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FC Phuket put up brave fight against Muang Thong United

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PHUKET: FC Phuket gave a creditable account of themselves last night in a narrow 3-2 loss to Thai Premier League champions Muang Thong United at Surakul Stadium.

The one-goal defeat against the best team in the country can be deemed an encouraging result for new Phuket boss Surachai Jirasirichote, particularly as most of his squad have only trained together for a week.

Before the game started, the 30 players which will make up FC Phuket for the 2011 season were introduced to home supporters. The friendly encounter also marked the return of Diarra Ali, who went back to Muang Thong United in the off-season after helping Phuket to promotion last year.

Diarra received a warm welcome from the “Hulk” group of ardent team supporters , who clearly hadn’t forgotten his part in last season’s heroics.

When the game eventually got underway, Phuket showed little fear against their vaunted opponents and took a deserved lead at 15 minutes when a dangerous cross from new signing Kone Adama was bundled into the net by a Muang Thong defender, under pressure from Phuket’s Sarach Yooyen.

Just as Phuket supporters began dreaming of a famous victory, Muang Thong went up a couple of gears and fired three goals inside of 10 minutes to take a 3-1 lead into half-time.

All three goals came from headers that should have been dealt with by the Phuket defense. Striker Teerasil Dangda bagged the first two, while Dango Siaka hit the third six minutes from the interval.

At half-time Phuket supporters must have feared the worst with their team in danger of being on the wrong side of a hammering.

However, inspired by the pace and skill of recent Brazilian signing Paulo Reneto, Phuket gave as good as they got during the closing 45 minutes and were unlucky not to come away with a draw.

They had chances before lively substitute Nirun Phunthong popped up in the box to finish off a neat move.

Muang Thong continued to threaten from distance, but it was the home side on the front foot late on, missing a couple of opportunities in the dying moments to level the game.

FC Phuket will have a chance to avenge the defeat when they face Muang Thong in a second friendly on Thursday evening at Surakul Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 6pm.

— Andrew Jennings

 

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