Mika Chunuonsee admitted that Thailand were happy to come away with a draw at Bukit Jalil and will be out to finish the job in the second leg of their AFF Suzuki Cup 2018 semifinal at the Rajamangala Stadium.
The two nations played out a goalless draw on Saturday, with Harimau Malaya dominating the match as they went at the visitors with ultra-attacking tactics.
“The game plan was to defend and play on the counter-attack because we knew they were going to come out all guns blazing and attack us all the way. We stuck to our plan to keep it compact but unlucky for us, our counter wasn’t on point in the first leg,” Mika told FOX Sports Asia.
“Having said that, we came here (Bukit Jalil Stadium) not to lose and a draw must be seen as a good result for us, especially since we didn’t concede. We’ll prepare like we usually do and at Rajamangala, the defence will play our game and let our attackers like Nurul (Sriyankem) and Adisak (Kraisorn) do the job upfront.”
The War Elephants are favourites to go through to the final despite failing to score in a match for the first time in the tournament.
While the Bangkok United star is confident of Changsuek’s chances in the second leg, he hopes the crowd can play the 12th-man role as the team look to stop Malaysia in their tracks, especially Pahang FA winger Mohamadou Sumareh.
The Gambian-born naturalised Malaysian was a thorn in the flesh for the Thais but Mika reckons his teammates have seen enough of their opponent to keep him quiet on Wednesday.
“Their most impressive player was no. 13 (Sumareh). He was very direct in his running and he did create some problems for us but we’ll be prepared for that back at our own turf. Besides him, the rest of the Malaysian attackers push up really fast and they shoot on sight,” Mika added.
— Mika chunuonsee (@Chunuonsee16) December 3, 2018
“You have to give it to the Malaysian fans. They made Bukit Jalil a great experience and to be honest, we didn’t notice it during the match itself because we were focused on our game.
“You could see during the warm-up and after the game how passionate their fans are and that is the reason Malaysia do so well at home. But now, it is our turn to use our fans to our advantage and put the pressure on them in Bangkok.”
Winners of this tie will go on to face either the Philippines or Vietnam in the final. Tan Cheng Hoe is hoping to lead the Malaysians to their second title since 2010 while Thailand, on the other hand, are gunning for a sixth Suzuki Cup title, and a third successive championship win in the process.