Regional League final with no surprises

Regional League Kasetsart Fans

Kasetsart Fans celebrating

With the final whistle of the Regional League on Sunday, eleven of twelve participants for the Regional League play-offs, also called "Division 2 Champions League", are certain. With less surprises. There were less changes at the top of all six divisions since the end of first half of the season.

Chiang Mai, Roi Et United, Paknampho NSRU and Narathiwat United asserted oneself in commanding style in their respective groups. And also Nakhon Nayok and Prachuap FC did. But both were intercepted on the very last matchday by Look E-San and Ang Thong and had to be content with a second place finish. Udon Thani in the North-East region could assert itself clearly as second behind Roi Et United. The result on the last day of the league with fringe players against the crowned champion, which resulted in a 0-1 loss, did not matter.

In contrast, things were still interesting on the last day of the season in three other Divisions. North, Bangkok and South. In the North, Phitsanulok and Sukhothai were equal on points and Phitsanulok only had to win his game to secure the second place. And so an early goal, what remained to be the only of the game, did enough for the visitors. Sukhothai at the same time lost 1-3 to Chiang Mai and will now have to play a qualifying match against the second placed team from the South.

And this side comes from Chumphon: the province which connects the Buddhist heartland with the Muslim stamped south. Chumphon FC could finish one point above pursuer Phatthalung FC, after a goalles draw against Pattani FC. However, a goal conceded could have mean disastrous consequences. Ahead of the last day Chumphon were on upper hand over Phatthalung by the slim margin of four goals and the rival won his game against Yala FC with 4-0.

In the Bangkok Divison Kasetsart FC cruised to a second place and carried home a two point advantage over Bangkok Christian College FC with a 4-1 win over 4-time Thai champ Raj-Vithi. At no time Raj-Vithi it looked like to find the back of the net. Just a foul at the edge of the box by former Pattaya United defender Arlindo provided for the consolation goal through a penalty and it marked nearly the only chance for the underdog.

The deciding match between Sukhothai and Chumphon will take place on Sunday 22 September in Ayutthaya. Kickoff is 17 o'clock. Although the strength of the teams from the South are always hard to judge, Sukhothai should go into this match as favorite. Not least after the their strong signings midway of the season.

Only one day after the decider the draw to the play-offs is due at a leagues meeting in Ang Thong. The regulations for the promotion round remain as last year, but they schedule looks slightly different with a start on 1 October and an end on 30 November this year. Rather unusal compared to recent years, since the first day of October falls on Tuesday. But we all are certainly smarter bei next week.

Another topic which will be discussed at this meeting: whether the teams are allowed to stage games at their very own home soil. Becasue certain criterias need to be fulfilled. And so it could be that Nakhon Nayok may have to look for an alternative venue. It is common knowledge that all venues should have a capacity of 1,500 spectators and possibly should fitted with floodlight. Both is not given at Nakhon Yanok Stadium.

Leaked but not confirmed are the pools for the draw:

Pool 1: Chiang Mai FC, Look E-San, Nara United, Ang Thong FC, Paknampho NSRU FC, Roi Et United
Pool 2: Phitsanulok FC, Prachuap FC, Nakhon Nayok FC, Udon Thani FC, Kasetsart FC, Sukhothai/Chumphon
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