SCG Muangthong United make progress in the Leo Pre-Season Cup after a 2-1 victory over Singapore's Tampines Rovers.
Coach Gama started a similar eleven from last Wednesday's 1-0 victory, however #1 keeper Dang Van Lam was rotated into goal. As well, Sorawit has returned from loan to Police Tero FC to start in the midfield, and Wattanakorn was also starting as he had impressed last match when he subbed into the left wing-back role.
Said Coach Gama about Sorawit, "He is a player I like from when I coached Thailand's U23 team. I wanted to bring him back to Muangthong. I expect to use him a lot, but he still needs to develop, he needs more speed. But he knows this as he knows my style."
The win was by no means an easy affair as the Rovers played some good football and were a well organized team. Muangthong United dominated play, but when Tampines had the ball they were sometimes able to find their way into the Kirin half and threaten goal. Sure enough, by the 18th minute SCG Muangthong United were a goal down. Forward Boris Koptivic made the run in behind the Kirin line to receive the lobbed pass, and one-on-one with Dang Van Lam found the target on the near side.
Worrying for the Kirin on the play is the status of Adisorn who needed a substitution after picking up an injury trying to defend the goal.
SCG Muangthong United continued to press and have the better share of the ball. Newcomer Willian Popp had a much improved match from his debut last week, firing off a shot just wide of the post and finding other opportunities at goal. Likewise, attacking midfielder Saharat showed some juggling skill, tipping the ball past the defenders, but he was not able to get a shot away before the ball was cleared.
Both Saharat and Popp were to have free kick chances in the half, only to see their shots blocked. Willian Popp had another chance moments before the halftime whistle, with a header off a cross from Sarach Yooyen, but taken off the turf by the Tampines keeper.
Muangthong began the second half with increased pressure and had Tampines Rovers penned inside their final third of the pitch for most of the first 10 minutes. Yet no clear attempt at goal materialized, and it was Tampines who almost scored on the counter.
The increased pressure, however, finally paid off for the Kirin when Derley headed in the corner at the near post to even up the score. The second time in as many games that a goal was assisted by Wattanakorn with a corner kick.
As the second half progressed it was clearly SCG Muangthong United in control. Coach Gama introduced a small army of substitutions to give other players time to prove their mettle in this pre-season game. Youngsters Suporn, Weerathon, Korrawit, and Atikun all were given some game time.
The go ahead goal came late in the match, when Derley scored a beauty to put the Kirin into the lead, taking the ball out of the air and then firing it home for the win.
Said Coach Gama after the match, "Today's victory was good. it will build team confidence and we improve step by step towards the start of the season."
SCG Muangthong United will next face the winner of PT Prachuap vs. Laos Toyota FC in the semifinal match of the tournament, to be played at the Leo Stadium in nearby Pathum Thani, scheduled for Thursday January 30th, 8PM.