PHUKET: If there was any hope left for Phuket FC to still get promoted after their home-draw last Wednesday (August 21) to 2nd placed Air Force, then it was all but relinquished with an away-loss the following Sunday night (August 25) to 3rd placed Singhtarua FC.
Played in front of an energetic “Klong Toei Army” crowd at the PAT Stadium in the heart of the Thai capital Bangkok, the match was both side’s 25th of 34 fixtures in the Yamaha League One (YL1) 2013 season.
Once again, Phuket took an early lead – through a fabulous goal by Cristian Alex five minutes into play – and once again, they let such a lead slip away, with Singhtarua’s Serbian sensation, Ivan Petrovic scoring the equalizer on 34 minutes.
In terms of possession and chances, it was a one-sided match in favor of the home team, who found what would prove to be the wining goal through Leandro Oliveira, scoring his 16th of the season nine minutes into the second half. Leandro is now second for the golden boot race, trailing Bangkok’s golden boy, Lee Tuck who has 17 goals.
Meanwhile, Phuket’s Brazilian attacking duo of Alex and Luiz “Dudu” Purcino found far and few chances, and even Chana Sonwiset and Geoffrey Doumeng, fresh off the bench in the second half, could not find the means to effectively penetrate a solid Port Lions’ back line.
The result ensured that the Port Lions retained their 3rd place standing with 46 points – tied with Bangkok FC – both now 12 points ahead of Phuket, who dropped back into 7th place, with 34 points.
There are nine matches left in the season – 27 possible points – but even if Phuket wins all remaining matches, promotion prospects still look slim.
If Bangkok and/or Singhtarua win six of their remaining matches – or even win four and draw four – the Islanders would not be able to advance to Thailand’s elite league, a privilege reserved for only the top three YL1 teams.
Although promotion prospects now appear ever so dim, Phuket FC are faced with a new season challenge and goal: to avoid relegation!
While 7th place might sound like a snug position, the Islanders are only 7 points ahead of the fourth and final relegation spot of 15th place, currently occupied by Thai Tobacco Monopoly.
Today’s match will kick off at 6:30pm at Phuket FC’s home stadium, Surakul (click here for map).
— Steven Layne
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