SOCCER: Following is a brief report, followed by a photo gallery of a Thailand football Yamaha One League (YL1) match between TTM Lopburi FC and Phuket FC, played on March 31 at Thephasadin Stadium in downtown Bangkok.
Contested on a warm late-afternoon / early-evening on Sunday, March 31, 2013, the match was both side’s fourth of the 34-fixture YL1 2013 season.
As for the reason for playing on a nutreal pitch: The Thai Tobacco Monopoly only recently adopted Lopburi as their locale, having been relegated from the elite Thai Premier League (TPL) last season, then playing for Chiang Mai (although two seasons ago, TTM were based in Pichit in northern Thailand).
It appears TTM Lopburi could not secure an up-to-standard pitch in Lopburi, so will for the time being only be representing the central Thai city in name only.
As the hot late day son waned in full fury, the game kicked off to the delight of at leasta 100 Phuket fans, many of whom had endured 18 hours on two different buses after their first bus broke down at 1am the previous night a third the way to the capital; the overall attendance was 425.
Phuket’s early attacking attempts, mostly by Luiz Purcino and Geoffrey Doumeng were no match for TTM’s Cameroonian defender Jacques Nguemaleu and Japanese keeper Shota Wada.
The late day Bangkok heat must have affected both sides attacking game as TTM’s attcking duo of Yugoslavia Brit, Vigan Qehaja and Korean Hongyoul Yoo were unable to find the back of the net either, with both sides going into the locker rooms tied scoreless.
Though the home side had more chances on goal in the first half, it would be the visitors coming out of the locker room seemingly more determined.
It would not be until the 80th minute mark that the visitor’s travel weary fans would be sated by a goal through midfielder Kritsada Sakaeo, scoring from a free kick far out near the touch-line on the right wing.
TTM Lopburi intensified the pressure late in the game, and despite several commendable attempts were unable to find the equalizer.
Phuket’s defensive backs had a tough but clean game, particularly stalwart keeper Kampon, who is also a reserve keeper for the Thailand national Southeast Asian Games squad.
Key defenders, Nenebi Slyvester and Sato Yusuke also deserve credit for relinquishing several Lopburi attacks.
With the win, Phuket moved into 2nd place of the 18-team league.
The match was their first on the road and second overall after winning Si Racha 3-1 the week prior, following their initial two draws.
Meanwhile, TTM Lopburi linger in last place having only secured one point (from a 2-2 draw against Korat) in their first four matches; The team also lost to PTT Rayong (3-0 away) and Bangkok FC (0-2 home) this season.
Following are photos of the match taken using a Fujifilm FinePix S4300 bridge camera. ISO 100-800; SS: 300-2000; Aperture: F3.5-7