Things get serious as season draws to a close

By Paul Hewitt | Dec 09, 2011

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All games are at 6pm unless otherwise stated.

We are really approaching the business end of the season now and TOT can continue their great escape when they welcome Sisaket to the TOT Stadium in Chaeng Wattana on Saturday. They beat fellow strugglers Sriracha 1-0 last weekend and will fancy their chances of overcoming a Sisaket side just four places above them in the division. A win would move TOT onto 31 points: not safe, but not far from it. The only other Bangkok team in action on Saturday is Muangthong United who make the long journey up to Khon Kaen. MTU’s hopes of holding onto their TPL crown are effectively ended, but they should at least pick up three points and increase their chances of finishing second with a routine victory at Division-One-bound Khon Kaen.

On Sunday, Police United host Bangkok Glass in what should be a Pathum Thani derby; however, the Cops are still in exile because of the floods and this game will be played at the Central Stadium in Suphanburi. Not much to play for here – BG can cement their place in fourth with a victory, that’s about it. The other all local affair on Sunday is a genuine downtown Bangkok derby between BEC Tero Sasana and Thai Port. Both sides are on forty points and Port guaranteed their TPL status for another year with an excellent 1-0 win over Chonburi in midweek. There’s only local pride only at stake, but, quite remarkably, Port could find themselves as high as fifth by the close of play on Sunday. Coach Thongchai Sukkokee does seem to have finally turned things around at the perennially troubled Khlong Toey club. Ten points from the last four games, including that win over Chonburi, have raised hopes that (whisper it!) the Port Lions may have a reasonable 2012 to look forward to. Our Bangkok septet is completed by Army United. The Soldiers aren’t quite safe from relegation yet, and they’ll feel even less so if they lose at home to Siam Navy on Sunday. They could find themselves just four points out of the danger zone if results go against them this weekend. 

The big Division 1 game from a Bangkok perspective is at Ramkhamheng University where exiled Air Force United host Suphanburi. The Airmen have been sucked right into relegation danger after losing 7-0 at Chainat last weekend and going down 2-0 to Songkhla in midweek. Suphanburi are just one place above Air Force, and both sides will consider themselves just about safe if they can take the three points (3.30pm, Saturday). RBAC are drinking at the last chance saloon when they visit Customs F.C. The former must win to give themselves any hope of survival (3.30pm, Sunday). Elsewhere, doomed Thai Honda host Bangkok United (3.30pm, Sun) and TPL-bound BBCU are at Chantaburi (3.30pm, Sat).

Finally, I must indulge. My own dear Nakhon Ratchasima F.C are in town on Saturday for a crucial Regional League (Division 2) play-off match. North Bangkok are the hosts at the Thephasadin Stadium at 6pm on Saturday. If Korat win and one of Krabi or Rayong drop points then they will be promoted to Division 1 with a game to spare. The Horsemen of North Bangkok are out of the promotion race after an inconsistent play-off campaign. They picked up a point away at group leaders Krabi and became the only team to win at Roiet this year, but, on the whole, have just lacked that little bit of quality to sustain a challenge. Korat seem destined for Thai football’s top table now that the powerful Liptapanlop political family has taken over the club, but first they must drag themselves out of the Regional League. Korat’s ever-increasing fanbase will hope that their bright new future will start to dawn at 7.45pm this Saturday.

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