Kiatisuk sets sights on ending Thailand’s Suzuki Cup drought

Thailand coach Kiatisuk Senamuang is determined to lead his side to the 2014 AFF Suzuki Cup title after they booked their place in the final on Wednesday evening.

Having played out a 0-0 draw in last Saturday’s first leg in Manila, the Thais were in ruthless mood at the Rajamangala Stadium as they took the lead through Chanathip Songkrasin’s sixth-minute opener, before a second-half brace from Kroekrit Thaweekarn sealed a commanding win.

The War Elephants, who will meet either Vietnam or Malaysia in the final, are now just 180 minutes from being crowned Southeast Asian champions for the first time since 2002, and Kiatisuk has stressed his charges now the significance of getting the job done.

“The equation was simple for us today [Wednesday] after we only managed a draw in Philippines,” he said.

“Our target was to come back to Thailand and get the win and we were able to do that, and I want to thank all the fans for coming down to the stadium to support us.

“There are now only two games left against either Vietnam or Malaysia; we remain confident, we will do our best and hopefully we can bring the cup back to Thailand.

“Both Vietnam and Malaysia are very strong and we must respect them, so it doesn’t really matter who we meet in the final.

“The only thing that’s important is to win the final and get the cup.”

Kiatisuk certainly deserved praise for his tactical masterstroke in naming playmaker Chanathip as the focal point in attack after injury and suspension deprived him the services of Kirati Keawsombat and Adisak Kraisorn respectively, even though he had strikers Sompong Soleb and Chainarong Tathong waiting in the wings.

Although he did not confirm that Adisak would be reinstated to his starting XI for the final, he did back the 23-year-old to make amends for the red card he received in the first leg at the weekend.

“We wanted to show our support for Adisak today in the best way possible – by going onto the field and getting the win,” the legendary striker added.

“Adisak has now understood the mistake he made in the previous game and he’s raring to come back and prove his worth to the fans once more.

“He’s not lacking in any confidence, he’s still training with us fully and he’s waiting for the final.”


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