NEAR MISS: MTUTD many chances but don't connect

With the national team travelling soon to play in FIFA WORLD CUP qualifications and on-loan stipulations, coach Tatchtawan Sripan left a few key players off the lineup, yet was still able to field a strong team, with Teerasil Dangda and Adisak heading up the attack, and new signing Mario Abrante starting in central defense alongside Arit Daosawang. Sarach Yooyen get the start in the midfield, however Chanathip and Tanaboon were both rested.

From the Bectero side, striker Milan Bubalo made a return to the SCG Stadium. The former Muangthong player spent a season with Pattaya United, helping them to their promotion to the top flight, and has joined with Bectero Sasana.

The first 25 minutes of the match was relatively quiet, with neither team getting near each other’s net. Shortly after the best chance so far came when Thitipan’s quick break to the goal line and cut back pass just missed Cleiton Silva.

Bectero dominated possession in the first half, moving the ball quickly, often playing the close pass and run style. The Muangthong defenders were resolute, and Mario Abrante solid in the middle, closing down the fast footed Mlian Bubalo and Chenrop.

At the stroke of half time a free kick just outside the box presented another opportunity. Brought on a foul against Adisak, the free kick was hammered at the net by Cleiton Silva, only to be wide of the target.

The second half saw the same 11 players back to the pitch, though Muangthong United fans were happy to see central defender Naokai Aoyama warming up, perhaps close to making a return from his injury.

SCG Muangthong United were the stronger side, and when Kasidech subbed in for Datsakorn at 54 minutes the extra speed was threatening. However, a broken defensive play that looked like miscommunication between Artit, Thitipan, and Abrante, allowed Bectero to jump on a free ball and pound in a shot from inside the box.

Coach Totchtawn Sripan next subbed in Michael N’dri. The Frenchman had 5 minutes of playing time in his first ever match for Muangthong United last game.

Muangthong pressure on Bectero continued to increase. At 74 minutes a well placed shot from Teerasil from far out resulted in a rebound that Cleiton Silva charged onto, however the Bectero keeper Prasit was back on his feet to cut off the angle.

Moments later a powerful header from N’dri looked bound for the back of the net, but somewhow Prasit was able to steer the ball wide.

Yet Muangthong’s defenders again looked shaky. At 80 minutes Artit gave up the ball near the half way line prompting a 3-on-1 break. Fortunately for the home side the pass from Bubalo was hit off another forward and out for a goal kick.

Muangthong United were all over the Bectero 18 yard box for the last 15 minutes, but so was the entire Bectero team. At times up to 20 players cluttered the space in from of goal, and Muangthong were frustrated with shots and passes bouncing off various legs and not having a clear line.

As a last moment grasp, Kawin came down field on the final corner kick of the match. In the scuffle leading up to the kick Artit and a Bectero attacker were both shown red cards. Once again, the plethora of bodies in front of the goal made it impossible to find a path through.

SCG Muangthong United will now have a 2 week break to prepare for Bangkok United. The match on March 30th will be a challenge as United have strengthened considerably since last season.

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