Both the teams had fielded “alternative” squads for the knockout League Cup fixture, reflecting the importance placed by both sides on the Yamaha League 1 games.
PTT Rayong FC had enjoyed a week’s break before the game and were more than ready to rumble. Still, their first 11 this game was their “B team”, without big stars like Noguchi Pinto, Keerati Kiawsombut, Pipat Tonkanya or Paisal Pohna.
The Islanders’ Coach Paniphol also decided to shuffle his first 11, dropping local hero Kampon from goal and sending on former PTT Rayong goalie Adisak Duangsri, and keeping Nonthaphan on the bench while sending Ake-artit Somjit out to the left winger position.
Coach Paniphol’s 4-1-4-1 formation still left Brazilian Dudu Purcino as the lone striker, as in their last game.
PTT Rayong packed a strong striking force and pushed forward right from the kick-off, pressing deep into Phuket territory.
But they rarely made it past Phuket’s strong back four and new fan favourite Assawin in defensive midfield.
The visitors had their first scoring opportunity early in the game, when their captain whipped a ball forward to a teammate who shot from just outside Phuket’s penalty area, but the attempt went wide.
Overall the first quarter of the game was tight, as both teams tried not to make mistakes.
PTT Rayong’s defence tried to isolate Dudu from the rest of Phuket FC, which meant that the two Brazilians, Dudu and Judinho “Junior” Guimaroat midfield, had to retreat to find the ball and got tackled as soon as they did find it.
Junior had a close scoring opportunity when he sped past PTT’s defence line and scrambled for a shot– but the goalkeeper tipped the ball away with his fingers just before it curled in.
In the last few minutes before first half extra time, Nene Bi Tra Sylvestre pushed forward and had an opportunity for a header from a cross, but the shot was not strong enough to beat the PTT keeper.
Dudu was finding more space by this point and he crossed a ball from the right sideline for Junior in front of the goal, but a PTT defender just beat Junior to the ball.
A minute later Assawin Boonmun tried for goal with a powerful direct shot from 22 yards, but it was headed out by a PTT defender.
Dudu had more opportunities in the second half, but his first attempt was stopped by PTT’s keeper just before the ball rolled across the line.
A few minutes later he tried again with a close-range header – the goalkeeper had lost his bearing and the goal was clear, but Dudu’s header went over the crossbar and missed the goal by inches.
Coach Paniphol then sent on assistance for Dudu in form of Giorgi Tsimakuridze, who was expected to use his height to the team’s advantage. But he didn’t seem much help either.
Dudu had another chance when the ball dropped right at his feet, three yards in front of the goal, but he struck at the wrong angle and skewed the ball past the far post.
Frustrated, Dudu tried harder to score but during his repeated attempts at the goal he stamped on the net and ripped it – and the referee stopped the game to let Phuket stadium staff fix the tear.
An additional two minutes of extra was called, and PTT Rayong made their last attempt: PTT’s Affoloh Ouattara dribbled the ball towards the end line and clipped it to his teammate Amadou Ouattara, who charged in from two yards and sent the ball into the Phuket goal.
The whistle sounded a short minute later, giving PTT Rayong the win and knocking Phuket FC out of the Toyota League Cup.
Phuket FC next travel to Bangkok on Sunday (March 31) for a Yamaha League 1 game against TTM FC – who have been ordered by the Thai Premier League to drop the “Lopburi” from their team name over a contractual disagreement.
TTM’s Lopburi stadium has also been ruled not ready for League level matches, and the team is in search of a new home ground. It’s not yet settled just where the next match against Phuket will be held.
You can see the latest Yamaha League 1/Thai Division 1 league table here.
The Phuket News is Phuket FC’s official English-language media sponsor.