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Match preview: Phuket FC vs Chiang Mai FC

Match preview: Phuket FC vs Chiang Mai FC

FOOTBALL: The Ronins will be without captain Wasan Natasan as they go on the road to take on the Lanna Tigers of Chiang Mai FC this Sunday (April 20).


By Kazira Hans

Friday 18 April 2014, 05:59PM


Wasan Natasan (right) will sit out Sunday's (April 20) match against Chiang Mai FC due to an injury. Brazilian defender Tales Dos Santos (left) will be asked to step up his game for this match.

Wasan Natasan (right) will sit out Sunday's (April 20) match against Chiang Mai FC due to an injury. Brazilian defender Tales Dos Santos (left) will be asked to step up his game for this match.

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Natasan has been a key figure in the Ronins attack but an injury has sidelined him for one week.

Three straight victories have seen Phuket FC bag nine points and jump to 3rd place on the Yamaha League-1 table. Chiang Mai, meanwhile, have yet to lose a home game this year after gaining promotion to Yamaha League-1 for the 2014 season.

Despite an incident on March 8 in which club chairman Dr Udonpan Jantawiroj slapped a referee in the back of the head following a match on March 8 and received a lifetime ban, the Lanna Tigers are doing well so far in their first year back in the league, standing at 11th place and having lost only two games out of seven.

Despite Chiang Mai’s attacking approach, Phuket FC coach Stefano “Teco” Cugurra is reluctant to switch from his winning 4-3-3 formation to a 4-4-2 that has yielded little more than a draw this year.

With Chiang Mai’s 4-4-2 formation, and stellar Paraguayan midfielder Anggello Machuca (#8), a former U-17 Paraguay national player, Phuket will need more than just defensive midfielder Alef Pochi (#15) to stop him.

Machuca is good with both feet, excellent with long shots and free kicks (all three of his goals this season have come from distance, two of which were from set pieces), and he is undeniably the Tiger's attacking engine. Phuket FC will have to shut him down if they want to go home with all three points.

QSI - Cooking Competition

The Tiger's Ivorian striker Babo Mark Landry (#21), on loan from TPL-side Samut Songkram FC, has scored six goals and is one of three League-1 strikers with a hat-trick to their name this season.

Babo’s speed and agility will cause trouble in front of goal, but Phuket could stop plays in midfield by marking Machuca very tight, and never letting the Paraguayan complete his passes. This could mean that Phuket FC's “Bulldog” Eber Henrique (#23) will have to drop back to help sandwich Machuca.

Chiang Mai FC also has former Phuket left winger Niran Panthong (#12), who may also be closely marked by Prachaya Hong-In (#6) or Sakareya Kolae (#26).

The game will be fast paced and fun to watch as both teams have skilled players and are both determined to win this big clash, being billed as the North versus the South.

Kaze's prediction: Phuket FC 2-1 Chiang Mai FC.

This game marks the beginning of a grueling schedule for Phuket FC, who play four games in a 10-day period. The Ronins will take on Ayutthaya FC in the Thai Com FA Cup 3rd round on April 23, then three days later they will host Nakhon Pathum United in league play on April 26, before finally hosting TPL-side Police United in a Toyota League Cup match on April 29.

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