Tardeli alone cannot stop Muangthong’s charge

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Tardeli alone cannot stop Muangthong’s charge

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On-form Muangthong United will be looking to continue their steady progress when they travel to take on mid-table Samut Prakan City in the Thai League 1 tomorrow. The 20th match of the 2020/21 campaign for both clubs will be played at the SAT Stadium in Samut Prakan at 7pm Malaysian time.

Muangthong reached the top four of the standings for the first time this season on Sunday. It has been a remarkable rise for the Kirins, who were briefly in the relegation zone at the start of the season, and were a lowly 11th in early December. The 3-0 win over Sukhothai on Sunday extended Muangthong’s unbeaten run in all competitions to eight matches.

Now that they have finally reached the top four, the four-times League 1 champions are likely to set their sights on catching the second-placed Port FC. Muangthong currently have 31 points, one behind third-placed Buriram United and nine behind Port. Runaway leaders BG Phatum United, who have a massive 53 points, seem too far to be caught by the teams behind them.

Samut Prakan may only be ninth in the League 1 table with 28 points, but they are only three points behind Muangthong. Barring the top two, the other clubs in the top half of the table are all bunched close to each other. Win at home tomorrow night, and Samut Prakan could find themselves being drawn into the tussle for a top four spot.

The Sea Fang will come into the game on inconsistent form. While they have beaten bottom club Rayong 1-0 in their most recent match, Samut Prakan lost the previous two games to Police Tero 3-5 and Bangkok United 0-3. They have scored 37 goals in 19 matches, the same as league leaders Pathum. But their problem is in their defence, which has leaked 32 goals, the most by any of the top 10 teams in the standings.


Injuries and suspension

Samut Prakan midfielder Nopphon Ponkam is suspended for this game while Spanish player Toti could make a return after missing the previous game through injury.

Muangthong will be at full strength for the match.


Head-to-head record

This is the third meeting between the two teams this season.

The corresponding league fixture played on September 20, 2020 at Muangthong’s SCG Stadium ended in a goalless draw. The clubs also met in the FA Cup third round just two weeks ago on February 3, with Muangthong emerging 1-0 victors after their captain Wattana Playnum scored the winning goal in the sixth minute.

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In the 2019 league campaign, Samut Prakan completed the double over their more illustrious opponents by winning 2-1 at home and 3-0 away.   


Key players

Samut Prakan

Barros Tardeli (Brazil): The striker is the Thai League 1’s second highest scorer with 13 goals. Tardeli has repeatedly rescued Samut Prakan with his well-taken goals. However, the Brazilian, who is on-loan this season from the current leaders Pathum, is often seen as leading a one-man crusade for the Sea Fang. He needs more support from his teammates if the club are to make a serious push for a top four spot.

Muangthong

Darley (Brazil): The 33-year-old striker who is playing in his second season for Muangthong, is currently enjoying himself. Having scored twice in the last three league matches, Darley has also started contributing more in assists and building up play. With the opposing defenders focused on marking him during matches, he has been able to create spaces for other teammates to get into scoring positions. Besides Darley, six other Muangthong players have got on the scoresheet in their last four games.  


Prediction

Muangthong’s strong second half of the season is expected to continue with another fine performance against Samut Prakan. Despite Tardeli’s impressive strikes, the home team do not look capable of ending Muanthong’s eight-game defeatless streak.

Score prediction: Muangthong to win 2-0  


(Photo: Samut Prakan City Facebook page)


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