'Underdogs' Thais ready for big test
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'Underdogs' Thais ready for big test

South Koreans flying high after Kuwait rout

Thailand's Purachet Thodsanid reacts during the match against Bahrain at the Asian Games. (Photo supplied)
Thailand's Purachet Thodsanid reacts during the match against Bahrain at the Asian Games. (Photo supplied)

Thailand U23 football team coach Issara Sritaro admitted on Wednesday his men would to have wear the "underdogs" tag when they take on the mighty South Koreans in their second Hangzhou Asian Games Group E match on Thursday.

The match will be live on 5HD, PPTV and AIS Play at 6.30pm with Bahrain facing Kuwait in the other Group E game at 3pm.

The Thais were able to salvage a 1-1 draw with Bahrain in their opening game on Tuesday thanks to a late strike by midfielder Purachet Thodsanid.

South Korea, on the other hand, were in a class of their own as they mercilessly slaughtered Kuwait 9-0 on the same day.

Issara is expecting a tough game with South Korea, the two-time defending champions who are the pre-tournament title favourites.

"I watched the Korean side play against Kuwait -- they are a really strong team," said the Thai coach.

"Without any doubts, it will be a tough game for our team.

"We are the underdogs but we will try our best to put up a fight against them.

Issara added: "The combination of players is still a problem. Our players also lacked effective communication on the field in the Bahrain game. It was probably because we opted to use the fitter players."

He also praised his players for their fighting spirit in the opening match which eventually led to the equaliser in injury time.

South Korea coach Hwang Sun-Hong gave his players little time to celebrate their big win over Kuwait.

With a more testing group match against Thailand looming, Hwang is wary of complacency creeping in.

"We'll pretend this match never happened," Hwang said after the game, according to Yonhap. "We have even more difficult matches coming up later and we have a long and challenging path ahead of us."

South Korea, who are looking to become the first country to win three consecutive men's football titles at the Games, are unlikely to get it quite so easy for the remainder of the tournament with the likes of Japan, Saudi Arabia, Iran and hosts China gunning for gold.

Hwang's side could also face North Korea in the last 16 depending on the final group placings.

Meanwhile, Purachet, the saviour of the Thais on Tuesday, on Wednesday insisted that the team were ready for the game with South Korea.

Purachet said: "I am very happy that I scored the goal that helped the team pick up their first point in the Asian Games.

"We had several chances but we couldn't convert them. Anyway, a draw is better than starting off with a defeat. It will be a very difficult game for us against South Korea but we won't just go in and surrender.

"We will try our best although they are a good team with tall and strong players. I think that if we are able to help each other and reduce our mistakes then anything can happen in football.

"We are ready and looking forward to the game and hopefully produce a good result."

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