Score goals, Nishino tells Thais

Score goals, Nishino tells Thais

Indonesians aim to rattle War Elephants

Thailand coach Akira Nishino instructs his players during a training session ahead of tonight's second Group G match against Indonesia in Jakarta.
Thailand coach Akira Nishino instructs his players during a training session ahead of tonight's second Group G match against Indonesia in Jakarta.

Thailand and their new coach Akira Nishino go into their Tuesday night's 2022 World Cup Asian Zone Group G qualifier against Indonesia knowing fully well that they desperately need three points from the game for many reasons.

Indonesia are also eager to win the match at the 80,000-seat Gelora Bung Karno Stadium, which will be televised live by Thai Rath TV (32) starting at 7.30pm.

The War Elephants were held to a goalless home draw by Southeast Asian rivals Vietnam in their first group game on Thursday when the Garudas suffered a 3-2 defeat at the hands of Malaysia.

In the other Group G match, Malaysia host the United Arab Emirates, the seeded side in the pool.

Thailand need a win not only to put their campaign for a berth at Qatar 2022 back on track, but also to regain the faith of their fans.

Nishino, who has faced criticism for going into the Vietnam game without a specialist striker, said on Monday his men need to score goals tonight.

"After the match with Vietnam, we have had time to prepare the team and I can say that we are getting better," said the veteran coach, who took Japan to the last 16 stage of the 2018 World Cup.

"Although we have lost two key players to injuries, the mood of the team is very positive.

"To win this match, first of all, we need to score goals against Indonesia.

"We must focus on creating as many chances as possible and also grant every player the right to have a shot at the goal.

"We also must to try to penetrate into the offensive zone more often than we did against Vietnam on Thursday."

Indonesia coach Simon McMenemy is banking on exploiting the uncertainty that has gripped the Thai side in the wake of changes implemented by Nishino to their playing style.

"To beat Thailand is not easy at all but I believe that my team have a chance because the Thais still seem to be pretty unsettled in the way they are playing," said McMenemy.

"Such things happen when a new coach takes over and Nishino has not been with the Thai team long enough. This is their weak point at the moment and we hope to take advantage of it.

"We have two Indonesian players in Thai League 1 and they have given us some valuable tips.

"We have also studied the tapes of the match between Thailand and Vietnam and have a pretty good idea of their new style."

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