Saturday 3rd June 2023 - 13:00pm Thailand / 06:00am GMT - TA - 2nd Round
For the second successive season, Futera United's quest for Thailand Amateur League glory ended in the heartbreak of a penalty shootout defeat. After a 1-1 draw, Bangkok City FC held their nerve to emerge as 4-2 winners in the shootout, securing a place in the next round.
Futera arrived full of optimism after their impressive displays in the first round, only to be somewhat disappointed to find an appalling playing surface for a game of this magnitude, which in some parts was extremely dangerous. After consultation between the officials and coaching staff of both sides, the game kicked off with Futera's talismanic captain, Jew, only able to be on the bench, while flying winger Bank was ruled out. Bangkok City adapted to the conditions early on, winning a number of corners and forcing Chang into a save in the opening stages. The game developed into a cagey affair with neither side gaining the upper hand. Phu flashed a thunderous ball across the face of the goal, and Kao should have done better when put through by Aek.
Futera had a lucky escape in the 24th minute when a stunning free kick from the Bangkok City right-back crashed against the underside of the bar with Chang well beaten. This let-off seemed to spur Futera on, and moments later, Aek embarked on a mazy run before sliding the ball to Phu, who glided past the Bangkok City defense. His neat shot could only be parried by the keeper into the path of Pang, who fired home his first-ever goal for Futera United. With halftime approaching, Bew was dispossessed, and while Futera waited for a free kick, Bangkok City played on, and their right winger drove an angled shot past Chang, equalizing the score to 1-1 in an intriguing battle between two evenly matched sides.
The second half saw a much-improved Futera appear, and they began to impose themselves on their opponents, winning second balls and dominating possession. Bangkok City were forced back and struggled to clear their lines as Futera swarmed forward. Nu went close with a header that narrowly sailed over the bar, and Save's low cross caused panic in the Bangkok City defense, with their central defender managing to fortuitously clear the ball over his own crossbar. Bew was inches away from connecting with Save's slide-rule pass, only to be thwarted by a brave save from the Bangkok City keeper.
In the 74th minute, Jew escaped down the left wing and floated an excellent cross into the path of Phu at the back post. With an open goal at his mercy, Phu somehow managed to volley the ball into Don, preventing what surely would have been the deciding goal. Despite enjoying the lion's share of possession, Futera remained susceptible to Bangkok City's swift counter-attacks, and the opposition went close in the 80th minute when a fine cross was fired high and wide. In the final minute, Chang produced an excellent save, diving full stretch to his left to push out a curling shot, ensuring the game finished with a 1-1 draw.
With the two sides unable to be separated in 90 minutes, the game would be decided by a penalty shootout. Nu stepped up first for Futera, but his well-struck penalty was saved by the Bangkok City keeper, who had enjoyed a fine game. Bangkok City scored their first penalty before Khun's attempt was again well saved. Jew dispelled the demons of last year's Dome game with a calmly taken penalty, and Art scored with ease. Bangkok City held their nerve and scored all four penalties, triumphing 4-2 and securing their spot in the next round.
Another bitter blow for Futera United as, for the second year running, we faced the heartache of being knocked out by the dreaded penalty shootout. This defeat hurts more than last year, as I thought we were the better side in the second half and dominated for large periods of the game. This defeat highlights our need for a genuine Thai center forward. I am disappointed that Jew wasn't fit to play the whole match, and also that Bank was unable to take part. I honestly believe that with those two fully fit, we would have won. The condition of the pitch has to be mentioned. I know it is the same for both sides, but this surface was an absolute disgrace for a game of this importance. I am extremely proud of all the players who gave their all and full of admiration for the guys who stood up to take the penalties. Onwards and upwards as we are back in BPL action this weekend, and we look to go again