AFF Suzuki Cup 2016 final: Injury-hit Thailand not to take Indonesia lightly

Thailand travel to Jakarta to play the AFF Cup final first leg on 14 December.

Teerasil Dangda
Will Teerasil get fit in time for the final first leg? Reuters

Thailand are hit by injury concerns ahead of their AFF Suzuki Cup 2016 final first leg in Bohor against Indonesia on 14 December.

Striker Teerasil Dangda and star defender Tanaboon Kesarat did not take part in a training session, held in Bangkok on Saturday, a day before the team was scheduled to leave for Jakarta for the big clash. Also, defender Prathum Chutong's training was cut short as he walked off the pitch.

To put things into context, Teerasil has been in glorious goal-scoring form since he scored a brace against Australia to open The War Elephants account in the final stages of Asia leg of 2018 Fifa World Cup Qualifier. The Muangthong United forward followed it up with a hat-trick against Indonesia in 4-2 win over the Garudas in their tournament opener.

Teerasil has been splendid on the road in the ongoing tournament as he also scored a brace to help his team sink Myanmar 2-0 in Yangon in the semi-final first leg. Also, Kesarat and Chutong have played an important role at the back as Thailand have kept four consecutive clean sheets in the tournament.

However, Kiatisuk Senamuang, whose side are bidding to become the first team in the competition's history to win six AFF Cup titles, shrugged off the injury concerns saying his team has a good bench strength to replace players if needed.

"Teerasil's injury is just a sprained muscle and should heal in time for the away leg. However, we do need to take another look at the fitness levels of both Tanaboon and Prathum," Senamuang said, as quoted by the Bangkok Post.

"We have a squad of 23 equally talented players and finding replacements should not be a problem for us in case Tanaboon and Prathum are not fit enough for Wednesday's match."

The former War Elephants striker also said his team is wary of Indonesia's ability, especially when they are playing at home with a passionate support. Notably, Thailand are unbeaten in the tournament and have conceded only two goals, when Indonesia struck them in the opener.

"There will be a lot of pressure on our players as they will be playing in front of an expected crowd of 30,000 to 40,000 Indonesia supporters. We cannot underestimate the hosts at all -- they are the only team to have scored goals against us," the 43-year-old coach added.

"We need to win the away match and Indonesia have shown they are a strong team when they beat Vietnam in the semi-finals."