SCG Muangthong United, beset with many injuries, salvaged a 2-2 home draw with Police Tero F.C. in matchday 12 of the 2018 Thai League One season, played at the SCG Stadium.
For SCG Muangthong United, in the midst of 4 games in the last 2 weeks, and beset with injuries, the squad once again called upon youngsters and second string players to step up to the challenge. Caretaker Coach Santi Chaiyapruak brought in Suporn and Patcharapol to the midfield and defence respectively, and veteren Prakrt was rotated into the midfield.
Suporn was then stretchered off at 27 minutes, and another youngster, Sorawit, took up the defensive midfield role.
Otherwise regulars completed the line up: Naoaki Aoyama, Peerapt, Heberty, Charyl Chappuis, Tristan Do, Sarach Yooyen (c), and in goal Prasit.
With the Kirin playing fatigued and depleted, Police Tero were able to control most of the first half. The pace was set early when Michael N'Dri pushed the ball forward and ran in to space, but his attempt ended up low and out of bounds on the far side.
Yet Aoyama's strong defensive performance was helped with 19 year old Patcharapol putting in a good game, with key pass interceptions, and Tristan Do, when he had time to back track, coming through with clearances.
N'Dri was to threaten several times in the half, and again at 31 minutes was charging for goal, but centre back Naoaki Aoyama kept pace and was there to block the shot.
On attack the Kirin struggled to connect, with midfielder Ratchapol spilling the ball on numerous occasions. Tristan Do continued to push forward, sometimes on the left, sometimes on the right, looking to continue his three game scoring streak.
Heberty Fernandes found himself closely marked when he had the ball, and with limited options to pass would try to run through the triple marking. At one point he caught the keeper off his line and attempted a goal from close to the halfway line.
It was telling of the half that Police Tero were to have a dozen corner kicks while the Kirin managed three, and some relief must have been felt when the time whistle finally sounded.
A change in formation into the second half saw the Kirin come out with some stronger possession and ball movement, with Heberty and Tristan Do straying to the right hand side and forcing play through the defensive left.
Soon in to the half Heberty seemed about to strike from inside the box, but his momentum carried into the defender, and Heberty ended up on the turf.
This was followed a few moments later when Prakrit's pass across the goal would have been s sure score but for the left back's last moment tap at the ball.
The Kirin's injury woes worsened when Keeper Prasit had to be subbed out. He'd sustained a knock late in the first half. To add insult to injury, Police Tero were awarded a penalty shot a few moments later, putting the fire dragons into the lead.
The Kirin fans however never lost their voices and continued to urge the team forward. Sorawit tried a shot from the edge of the box that was well weighted and required the Tero keeper to tip it over the bar.
The momentum began to shift as the Kirin pressured once again. It was Tristan Do who equalized and continued his excellent scoring run, belting in his 4th goal in 4 games with a strike into the left of the net from the edge of the box.
The Kirin looked to have a great opportunity to score minutes later, but a broken set play on a free kick led to a full on fast break rush for tPolice Tero. Although Tristan Do was able to make it back with an excellent slide tackle, a chip to the far post resulted in Tero's second goal, with the Kirin defense not yet re-organized.
Down but not out, just a few minutes later Heberty scored the equalizer after a fine series of passes through the middle set off by Sarach Yooyen and assisted by Sorawit.
By this time the volume at the stadium took off as both sets of fans pushed their teams for the winner. A free kick from Heberty at a distance gave fans hope, but his powerful blast carried over the crossbar.
Fired up, the Kirin were to have a few good chances in the final 10 minutes, and it was all SCG Muangthong United. This time it was Police Tero relieved to hear the final whistle.
SCG Muangthong United have their third match in the span of a week on Sunday when they host Ratchaburi F.C. at the SCG Stadium, 7PM kickoff.