Pathum eye quarter-finals spot but wary of 'defensive' Kitchee
BG Pathum United coach Makoto Teguramori has set his sights on helping the Thai League 1 side go one step further today when they face Hong Kong's Kitchee SC in an AFC Champions League last-16 round clash at Urawa Komaba Stadium in Saitama, Japan.
The winners of today's match, which kicks off at 3pm (Thai time) and can be watched live on Eleven Sports platform, will progress to the quarter-finals scheduled for Monday. The draw for the last-eight stage will take place tomorrow.
Pathum United are appearing in the knockout phase for a second season in a row but after falling to Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors at the same stage last year, the Japanese coach is determined to lead the Rabbits into the quarter-finals this time around.
"This year will be different. We are carrying Thai football fans' hopes and that means a lot to us. We will do our best to make all Thai football fans proud," he said.
The Rabbits suffered an agonising penalty shoot-out loss to the two-time champions from South Korea in the knockout rounds.
"Kitchee SC is defensively strong," added Teguramori. "When they get the ball, they'll try to hit us on the counter-attack. We watched their group stage game against Chiang Rai United and we'll use the details from that match to the best of our ability. Stylistically, we are likely to be the ones on the offence, however we must take risks wisely and guard ourselves against their strengths.
"The determining factor will be our attack and if we can attack them then we can overcome them. We have to manage the risks well and if we lose the ball we'll have to stop them from counterattacking us."
Kitchee coach Alex Chu said: "This is the first time for a Hong Kong team to reach the knockout stage in the AFC Champions League, so that's why I hope our players can do well in tomorrow's game," he said.
"Even though BG Pathum United are quite a strong team, we will do our best. We're ready to play a hard game."
Buriram seek another win
Buriram United are confident of picking up three more points when the defending Thai League 1 champions take on Sukhothai at home tonight.
Buriram coach Masatada Ishii said yesterday: "We are looking forward to the game with Sukhothai. After claiming three points in the previous game [against Nakhon Ratchasima], we now want to win this match at our home ground.
"Sukhothai are a good team. Although they lost their first game of the season [last weekend], we cannot underestimate them at all."
The match will kick off at 7pm.
- BG Pathum United