This is Phuket FC’s second game out of four matches they have to play in only 11 days.
Last week, the Ronins took on both Navy FC (1-1 draw on June 1) and Khon Kaen FC (2-0 win on June 4) and will have to play against Bangkok Glass next Wednesday (June 11) in round three of the Toyota League Cup. Busy days, indeed.
This match-up is against a Roi Et United team, who are coming off a 1-0 home win against Phitsanulok.
Like all newly promoted sides, Roi Et United have struggled with the faster pace in League-1. But things might be changing for the 2013 Division 2 Champions League winners.
After Finnish head coach Mika Londstrom left for Police United and Team Manager Jakkarat Tonhongsa took over the team, Roi Et sought extra help from Nopporn Eksarttra to help with their game plan as a Technical Director.
Nopporn’s pedigree is not ordinary: as Muang Thong United’s first head coach, he led the team to promotion to division one at the time. He was also the coach who led PTT Rayong FC to TPL promotion last year.
Still, Roi Et United are an inexperienced squad that has often taken the lead early only to squander their advantage late in the second half.
Judging by their lineup, and the fact that they have only one offensive weapon in former Thailand national team captain Kittipon Paphunga (#34), the team will focus on defense.
Roi Et United boast a tall backline, with Uzbek defender Vadim Lyubinskiy (#28), Englishman Patrick Kanyuka (#6), and Hyungjun Jeong (#5) all over 180cm tall. Left back Nikhom Somwang (#11) who can also play as a defensive midfielder, now helps drive the ball up along the sidelines to Roi Et’s midfield.
The White Squirrels switch between a 4-4-2 and 4-4-1-1 formation, with Kittipon Paphunga feeding the ball forward to striker Darryl Bevon Roberts (#30) who, despite being over 30-years-old, is still incredibly fast and uses his height well.
Even though it seems to be an easy game for Phuket FC against a team just above the red zone, Roi Et United could still be dangerous in the early stages of the match. A draw against the Ronins would feel like a victory for them, as Roi Et United have nothing to lose.
Phuket head coach Stefano “Teco” Cugurra will have to be careful against a team like this.
Kaze’s prediction: Phuket FC 2-0 Roi Et United
Kick-off tonight is set for 6:30pm. Class Act Media is a proud media partner of Phuket FC.