Friday, 21 December 2012

Will it be deja vu for Schafer?

Thailand coach Winfried Schafer, whose side were beaten 3-1 by Singapore in the AFF Suzuki Cup final first leg on Wednesday, has faced a two-goal deficit going into a return leg before and come out smiling. 

When Schafer coached Karlsruhe in 1993, the German side lost 3-1 away to Spanish giants Valencia in the UEFA Cup round of 32.

Back on home soil, the tie took on a completely different perspective with striker Edgar Schmitt scoring four goals as Karlsruhe won 7-0 to progress 8-3 on aggregate.

The canny Schafer, whose coaching credentials also include steering Cameroon to victory in the 2002 Africa Cup of Nations, will be hoping that goal machine Teerasil Dangda can do a Schmitt and add to his tournament high tally of five against Singapore at the sold-out Supachalasai Stadium on Saturday.

“It is important now that the players are focussed,” Schafer said after the loss to Singapore. “We still have a second match in Bangkok and maybe we can change the match. The players can get back up and I have confidence that we can change things in the second leg.”

There is a major injury doubt about left-sided midfielder Anucha Kitpongsri, who came off in the 54th minute on Wednesday with a groin injury.

Team doctor Pornthep Mamanee told the Bangkok Post that Anucha was unlikely to be fit for Saturday’s return leg.

However captain Punupong Wongsa, who was stretched off in the first half after stretching for a through ball, and defensive midfielder Adul Lahso, Thailand’s goalscorer in the first leg who was bloodied by an accidental elbow to the face, should make the line-up.

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