PHUKET TOWN: Kata Group won the Suratin Football Cup on Saturday in a bruising final against Anupharp Trading at the Chai ground on Narisorn Rd. The two teams were evenly matched throughout the 20-minute first half, both creating scoring opportunities, but both failing to find the net. Kata stepped up the pressure after half time, to the point where Sinchai Tongpradup was shown the first yellow card of the match for a hard tackle on an Anupharp player only four minutes into the second half. Three minutes later, Kata took the lead through a strike by Paritud Suwanthep. With his own side’s goal under siege, Paritud took advantage of a long clearance by keeper Waranon Nokyu and, finding himself unmarked, ran the length of the field to slide the ball past the Anupharp keeper. Kata’s subsequent tough defense enabled them to hold onto their 1-0 lead, though not without drawing two more yellow cards. Paritud was cautioned for a crunching tackle that cut short a fast break by Bunjong Sukapirom down the right wing, while Je’mae Soprajin – the tournament’s highest scorer – was shown yellow for tackling Samart Sangsuwan from behind. After the match, Anupharp’s player-coach Jirapong Chotikamas said, “All of our players were carrying injuries from the qualifying matches, so we were using the anesthetic spray all the time. We were also missing our top striker because he had to go to Bangkok. “We conceded a goal only because the goalkeeper made a wrong decision. He should have come out and cleared the ball faster.” Kata coach Taweesak Supasri said, “In the first half, both teams were trying to attack by attempting to control the ball in the center [of the field]. But there was no score from that. “One goal was enough. In the second half, after we had scored, our main task was to play defensively, which was when my players’ tough tackling drew yellow cards,” he said.
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