Last chance for Port to trip Pathum’s title bid

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Last chance for Port to trip Pathum’s title bid

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Runaway Thai League 1 leaders BG Pathum United host second placed Port FC tomorrow in a match which will be crucial for both teams. The 20th match of the 2020/21 season for both clubs will be played at the Leo Stadium at 7.30pm Malaysian time.

With 11 games to go, the unbeaten Pathum hold a massive 13-point lead over their closest challengers. A victory over Port will extend that lead to 16 with just 30 more points on offer for the remainder of the season. Beat Port tomorrow, and the Rabbits are surely set to being coronated as the new Thai League 1 champions.

But Pathum will come into the game a little weary following their all-out battle in the 1-0 win over third-placed Buriram United on Saturday. Brazilian striker Diogo, who scored the winning goal in the 13th minute, was taken off in the second half to keep him fresh for the Port challenge. The Pathum players will need to raise their game for a second time in the space of four days to move closer to the league title.

Port are not looking like the same team that had impressed prior to the league's Covid-19 shutdown in December. Since resumption, they have been knocked out of the FA Cup and lost their two most recent league matches. While the 1-2 loss to the in-form Buriram was forgivable, their 0-2 capitulation to lowly Police Tero on Saturday was unacceptable.

At one time, Port had narrowed the deficit to Pathum to six points and looked capable of chasing the leaders. But now, being 13 points behind, Port will be more occupied on looking over their shoulder at teams behind them. A defeat to the leaders tomorrow will effectively end Port’s title hopes.


Injuries and suspensions

Pathum will be without their rightback Santiphap Channgom, who is suspended after getting sent off in the 96th minute against Buriram last weekend.

Port will be at full strength for the match.


Head-to-head record

Pathum won the corresponding fixture 1-0 away from home on September 9 last year, with Chenrop Samphaodi scoring the winning goal.

In their previous league meetings in the 2018 season, the two clubs shared the honours. Port won 3-2 at home while Pathum, who were known as Bangkok Glass then, triumphed 2-0 on their home ground.

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The two clubs did not play each other in 2019 as Pathum were then in League 2.


Key players

Pathum

Diogo (Brazil): The Brazilian silenced his critics with the only goal of the game against Buriram on Saturday. It was his second goal in his third match since arriving from Malaysia’s Johor Darul Ta’zim in December. Diogo has now either scored or provided an assist in every game he has played for Pathum, and will be out to continue the impressive record when he lines up against Port.

Port

Sergio Suarez (Spain): The Spaniard will need to regain his scoring touch fast if Port are to end Pathum’s unbeaten run in the league. Since his strike partner Heberty left for Bangkok United in December, Suarez, who has scored 10 goals this campaign, has not been his lethal self. He has yet to form a deadly link with newcomer Yannick Boli. Tomorrow’s match will be the fifth time that both Suarez and Boli will line up together.


Prediction

On current form, Pathum seem unbeatable. Although this is a top-of-the-table clash, the Rabbits’ relentless march towards the title is unlikely to be blocked by a Port team that are no longer looking dangerous.

Score prediction: Pathum to win 2-0.


(Photo: Port FC Facebook page)

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2021/06/24
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