PHUKET: Torrential downpours prior to and during the first half of the friendly match between UD Almeria and Phuket FC left the 3000 strong audience wondering if they had perhaps shown up at an international water polo tournament, rather than the historic first matchup between the local boys and a big international soccer club.
Stilted, splashy play proceeded throughout the first half as both teams tried to find traction on the waterlogged pitch.
Both Phuket FC and Almeria – who narrowly escaped relegation from Spain’s first division La Liga last season – missed chances at their opponents goals in the first half.
But the Spanish team came back strong in the second half, dominating the ball and holding Phuket FC to straggled defensive positions.
The first ball to beat goalie Adisak Duangsri rocketed into the net from the boot of Tomer Hemed.
Next up, forward Quique Gonzalez dodged the ball into the Phuket FC goal.
Three minutes later it was the turn of forward Jonathan Zongo to close out Almeria’s scoring for the evening.
Beaten but determined to show their chops, the Phuket Ronins pushed forth with a burst of speed from Christian Alex driving the ball past the Almeria defenders for a cross to mid-fielder Eakkartit Somjit, who neatly tapped the ball into the Almeria net with just minutes to spare before the final whistle.
UD Almeria is currently on tour as part of the LFP Global Challenge – a La Liga promotional campaign.
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