Updated: May 24
21st May 2023 - TA Round 1 Second Leg
Futera United booked their place in the second round of the Thailand Amateur League competition after overcoming a strong Lukphokun United team 3-2 in a thrilling encounter at the Kasem Bundit University Stadium.
Once again, a 1 pm local time kick-off meant the game would be played out in 40-degree-plus heat. Futera, 2-0 up from the first leg, flew out of the blocks and went close in the first five minutes when a well-worked short corner resulted in Phu driving the ball across the face of the goal, where a sliding Aek at the far post somehow managed to fire his shot against the post. Lukphokhun took the lead, somewhat against the run of play, when their first foray into the attacking third saw a speculative cross into the box inadvertently sliced into his own net by the unfortunate Tewit. Futera almost hit back instantly when Nu's deep cross was misjudged by the Lukphokun keeper, only for Phu to see his shot go inches past the post.
Parity was restored in the 27th minute with a rather fortuitous goal for Futera. Save's cross was miscued by the Lukphokun center back, whose attempted clearance spun off his boot into the corner of the net to make the score 1-1. Back on level terms, Futera once again began to dominate possession and looked a real threat going forward. Kao should have done better when put clean through, but he dawdled, allowing the Lukphokun center-back to make a fantastic last-ditch tackle. Our inspirational skipper Jew caused a worrying sight when he was stretchered off on the half-hour mark, but the talented midfielder returned to turn the game on its head. In the 39th minute, he broke free down the right flank, and his inch-perfect cross was gleefully dispatched by Phu to make the score 2-1 to Futera. Minutes later, Aek produced a sublime cross for Jew to glide between the two Lukphokhun center-backs and powerfully head home, giving Futera a commanding 3-1 halftime lead.
The second half saw Lukphokhun introduce three experienced players, but once again, Futera was in the ascendancy. Save, who had an outstanding game, rattled the crossbar with an audacious volley, and Futera continued to surge forward looking for more goals. With the heat becoming a key factor, the game settled down, with Futera dominating possession and Lukphokhun struggling to breach a defense well marshaled by Tewit and Mark. In the 75th minute, M got caught by the pacy Lukphokun striker, and his high tackle was deemed dangerous, resulting in a straight red card, meaning Futera would have to see the game out with ten men. Lukphokun capitalized on their numerical advantage in the 81st minute. Katang, caught ball watching, allowed the winger to race free and fire a low drive under Film to make the score 3-2. Futera's ten men managed to see out the remaining minutes without difficulty, ensuring that they progressed to the next round with a comprehensive 5-2 aggregate victory over a very strong Lukphokhun side.
An excellent performance from Futera saw skipper Jew back to his best, and with both Save and Bew putting in good performances, the midfield looks extremely strong. The back four looked solid and were rarely troubled by what was a decent Lukphokun side, who finished BPL 1 runners-up last year. Futera looks like they have real aspirations of winning this trophy and must be among the favorites. Exciting times lie ahead for everyone involved with the club.