His low falling save to his left side was exceptional.

Then in injury time Mosquito rose to meet a cross from the right. His header had power and direction but Fahas launched himself to his right to push the ball away.  

Sarawut’s strong, but fair, challenge on Lim on the far side of the pitch left CMU down to nine men. Adisak belted a good opportunity over the crossbar.

Lim was still receiving treatment for almost ten minutes after the final whistle and was eventually taken on a stretcher to an ambulance and hospital.

Chiang Mai FC entertain another playoff contender with the visit of Ayutthaya on Saturday 30th March – a 6.00pm kick off at the Municipal Stadium.