At Institute for Physical Education Chonburi football field, Pattaya United, a.k.a. the ‘Blue & White Dolphins’ got their Thai Premier League campaign underway last Saturday with a match against the much fancied Bangkok Glass team.
Both teams made a cautious start to the game but United were the first ones to settle and they took the lead in the 10th minute when new signing Hiroyuki Yamamoto headed the ball back across goal from a corner into the path of last year’s leading scorer Ludovick Takam, who made no mistake from just a few yards out.
Ludovick Takam scores to put Pattaya United 1-0 up against Bangkok Glass at the Physical Education Football Stadium in Chonburi, Saturday, Feb. 12. (Photo/Ariyawat Nuamsawat)
The ‘Glass Rabbits’ have been marked down by some pundits as an outside bet for this season’s title and they showed a keen determination to get back into the match and were rewarded in the 28th minutes when defender Panuwat Failai headed them level from close range.
With the play becoming a little scrappy, interspersed by a series of niggling fouls by both sets of players, the score remained the same until the 59th minute of the game when United new boy Yamamoto, having a spectacular start to his career with the Dolphins, put his team ahead once more with a powerful downward header from a free kick by Rangsarit Suthisa.
United’s Japanese midfielder Kazuya Myodo, right, attacks the Bangkok Glass defence during the second half of the match. (Photo/Ariyawat Nuamsawat)
The points weren’t quite secure for United just yet however as they had to survive an 87th minute scare when Bangkok Glass missed a golden opportunity to equalize for the second time. Glass’s Nigerian striker Ajayi Samuel slalomed his way into the United area and rounded the keeper but somehow midfielder Seeket Madputeh got back to cover and blocked Samuel’s shot on the line before clearing it to safety.
It was to prove to be the last chance for Bangkok Glass and the referee’s whistle sounded soon after to signal an important winning start for Pattaya United whose next league fixture is on Sunday, February 27, away at Thai Port FC.
In a limited fixture program last weekend, newly promoted Sriracha FC earned a point with a 1-1 draw against SCG Samut Songkram. Other results were as follows: BEC Tero Sasana 1-2 Buriram PEA, Police United 1-0 TOT FC, and TTM Pichit 3-1 Chiang Rai United.