Prachuap target first ever cup success as Buriram target first part of a double

Prachuap FC are aiming to make history when they take on Buriram United in Saturday’s Thai League Cup final.

The Killer Wasps battled their way up through the lower tiers before finishing an impressive 6th in their first T1 season in 2018. Having effectively consolidated their position in the top tier this year, they are now looking for their first major honour.

Buriram will need to put their indifferent league form behind them if they are to deny the underdogs a famous win.

Meanwhile in T1 action, Port FC hope to keep their title hopes alive at home to Nakhon Ratchasima, while Chonburi will look to banish the slight threat of relegation when they host PTT Rayong on Sunday.

Here are three things to look out for in Thai football this weekend.

  1. Prachuap target another SCG triumph 

As Prachuap bid to upset the odds in Saturday’s League Cup final, they can perhaps take inspiration from their last two visits to the SCG Stadium. Both ended in victory against Muang Thong United, while opponents Buriram’s suffered a 3-1 defeat in their most recent trip.

Omens aside, Prachuap come into the game on the back of a six-match unbeaten run that has taken them away from relegation danger. They have not conceded in the last four games and have lost just two goals in that six-match stretch.

However, they will be weakened by the likely unavailability of no fewer than four Buriram United loan players. The biggest losses are regular goalkeeper Kwanchai Suklom and midfield schemer Chitpanya Tisud.

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Photo credit: Prachuap FC

Buriram will have to raise their game to ensure that they avoid another cup upset, having recently lost to Ratchaburi in the FA Cup semifinal. Supachok Sarachat came to their rescue in last weekend’s home win over Chainat and in such a difficult year, they would settle for a repeat.

A transitional season may yet end in a league and cup double for the champions, which would seem excessive reward for a side whose standards have fallen way below what we have come to expect. But Buriram often find a way to win and few would bet against them taking another trophy on Saturday.

  1. Port wary of resurgent Swatcats 

The visit of Nakhon Ratchasima to Port FC on Friday evening has taken on a very different complexion since the Swatcats’ weekend heroics gave the club a huge boost following months of doom and gloom.

Head coach Chalermwut Sa-ngapol’s dramatic debut saw his team come from behind to win 4-1, scoring three times in the final five minutes. While this result may go a long way to securing another season in T1, they are not safe yet and will want to seal their place in the top tier with a victory here. Fixtures against Buriram and relegation strugglers Sukhothai and Chainat are yet to come so three points would be a huge relief.

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Photo credit: Nakhon Ratchasima FC

However, Port FC have their own aspirations as a victory would take them to within two points of joint leaders Buriram and Chiang Rai United ahead of the final three matches of the season. Since a mid-season slump, Port have taken 16 points from seven games to move back into contention as their rivals falter.

When they tried to play this match two weeks ago, a storm stopped the action just four minutes in. Both sides will be hoping for less extreme conditions as they approach a match that could be hugely significant.

  1. Chonburi aim to settle nerves 

With a six-point cushion, it would take a very unlikely sequence of results for Chonburi to be relegated. However, three defeats in the last four have them looking slightly nervously over their shoulders as we reach the final stages of the season.

There was relief last weekend as three of the bottom four lost to maintain a healthy distance from the drop zone and a win here would put an end to any lingering concerns while setting the Sharks up for a positive end to another mediocre season.

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Photo credit: Chonburi FC

Sunday’s visitors PTT Rayong sit just one point above Chonburi and would also secure another T1 season with a victory. They are unbeaten in four T1 matches, though three of them have ended in draws.

Compared to the weekend’s two headline matches, this is certainly no more than a support act but we will see two clubs that wish to end their seasons on a high to keep their fans on board for 2020.

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