GETTING BETTER!! Muangthong lose but show much improved performance

SCG Muangthong United season starting slump continues as the Kirin lose 2-1 at home against the league leaders Port FC. It was the first match under the reigns of new head coach Yoon Jong-hwan, and despite the loss Kirin fans can take heart from the team's performance. Despite the loss, the 9,500+ fans in attendance were treated to an exciting match whose final score was not certain until the referee blew for time.

Muangthong United were clearly the better team except for a few minutes of the match. Both goals for Port FC, which came eight minutes apart early in the second half, were after turn overs on the attack which caught Muangthong without adequate numbers of defenders.

The match began with both teams playing cautiously, with close marking denying attempts to move forward, and patient passing across the back line.

The Kirin were able to create many chances as the game progressed. Early on Teerasil Dangda was in close and Port FC were forced to boot the ball out for a corner kick. Myanmar sensation Aung Thu, who started the match, showed his abilities to get into space, and a pass across the box looked destined for his foot except the Port FC keeper (Watchara Buathong) was able to dive onto the ball.

Another great chance came when Teerasil sent an arching cross towards Phituckchai, who made the difficult attempt to volley the ball into the open corner.

Coach Yoon had Lee Ho and Sarach Yooyen in the midfield, along with Heberty Fernandes and a surprise start with Phituckchai Limraksa. Together with the back line, consisting of Oh Ban-suk, Adison Pomrak, Weerawut Kayam, and Suphanan Bureerat, the team were able to apply pressure and force turn overs. Port FC were often forced into quick passes and clearances that saw the ball go out of bounds for a Kirin throw in.

Port FC's main threat was organized on the left flank, with the club's #10 Bordin Phala drifting wide, and reinforced from the back by Kevin Deeromram.

The only shot on goal in the half came from distance by Port FC midfielder Pakorn Prempak, but Dang Van Lam was ready for it and easily controlled the shot. Kirin defender Adison had to be strong on several occasions as last man back to steal the ball off Bordin, or at times Dragan Boskovic or Sumanya Purisai.

As the half progressed the game became rough. The referee eventually brought out the yellow card. Kirin fans were shocked when Lee Ho was given a yellow on his first foul, while Port FC players had repeatedly drawn fouls with tackles from behind, and the like. Although the referee had issued verbal warnings, no cards were shown.

A few moments after, however, Port FC finally picked up their first of five yellow cards in the match when Nitipong Selanon brought down Phituckchai from behind after he'd taken the ball off him.

Following the Port FC goals early in the second half, SCG Muangthong United stepped up the pressure and numerous chances to score were created.

At 55' fans were on their feet as Teerasil was in alone on the keeper after Sarach Yooyen stole the ball and laid forward a perfect pass, but the Kirin striker failed to capitalize on the chance to chip the ball into the net.

A few moments later Aung Thu beat Deeromran to the ball and was charging for the box when Deeromram grabbed him from behind with both hands and threw him to the ground. Another yellow card for Port FC, and Kirin fans were outraged that red was not shown for such a blatant foul on an attacker moving into a strong scoring position.

Coach Yoon brought in U21 player Korrawich and a bit later Charyl Chappuis; both added some spark to the attack. Shots at goal and great chances continued to materialize for the Kirin.

Phituckchai's weak attempt was easily smothered by Watchara. Next Korrawit's equally weak shot went wide. Suphanan had a glorious opportunity to score but his blast from inside the box was off target. Charyl next had his shot blocked.

The chances finally resulted in a goal when Charyl sent the ball forward to Heberty who took it to the touch line, left of goal. His pass across the box found Weerawut who had made the move unmarked into space for the easy tap in.

Heberty Fernandes continued to draw fouls and was often double and tripled marked. Late in the game the right arm of Bordin swung out and struck Heberty clean in the face with force, denying the Brazilian the chance to run onto the ball. Once again, fans could not believe that a red card was not shown, and

many wondered if the referee had left it in his other shirt.

Unfortunately time was running out for Muangthong. Late in the game Charyl had time on the ball and let go a blistering shot from distance that, had it been on target, would have been a goal.

The game ended after a final corner kick that saw Dang Van Lam come forward to contribute to the attack.

Said Coach Yoon after the match, "With only 5 days I'm sorry I was not able to win this match, but I know what needs to be done, and with time you will see this team much better. Already there are improvements."

Coach Yoon will have eight days before the next match, when SCG Muangthong United travel to play PTT Rayong on April 27th, and the next home league match is May 11th, with Samut Prakhan City.

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