Thailand expect tough fight in third-place play-off

Thailand expect tough fight in third-place play-off

Getting ready: Thailand players take part in a training session.
Getting ready: Thailand players take part in a training session.

Malaysia take on Tajikistan in the King's Cup final but as far as the local fans are concerned, all eyes will be on the third-place showdown between hosts Thailand and Trinidad and Tobago on Sunday.

The War Elephants will go into the match at Chiang Mai's 700th Anniversary Stadium at 5.30pm without injured captain Chanathip Songkrasin. The final is scheduled to kick off at 8.30pm at the same venue.

The Thais were beaten 5-3 by regional foes Malaysia in a penalty shoot-out following a 1-1 draw at time on Wednesday when Tajikistan edged Trinidad and Tobago 2-1.

Thailand head coach Mano Polking, who has faced the wrath of Thai football fans for his failure to take the War Elephants to the final, told a pre-match conference yesterday that his men "are ready to create a good result against Trinidad and Tobago."

"The fans' reaction on social media is understandable because the entire team was also disappointed by the outcome of the match against Malaysia.

"The criticism of the game is acceptable but all those reports about lack of discipline in the team camp are simply not true.

"Like us, they [Trinidad and Tobago] also lost on Wednesday so we don't know how many changes they will make to their starting line-up. But we have a few different plans ready for the match.

"They are ranked higher than us in the world and many of their players play for reputed clubs. It is a big test for our team."

Thai left wing back Theerathon Bunmathan said: "We are disappointed that we couldn't reach the final but this third-place match is also important for us. I hope that the Thai fans will come to the venue to cheer the team."

Trinidad and Tobago coach Angus Eve is also looking forward to a better show from his players today.

"We are in a confident mood despite our loss in the first match. The players did well and created a lot of chances, but they'll have to be better at availing such chances against Thailand.

"Thailand have a good style and they combine well. We will not take them for granted as they are a strong team."

Mano added that Chanathip will be returning to his club in Japan on Monday.

"Chanathip has been examined by doctors and MRI scan suggests he has a torn groin. He will need to take a break for 3-4 weeks.

The third-place match will be live on Thai Rath TV (32) and AIS Play, while the final will be beamed live by AIS Play.

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