Thais out to turn tables

Thais out to turn tables

Champs in tight spot after first-leg setback

Thailand's Teerasil Dangda, left, vies with Malaysia's Brendan Gan Seng Ling at Bukit Jalil in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday.
Thailand's Teerasil Dangda, left, vies with Malaysia's Brendan Gan Seng Ling at Bukit Jalil in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday.

Defending champions Thailand are confident that they will overturn a 1-0 deficit when they meet Malaysia in the second leg of the AFF Mitsubishi Electric Cup semi-finals at Thammasat Stadium on Tuesday night.

Malaysia defeated Mano Polking's men 1-0 in the first leg at Kuala Lumpur's Bukit Jalil on Saturday.

"We lost in the first leg but the tie is still wide open," Thailand captain Theerathon Bunmathan said on Monday.

"Everybody in our 23-man squad is ready to play in the second leg and help the Thai national team reach the final.

"We tried to score [in the first leg] but it wasn't our day. They [Malaysia] won't be lucky all the time.

"I think the second leg will be our day to score."

The 32-year-old midfielder said Malaysian fans threw cups and used laser pointers during the game at Bukit Jalil.

He called on Thai fans to pack Thammasat Stadium in Rangsit to pile pressure on the visitors.

"I'd like fans to give us support at the stadium. Everybody saw what they did to us at Bukit Jalil. I'd like Thai fans to pile pressure on them with their cheers," the Buriram United star said.

All 25,000 tickets for the game have been sold out, according to reports.

Thailand manager Nualphan Lamsam said it's a pity that the War Elephants failed to get a draw or score a goal at Bukit Jalil.

"We had more than 70% of ball possession and made 24 attempts on goal," she said.

"I think we still have a chance to qualify for the final."

Nualphan has already given the team 5 miliion baht in bonus for reaching the semi-finals.

She has promised to give them another 5 million baht if they advance to the final.

The Thai strike force will be led by Teerasil Dangda, the record goalscorer of the biennial tournament with 24 goals.

The 34-year-old forward has netted four times in the ongoing tournament.

Saturday's first leg was chaotic as the VAR system is not in use in the Asean championship.

Leading 1-0, Malaysia had a goal disallowed for unclear reason.

Thailand, meanwhile, were denied a penalty following what looked to be an apparent foul in the area.

In Tuesday's match, Malaysia's confidence could be boosted by their shoot-out win against Thailand in the King's Cup in Chiang Mai last year.

The Yellow Tigers, as Malaysia are called by the Thai press, shocked the War Elephants in the second leg of the AFF Cup in Bangkok in 2018.

After a scoreless draw in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia held Thailand to a 2-2 draw in Bangkok to earn a ticket to the final thanks to the away goals rule which is still in use.

The Thais are seeking a record-extending seventh crown at the Southeast Asian championship.

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