AFF Suzuki Cup Final: Second leg preview

Indonesia will be aiming to secure their first-ever AFF Suzuki Cup title when they face Thailand in the second leg of the final on Saturday.

Indonesia stunned the reigning champions in the first leg in Bogor on Wednesday when they came from a goal down to win 2-1.

With a slim lead in hand heading into the match in Bangkok, Indonesia coach Alfred Riedl is not taking his side’s advantage for granted as he knows how strong the War Elephants are on home soil.

“Tomorrow will be another difficult match for us despite our 2-1 lead at the moment because we know that Thailand is without doubt the best team in Southeast Asia,” he said. “Our target is to have a great game over 90 minutes and to challenge the Thai team as good as we can because they are favourites.”

Indonesia have struggled to come on top when playing in Thailand, but Riedl made it clear that the Garudas will have to pull their socks up and get the job done in hostile territory.

“It is time to change history,” he said. “Why else are we here? To win the Cup of course.

“We know it will be difficult but we are not here in Bangkok just for a holiday. There are better places to spend your holiday than a big city in Thailand.”

Even though Indonesia face an uphill battle on Saturday, Riedl took the opportunity to lavish praise on his side for the way they have played throughout the tournament.

Indonesia lost to Thailand 4-2 in their opening game, but triumphed over Singapore 2-1 in their final group stage game to reach the semi-finals. In the last four, Indonesia took on Vietnam and scraped through via a 4-3 win on aggregate.

With their first-ever AFF Suzuki Cup triumph just one game away, Riedl wants to see the Garudas give it their all in Bangkok.

“Of course I’m happy with the results so far and the way we are playing,” he said. “We are now in the final and maybe only one out of a hundred people thought we could have made it at the start.

“From the first match of the two legged final, I think the pressure was on Thailand because we were the underdogs who had gone further than we had hoped in the beginning.

“Now we’ve won there’s certainly [more expectations than before] but we do not have more pressure.”

As for Thailand, they will have to be at their very best if they are to retain their title and win the tournament for a record-breaking fifth time.

Coach Kiatisuk Senamuang called on his side to forget about the first leg result and urged them to just focus on winning on Saturday.

“Indonesia gave Thailand plenty of difficulties in the first match but tomorrow all the squad is ready and prepared for the game,” he said. “Our target is to be champions and everyone is ready for it.

“We have to forget about the past and tomorrow the target is to win our fifth title.”