Tomorrow’s match falls at an exciting time. Following the game will be the World Cup final between France and Croatia. Fans can move have a full evening of great football! Also, the Kirin are closing in on a top three finish and thus will be gunning for a win. Top three guarantees a spot in the AFC Champions League playoffs next year.
In the previous match between SCG Muangthong United and Nakonratchasima FC (the Swatcats), the Kirin came away with a 1-0 victory at the 80th Anniversary Stadium in Korat. The Swatcats are currently ninth in the table. The team are solid on defense, and it is rare to score more than two goals against them. They are coming off a five match unbeaten run, although four of those games were draws.
The challenge for Coach Curcic is selecting a strong squad while allowing players a chance to rest. Like all clubs, the Kirin have played six games in the past three weeks. Said Curcic earlier in the week, “This is a difficult time for the players. I will need to assess who is in the best form. I expect the quality to improve this way.” Fortunately the next match follows in six days, allowing a little more recovery time.
SCG Muangthong United - Players to Watch!!
Undoubtedly keep your eye on Heberty Fernandes (#7). The Brazilian attacking midfielder is the club’s top scorer, and second in the league for goals. A solid performer is team captain Sarach Yooyen (#6). The sprightly midfielder has 36 caps for Thailand, and early in his career was on loan to the Swatcats.
A familiar face for Kirin fans is Leandro Assumpcao (#77). The Brazilian has long experience with Thai League football, having played with Chonburi for many seasons. In 2017 he signed with the Kirin for a short spell, before moving to the Swatcats.
As well, keep your eye on the expected Korat keeper, Samuel Cunningham. The 29 year old is an American-Thai footballer born just a few kilometers from the SCG Stadium. In the reverse of Sarach Yooyen, Cunningham was loaned out to SCG Muangthong United early in his career. He’s since played on several League One teams before moving to Korat this season.
KIRIN PLAYER CLOSE UP!!
Player Profile - Wattana Playnum (#34) Date of Birth: 19 August 1989 Place of Birth: Kamphaeng Pet, Thailand Height: 1.80m Position: Midfield/Defense
After first showing interest in Wattana in 2015, he finally joined the Kirin’s first team in the 2017 season after being on loan to Pattaya United. He found himself frequently added to the starting lineup, partly after the injury to Sarach Yooyen that had kept him out of action since the first match of the season.
Wattana featured often in the AFC Champions League games of 2017. He also has three appearances for Thailand on the international stage, his first being a 2018 FIFIA World Cup qualifier against Japan last season.
Early this season Wattana was knocked out of action with an injury and spent several months in rehabilitation and physiotherapy. He has since worked his way back and has featured in the starting eleven for the last several games.
He is a physical player with height and speed. He has a knack for reading the attack and intercepting pass attempts. He’s also capable of feeding the ball forward to the attack, but will most likely lay off the ball to Sarach Yooyen as playmaker.