Thais vow to put up a fight for last 4 spot
Sarayut says team now OK with pitches
Thailand right wing Sarayut Sompim says the artificial pitches being used to stage the men's football matches at the 2019 SEA Games in the Philippines aren't a problem for the young War Elephants anymore.
The Thai U23 team are currently placed third in Group B with three points to their credit after a shock 2-0 loss to Indonesia and a 7-0 victory over Brunei.
Vietnam lead the group table with six points. Unbeaten Indonesia also have the same number of points but lag behind Vietnam on goal difference.
Thailand, who are chasing their fourth straight men's football gold medal, take on Singapore tomorrow at Binan Football Stadium and will face Laos and Vietnam next week.
The top two teams from each group will reach the semi-finals. The other group comprises Malaysia, Myanmar, Cambodia, Timor Leste and the host country.
Akira Nishino, coach of the Thai squad, has already made it clear that his men "have no other choice left but to win all three remaining matches to secure a place in the semi-finals."
Sarayut, who scored Thailand's first goal of the Philippines Games against Brunei on Thursday, said on Friday the Kingdom's U23 squad have adapted well to the artificial pitches already.
"The surface did pose a lot of problems for us in the beginning but they aren't a problem anymore," added the winger.
"However, I personally need to adapt to the quick passing game we play and develop a better understanding with my teammates."
Sarayut said Nishino's decision to allow the team some rest yesterday will help the players recover a great deal.
"Today, the coach wanted our team to take rest and it felt very good. We played two matches with only a day's break in between. The players were tired and the heat here also affected us.
"We have three matches left and we will put up a fight in every game. I hope the Thai football fans will come cheer the team."
A tip for Chaba Kaew
Thailand women's football team forward Taneekarn Dangda said the Chaba Kaew need to be more clinical in front of the goal if they are to wrest back the SEA Games glory from arch-rivals Vietnam.
Taneekarn earned a point for Thailand in their first Group B game with Vietnam on Tuesday with an 87th-minute strike that ensured a 1-1 draw for the Chaba Kaew.
The Thai women play their last group game against Indonesia tomorrow.
"We have had a long break to rest and reflect on the mistakes we made in the game against Vietnam," said Taneekarn.
"We are aiming to win back the SEA Games title, but to do that we must improve our teamwork and convert the chances we get."
Meanwhile, Vietnam booked their place in the semi-finals of the women's football tournament after thrashing Indonesia 6-0 in Manila on Friday.