Thailand braced for Japanese backlash

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Thailand coach Kiatisuk Senamuang is expecting a reinvigorated Japan to come hard at his team when the nations clash in a World Cup qualifier Bangkok on Tuesday.

Japan will have been wounded by their controversial 2-1 defeat against the United Arab Emirates at home in their opening Group B encounter, and Kiatisuk expects a fierce backlash from the visitor’s at Rajamangala National Stadium.

Kiatisuk’s Thailand lost their opener 1-0 to Saudi Arabia, also in somewhat controversial circumstances as the Saudis were awarded a late penalty, and need a win to get their Russia 2018 campaign back on track.

“We can hope for a difficult match because they (Japan) also lost in the first match,” Kiatisuk told 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.

“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 Football Association of Thailand appealed the decision to give midfielder, Sarach Yooyen, a second yellow card for dissent in the wake of the penalty decision in Riyadh.

The appeal has been rejected though, and Kiatisuk has called up former captain Adul Lasoh to replace the suspended Sarach.

“I have decided to call up Adul to replace Sarach, who will be suspended for this match.” Kiatisuk said.

“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,

“We have two days to train, so we will see who fits in the best in our game plan.”

Other than the suspension of Sarach, Kiatisuk’s squad is injury free and the coach has indicated few changes will be made from the team that ran out in the opener.