Leaders Buriram not ready to take their foot off the gas
Hosts Buriram United and Ratchaburi, the two top sides in Thai League 1, bring their first leg campaigns to an end when they square off tonight.
Buriram will go into the match with a hefty seven-point cushion over Ratchaburi, who are in second place with 29 points from 14 matches.
While the Thunder Castle have already been assured of the first-leg winners' tag, their coach Masatada Ishii is in no mood to let the momentum stall.
He told a news conference yesterday that his men won't let Ratchaburi and their star Jakkraphan Kaewprom have an easy outing.
"When I took over as coach at Buriram, Jakkraphan was here. He is a very good player, but we won't allow him and Ratchaburi the space to play their game," said the Japanese.
"Ratchaburi are a strong team who are equally good at both attacking and defending. It will be important for us to stay focused throughout the match as it won't be an easy game for us.
"It is a home game so we will try to win it for our loyal fans."
Ishii added that Buriram may have gone unbeaten in the first half of the season so far, but "there are many things wrong with the way we have played so far.
"We haven't performed as well as we should have done. We need to improve quite a bit during the break, but we will be missing a number of key players who will be training with the national team."
Ratchaburi coach Xavi Moro said: "We are very happy with our results so far and I think the team have done well.
"Buriram are a strong team -- they are the defending champions and are the league leaders.
"They have done very well throughout this season so this will be a difficult game for us.
"Buriram, when playing at their home ground in front of their fans, are always difficult to beat. We will try to win this game but one cannot afford even a brief lapse in concentration against Buriram."
The league will take a break for the World Cup after this weekend's games.