PHUKET: FC Phuket lost their third home game of the season yesterday, going down 2-0 to Chanthaburi FC in front of a smaller-than-expected crowd of about 2,400 fans at Surakul Stadium.
In a match that saw both sides enjoy good scoring chances in both halves, it was Chanthaburi FC that drew first blood at 36 minutes, when Rattaphon Sae-tan jumped on a loose ball in the penalty area and drilled it into the top corner of the near post to put his side up 1-0, a lead they took into halftime.
FC Phuket kept up the pressure in the second half, but were unable to find the back of the net as regulation time drew near. Their best opportunity came when they were awarded a penalty kick with just five minutes left in regulation time, when forward Poramut “Mut” Krongborisut was flagrantly fouled in the penalty area. The penalty shot, taken by defender Wirachrote Junteng, was brilliantly deflected on a diving save by Chanthaburi keeper Pichet “Killer Rabbit” Traiphumi.
Any hopes FC Phuket entertained to equalize were extinguished two minutes into extra time, when Chanthaburi FC’s African import Labi Aymard won a footrace against charging FC Phuket keeper Jonathan Matijas and converted a beautiful pass from Rattaphon to seal the victory 2-0 for the Hares.
Rattaphon was deservedly named “Man of the Match” after the game, which served as a measure of revenge for the Hares after drawing to FC Phuket at home earlier in the season.
However, the match will likely have little impact on either team’s future in Division 1. FC Phuket (11-10-7) remain in fifth place in the 18-team league, but with little hope of promotion this late in the season. The win moved Chanthaburi FC (9-7-14) up to two spots to 11th place, safely out of the relegation zone.
In other matches of interest over the weekend, Division 2 sides Pattalung FC and Krabi FC both lost their matches in group play in the playoffs for promotion to Division 1. On Saturday, the Pattalung FC Swiftlets lost 1-0 at Loei City to fall into second place in Group A with two matches to play in the ten-game round robin tournament.
On Sunday, Krabi FC lost at home to Nakhon Ratchasima FC 0-1, but remain in first place in Group B. The Andaman Eagles beat Nakhon Ratchasima on the road in the previous encounter.
If both Pattalung and Krabi can close out their campaigns with two wins, both will join FC Phuket and Songkhla FC to represent the southern region in Division 1 next season.
FC Phuket’s next match could be a tough one. They travel to Isarn to play first-place Buriram FC (21-7-1) at the I-mobile stadium on Sunday, hoping to give the Volcanoes their second loss of the year against 21 wins and 7 draws.
The schedule after that is as follows:
December 17: @Thai Honda
December 21: Suphanburi
December 25: Air Force United
December 30: Bangkok FC
January 7: @ Chainat (last match of season)
(Note: This scheduling information was updated online on December 6.)
Results of other Division 1 matches played over the weekend:
- RBAC: 0 – 0 Thai Honda
- Songkhla: 2 – 3 Chiangmai
- Bangkok: United 1 – 2 Bangkok
- Suphanburi: 0 – 2 Buriram
- JW Rangsit: 2-1 Samutprakan Customs United
- Rajpracha: 0-3 PTT Rayong
- BBCU: 1 -0 Saraburi
- Chainat: 7-0 Air Force United
— Stephen Fein
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