BANGKOK – A wounded animal can be a dangerous beast and Thailand coach Kiatisuk Senamuang is expecting a fierce backlash from Japan when the two teams meet in Bangkok on Tuesday in a final-round Asian qualifier for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
Japan is still smarting from a controversial 2-1 defeat in its Group B opener at home to the United Arab Emirates, and Kiatisuk is braced for Vahid Halilhodzic’s men to launch an all-out offensive at Rajamangala National Stadium.
“We can hope for a difficult match because they (Japan) also lost in the first match,” Kiatisuk, whose side lost its opener 1-0 away to Saudi Arabia, was quoted as saying in Sunday’s online edition of the Bangkok Post.
“They will surely opt for an attacking strategy from the beginning of the match against us. We need to go back to the drawing board and chart a new course of action.”
He added, “We can take heart from the fact that our defenders played very well in the match against Saudi Arabia and we may use the same set of players at the back.”
The Japan Football Association lodged an official protest with the match commissioner following Thursday’s defeat, after substitute Takuma Asano had a legitimate goal ruled out. The Thais also cried foul after perceived injustices in their loss in Riyadh.
The Football Association of Thailand lodged an appeal against Chinese referee Fu Ming’s decision to give Sarach Yooyen, who had conceded a late penalty against the Saudis, a second yellow card for dissent at the end of the Riyadh match.
But the appeal was unsuccessful and the midfielder is suspended for Tuesday’s game. Kiatisuk has picked Chonburi midfielder Adul Lasoh as a possible replacement, according to the Bangkok Post.
Kiatisuk said: “I have decided to call up Adul to replace Sarach, who will be suspended for this match.”
“Adul is a defensive midfielder by nature. Besides Adul, we also have Pokklaw (A-Nan), who can also play as a defensive midfielder. Charyl Chappuis may get a chance to play as an attacking midfielder,” Kiatisuk was quoted as saying after arriving in Bangkok on Saturday.
“We have two days to train, so we will see who fits in the best in our game plan.”
Kiatisuk added that all other players are fit and that he is not planning any major changes to the squad that lost to the Saudis.