There are very few rivalries in Thai football that can match the sheer passion and intrigue that surrounds Muangthong’s local derby against Port, KICKOFF at 17:45 at the PAT Stadium, Saturday June 9th.
The Kirin and their opponents from Klongtoey have had a long-standing mutual resentment, which has a history of flaring up into tense encounters, both on and off the field.
This new iteration of the classic rivalry is likely to crank that tension even higher, with the two sides sitting almost neck-and-neck in the table for the first time in recent memory. Port’s off-season acquisitions have elevated the standard of play at the PAT Stadium, turning the once mid-table outfit into genuine Champions League competitors, putting them into direct conflict with Muangthong.
The arrival of coach Radovan Curcic has spurred Muangthong on to great success in recent weeks. Victories over Chainat, Sukhothai and Pattaya have boosted the side’s morale going into this game.
“We are very pleased with the development of the team and our recent form,” coach Curcic admits, claiming that confidence is high among the squad.
Port’s standout performers include the likes of Dragan Boskovic, Sergio Suarez, Nurul Sriyankem and Pakorn Prempak, who make up a devastating front four full of excellent physicality, creative talent, and killer instinct. How the Kirin contain this threat will be crucial, and with stalwart Adisorn Promrak missing due to suspension, the performance of an admittedly makeshift defense could be key.
“Port are a good team,” adds Curcic, reflecting on the strengths t Port F.C. have shown to secure third place in the table, admitting that the Kirin “have a crucial decision to make in defense.” In Adisorn’s absence Lee Ho, Wattana Playnum and Peerapong Panyanumaporn are the three likely candidates to partner Naoaki Aoyama in the heart of the Kirin defense.
Due to a number of controversial incidents in the past, Muangthong fans will not be able to attend, as Port F.C. fans were also banned from the home leg game. The atmosphere at the PAT Stadium provides an intimidating backdrop for all visitors, and is likely to be exacerbated given the history between the two sides.
When asked about how this development would affect the team, coach Curcic seemed determined to take the positives from the situation. “I know our fans will support us from home,” he said, adding that their absence from the ground “gives the team even greater motivation” and “another reason to win.”
The Kirin’s trip to the PAT Stadium may be one of the toughest encounters of the season, due to both the quality of the opposition and the significance of the fixture. Despite the dangerous attacking talent possessed by the Klongtoey side, belief is high amongst the squad after the recent run of games, and Muangthong will be determined not to come up second best in this crucial match.
Fans can find the match on True4U, TrueSport2, and TrueSport HD2. live TV. Also look for live posts from the pitch on the MTUTD Twitter and Facebook media channels.