EPL Masters Thailand Cup 2012
In Thailand, people love their football. The EPL is arguably revered in the land of smiles as much as in any other country in the world. On the 20th May, a very special event took place that would finally bring some of the hugest names in EPL history together for one afternoon of uniquely entertaining fast-paced and ferocious football action. The Standard Chartered EPL Masters Thailand Cup 2012 kicked off at Impact Arena, Muang Thong Thani, at 5pm on Saturday and certainly didn’t disappoint the legions of local fans who’d turned out in their thousands to see the heroes of the beautiful game. Many in the crowd were rewarded with the chance to meet their heroes and get their autographs throughout the competition – this was a real highlight for the numerous die-hard fans in attendance!
Right from the kick-off the stadium was buzzing. The fans sent a vocal buzz reverberating around the stadium with the excitement reaching fever pitch when the Thai heroes took centre stage. The Ex Thai National Players led by the legendary Zico Kiatisak Senamuang and Piyapong Piew On gave their supporters an unforgettable show with some sensational performances that drove their team to victory. From their very first game the boys stated their intentions with an emphatic 4-2 win over a Liverpool team that included such household names as Robbie Fowler, John Barnes and Stephen Henchoz.
That win ultimately gave the Thai’s the belief and momentum they needed to go on and lift the trophy. They triumphed in a dramatic thriller of a final that went on to be decided on penalties with the score locked at 4-4 against the EPL All stars at full time. The hosts sealed the trophy in some style, exuding perfection from the spot having converting all 5 of their penalty kicks to ensure the trophy was deservedly theirs. Victory came much to the delight of the home fans who roared their appreciation right until the very end.
This achievement is unprecedented in Masters football Asia. In winning the 2012 tournament, Thailand become the first host side ever to overcome the might of the star-studded touring teams of Manchester United, Liverpool and the EPL All Stars. The 6-a side format of course lends itself to high-scoring games and bags of excitement but the opportunity to see the fan’s favourite players back playing and scoring again made the inaugural EPL Masters Thailand Cup 2012 a truly memorable one.
Manchester United had the likes of Ronny Johnsen and David May putting in heroic performances in defence while the legendary Andy Cole wowed the fans with his signature deadly finishing. The EPL All Stars were wonderful to watch with the technical wizardry of Faustino Asprilla and the craft and sharp-shooting of Dutch legend Reggie Blinker who finished the tournament as top scorer. The real star of the show and man of the hour though was undoubtedly Thailand’s own Zico. The man was truly inspirational and showed exactly why he’s the nation’s most famous player with some expert finishing, acrobatic celebrations and gutsy performances which garnered him a very well deserved player of the tournament award. What a tournament it was. Fantastic goals, great support and some unforgettable footballing legends doing what they do best. As the lights go down on Thailand’s first-ever EPL Masters competition we’re already eagerly awaiting next year’s installment where the legends of the EPL will have to be stronger than ever to reclaim the trophy from the mighty Thai’s.