Killer Wasps can sting the Sharks to move up

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Killer Wasps can sting the Sharks to move up

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Two struggling teams Chonburi FC and PT Prachuap meet in the Thai League 1 hoping to escape from their current positions. The 20th match in the 2020/21 season for both clubs will be played tomorrow (February 18) at the Chonburi Stadium at 8pm Malaysian time.  

Fallen giants Chonburi are struggling to put on consistent displays. Their latest setback was being held to a 0-0 draw by the next-to-bottom Trat. Although the Sharks are currently placed 11th in the standings, they are only three points ahead of Prachuap, who occupy the last relegation slot.

It would be unthinkable for Chonburi, who have been regular Asian Champions League qualifiers over the past decade, to be battling for relegation. But such is the sad state of the Sharks, who have only won twice in their last eight league outings.

In contrast, Prachuap are finally earning the results for their battling performances. The Killer Wasps shocked defending champions Chiangrai United 1-0 on Sunday. It followed their battling displays in losing to leaders BG Pathum United (0-2) and third-placed Buriram United (1-2), and holding fourth-placed Muangthong United to a 3-3 draw.

With their superior goal difference over the teams around them, a win over Chonburi tomorrow could lift the 14th-placed Prachuap as high as 11th in the standings. It will be a fitting reward for a team that have been hovering in either 13th or 14th positions for much of the season.


Injuries and suspension

Chonburi will not have the services of their young midfielder Saharat Sontisawat, who is suspended after getting sent off against Trat.

Prachuap will be at full strength for the match.


Head-to-head records

Chonburi hold the advantage in the two teams’ recent meetings, having won three times in the past five encounters.

However, it were Prachuap that won this season’s corresponding fixture 1-0 on September 20, 2020. The Killer Wasps’ Brazilian midfielder Willen Mota was the hero in the game, scoring the winner 11 minutes from the end.  

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Key players

Chonburi

Renato Kelic (Croatia): The lanky centreback was signed from Buriram in January to plug the leaky defence. He could not do much in his debut, a 1-2 loss to Muangthong, but proved his worth in marshalling the backline to keep a cleansheet during the goalless draw against Trat. Chonburi need to stop conceding cheap goals, and Kelic will play an important role in ensuring the Sharks keep it tight at the back.

Prachuap

Willen Mota (Brazil): The Brazilian striker has been going on a one-man crusade to pull Prachuap to safety. Having already scored 10 goals and providing six assists this season, Mota is proving to be one of the best purchases in Thai League 1. He is likely to be snapped up by a bigger club next season, but Prachuap can still enjoy the Brazilian’s brilliance now as he plots their escape from the relegation zone.


Prediction

This will be a relegation six-pointer which neither team wants to lose. However, Prachuap have been producing the better performances lately and are capable of inflicting a second defeat of the season on the Sharks and move out of the relegation zone.

Score prediction: Prachuap to win 2-1.


(Photo: PT Prachuap Facebook page)

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