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Phuket fail in bid to reach Thailand Champions League

FOOTBALL: Phuket FC’s hopes of reaching the soon-to-be formed “Thailand League Championship” (TCL) came crashing down this past week with the team only managing to get one point from a possible six. The results mean that the team will remain in division 2 for the 2017 season.


Matt Pond

Tuesday 30 August 2016, 10:33AM


Phuket’s Sukree Etae was first to get on the score sheet in the 20th minute of the game. Photo: Puvadon Kosol Klabpadung
Phuket’s Sukree Etae was first to get on the score sheet in the 20th minute of the game. Photo: Puvadon Kosol Klabpadung

With the new TLC, the 3rd, 4th, and in four of the eight regional divisions, the 5th placed teams will automatically get promoted to it.

Meanwhile, teams placed at 5th in remaining four of the eight regional divisions also have a chance to move up from division 2 by competing in a play-off that will see top teams gain a place in the new TCL.

This new league will effectively be the new third tier of the Thailand professional football leagues for the 2017 season and will be divided into two zones with 16 teams in each zone. These teams will join the 13 teams who fail to gain promotion to Division 1 from the Champions League knock out round at the end of the year.

However, it is now impossible for the Andaman Dragon to reach 5th place.

As of last Tuesday (Aug 23), Phuket FC sat at 7th place in the 12-side AIS Southern Region Division 2 table on 25 points, but following a loss to Nara United on Wednesday night (Aug 25) and a draw against Phangnga FC on Sunday (Aug 28) the team now sit at 8th on 26 points.

It was a single goal in the 57th minute of the game against Nara United that gave Nara their victory, a goal scored by Aaron Sareh (13).

However, after that result, and although it had dropped Phuket to 8th in the table, they were still only four points off the league’s 5th placed side. But by picking up only a point against Phangnga in a 2-2 draw on Sunday they are now some five points adrift with only one game to play.

It is highly debatable whether Sunday’s game against the neighbouring “Dredgers” should have gone ahead due to pitch conditions.

The NAKA Island

In fact, it was Phangnga FC who in a Facebook post on Friday (Aug 26) said it was likely the game would be cancelled due to said conditions.

However, by Saturday (Aug 27), and despite their being constant rain over the province throughout Friday and Saturday resulting in a completely waterlogged pitch, the game was allowed to go ahead.

This is usually a decision made by the game officials during a pitch inspection just three hours prior to kick-off time, and it is possible that some of the things mentioned in their Facebook posts, especially about the club not being in a position to pay the hefty B50,000 fine should the game be cancelled, that the officials made the decision for the game to go ahead.

The Phuket News would like to confirm that the pitch was nowhere near in playable condition, and this was clearly visible by the performances of both teams on Sunday who both had to resort to long-ball tactics, and the fact that both goalkeepers were floored in virtually every goal kick they had to make. This with the addition of the fact that players from both teams had to intermittently keep taking sideline breaks to wash mud kicked up at them from their faces in order to see.

Nonetheless, Phuket’s Sukree Etae opened the scoring for Phuket about 18 minutes into the first 45, but just 20 minutes later the Dredgers brought the score level. The score remained at 1-1 at the end of the first half.

About 20 minutes into the second 45 Phangnga took the score to 2-1. But it was Phuket’s Akkarapol Meesawat (17) who brought the score level once again and earned the team their point.

Phuket will play their last game of the season away against Pattani FC on Sunday (Sept 4) with kick-off set for 4pm. However, they will be without central defender Seon Power who was given a red card on Sunday for what was described as on off-the-ball altercation with a Phangnga player.

 

 

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