7th May 2023 - KASIM BUNDIT UNIVERSITY STADIUM - TA-Round 1
Futera United travelled to the impressive Kasem Bundit Stadium, looking to vanquish memories of their painful penalty shoot-out exit of the previous season, as they began their Thailand Amateur League 2023 campaign. Their round-one opponents were the highly rated Lukphokhun United, who had finished runners-up in the Bangkok Premier League division one last year, and this would be a tough test for Futera United.
With the game kicking off at 1 pm local time, the pitch-side temperature was an incredulous 44 degrees, making the game as much a battle of physical endurance as skill and talent. Futera made a bright start, going close in the opening five minutes. The returning Kao saw a delightful dipping free-kick well-saved by the Lukphokhun keeper, and minutes later, Aek ghosted in from the right-wing and unleashed a fierce shot that was once again kept out by the opposition's impressive keeper. Despite looking in control, Futera was thankful to their own keeper Chang, in for the absent Film, who produced a stunning save when a free-kick was only partially cleared, and the Lukphokun winger's shot looked destined for the top corner before the reserve stopper, at full stretch, parried the ball away. Futera took a deserved lead on the half-hour mark when Mark produced an 60-yard diagonal ball that Kao took exquisitely in his stride before calmly side-footing into the net for his first goal since returning. With the oppressive heat taking its toll, the first half fizzled out with Futera holding a narrow 1-0 advantage.
The second half began with Lukphokhun on the front foot and eager to get back on level terms, but although enjoying some good spells of possession, they failed to trouble a resolute Futera defence. With the introduction of Save and Ma adding an injection of energy, Futera wrestled back control of the game and went close on several occasions. Mai's shot from the edge of the box cannoned off the post before skipper Jew's thunderous dipping volley flew inches over the bar. Futera sealed victory with a delightful goal in the 75th minute when Kao and Save exchanged passes before the striker fired home for his second goal of the match. With Khun in imperious form at the heart of the defence, Futera easily saw out the remaining minutes to secure a fine 2-0 victory.
An outstanding result for Futera, who showed how much the side has grown since last year's cruel exit. Chang was outstanding in goal, and Nu, recalled at left-back, put in a great performance. With the defence looking solid, the talent they have in midfield, and the pace of the front three, Futera could have a real shot at winning this competition.