Tough opener awaits Kirins

Tough opener awaits Kirins

Promoted BG Pathum promise 'exciting tussle' with ex-champs, Port host Swat Cats

Port's Heberty Fernandes attempts a shot against the Philippines' Ceres Negros in the AFC Champions League play-offs.  Varuth Hirunyatheb
Port's Heberty Fernandes attempts a shot against the Philippines' Ceres Negros in the AFC Champions League play-offs. Varuth Hirunyatheb

Thai League 1 contenders -- former champions SCG Muang Thong United and big-spending Port -- will be hoping for positive results when they take the field for the first time this season today.

Muang Thong will be at BG Pathum United, who are back in the top flight after spending a year in the second tier and are being coached by former Thai international Dusit Chalermsaen.

FA Cup winners Port, with more than a handful of new faces in their line-up this year, will be at home when they kick off their campaign for elusive league title against Nakhon Ratchasima today.

The Kirins can expect a tough opener today.

The Rabbits, skippered by Surachat Sareepim, have strengthened their squad by recalling J-League based Thailand star Thitiphan Puangjan.

They also have in their line-up Malaysia's Norshahrul Idlan Talaha, former Thailand striker Siroch Chatthong, Brazilian defender Victor Cardozo and playmaker Sumanya Purisai with rock-solid Chatchai Budprom manning their goal.

However, Dusit has warned his players not to take anything for granted against Muang Thong.

"It is a different Muang Thong United. A number of their top players have left but they have replaced them with new faces," said Dusit.

"They are a big club so I am expecting a big game from them. Whatever the case, we will be better off focusing on our own performance.

"We have some injured players but I would rate our readiness for this game as 100 percent.

"I am sure it will be an exciting tussle which the fans of both clubs will enjoy."

Muang Thong coach Alexandre Gama is reportedly keen on giving his new signing, Uzbekistan playmaker Sardor Mirzaev, a start in No.10 jersey today.

The Kirins will also be expecting their new Brazilian striking partnership of Willian Popp and Derley to lead them to a winning start.

They have also attempted to plug in their porous defence by signing Brazilian Lucas Rocha.

Port, who have taken big names like Adisak Kraisorn, Heberty Fernandes and Charyl Chappuis, away from the Kirins, will start as favourites against the Swat Cats at their home ground in Klong Toey today.

Port will try to claim a morale-boosting win after being eliminated in the AFC Champions League play-offs following a shock home loss to the Philippines' Ceres Negros last week.

Also today, True Bangkok United face an early test of their title credentials when they host League Cup champions PT Prachuap.

Six-time champions Buriram United will start their campaign to reclaim the coveted trophy tomorrow at Police Tero, who are also back in the top league after a year in Thai League 2.

The 2020 season kicked off last night when Samut Prakan City hosted champions Chiang Rai United.

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