Four sides duel for final slots

Four sides duel for final slots

Buriram's Andres Tunez, right, plays against Trat during a league match on Sunday. football
Buriram's Andres Tunez, right, plays against Trat during a league match on Sunday. football

Four teams, including minnows, will lock horns for places in final of the Toyota League Cup tonight.

Both matches will be played at neutral venues in Bangkok -- the 72nd Anniversary Stadium in Min Buri and Boonyajinda Stadium -- and kick off at 7pm.

Buriram United, who retained their top spot in Thai League 1 following a controversial 1-0 victory at Trat on the weekend, face Nongbua Pitchaya -- the only Thai League 2 side still alive in the competition -- in Min Buri.

Defending champions Chiang Rai United, who are having an impressive run in Thai League 1, take on PT Prachuap, a team anxiously looking for some solace after a spate of league losses.

Buriram, with five League Cup titles to their credit, will take the field as heavy favourites to beat Nongbua Pitchaya.

"We are ready and looking forward to the semi-final," Buriram assistant manager Sirichai Kimoto said yesterday.

"We don't have any injured players, and Siwarak Tedsungnoen, Andres Tunez and Nacer Barazite are all ready to play.

"Last weekend, we played on a muddy pitch [in Trat]. We hope that the stadium will be in a better shape for the semi-final.

"We are confident of qualifying for the final match but we won't underestimate Nongbua Pitchaya at all."

Nongbua Pitchaya manager Jiradej Suwanprom said: "We know that we have a tough task on our hands.

"Buriram United will be eyeing a place in the final but we will try our best to beat them and hopefully reach the final of this tournament."

In the other semi-final at Boonyajinda Stadium, Chiang Rai will be hoping to keep their campaign on track -- the Beetles recently failed in their bid to retain the FA Cup crown after being knocked out at the quarter-final stage.

Chiang Rai coach Ailton dos Santos promised an all-out effort against Prachuap tonight.

"There are only two domestic trophies left for us to win so we must try to claim both of them," said Ailton.

"We don't have any injured players. We must win this match and qualify for the title match."

Prachuap coach Thawatchai Dumrong-ongtrakul said: "Although our team have not done well in Thai League 1 as we are in the relegation zone, we do have high hopes of winning the League Cup.

"We have reached the semi-finals of this tournament for the first time and we feel like we can go all the way."

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