Thai coach braces for tough Azkals stand in first leg of Suzuki Cup semifinal in Manila
Thailand coach Kiatisuk Senamuang notes that the Azkals have good technique, but the Thais know how to play them. Karlo Sacamos

SINGAPORE — Thailand coach Kiatisuk Senamuang is bracing for a tough Philippine stand in the Azkals’ turf at the Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila when the teams collide in the semifinals of the Asean Football Federation Suzuki Cup on December 6.

Thailand blanked Myanmar, 2-0, on Saturday at the Jalan Besar Stadium to clinch the top spot in Group B and set up a knockout stage date with the Filipino footballers, who wound up second in Group A after losing to eventual top seed Vietnam, 3-1, on Friday.

Senamuang admitted it won’t be a walk in the park for his wards in the first leg of the series. The second leg is in Bangkok on December 10.

“When we go to Manila, it’s not going to be easy for us,” the Thai mentor said.

The two teams last met in November 8 when Thais outclassed the Filipinos, 3-0, in a friendly in Nakhon Ratchasima, their 14th straight victory and 15th overall in 17 outings against their Southeast Asian neighbors.

But Senamuang remains wary of the Azkals.

“We know the Philippines. They have very good skill and technique. But we know how to play against them,” he said.

The Thais showed their quality against Myanmar in a match where they only needed a draw to seal top spot.

“We wanted to do our best and keep a clean sheet,” Senamuang said. “Now, we look forward to the semifinals.”

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