Riedl wants Indonesia to ‘make history’
Indonesia coach Alfred Riedl said his side will try their best to "make history" this week by winning the AFF Suzuki Cup for the first time.
The Garudas square up against defending champions Thailand in the first leg of the final in Bogor, Indonesia tonight with rousing home support expected at Stadion Pakansari.
"We are playing the No. 1 team in South-east Asia, so we know it is going to be very difficult, but we want to make history and win this for the first time," said Riedl.
This is the fifth time Indonesia have made it to the final and success this week will bury the ghosts of losing in 2000, 2002, 2004 and 2010.
"We have the great advantage of playing in front of our wonderful fans tomorrow and this will give us a huge lift," he said.
Indonesia have surprised everyone by qualifying for the final as they entered the tournament having not played a competitive match since the last AFF Suzuki Cup in 2014.
ONLY ONE DEFEAT
"We had to make many tactical changes and that has been the key that allowed us to play so well," said Riedl.
"But, ultimately, the key has been playing as a team and our spirit has been incredible."
In Hanoi last week, Indonesia secured a memorable extra-time 4-3 win on aggregate after a 2-2 draw against Vietnam in the second leg of their semi-final at the My Dinh National Stadium.
The Garudas have lost only one game in the Suzuki Cup - a 4-2 loss to tonight's opponents in the opening Group A match.
"We absolutely came to win the tournament and show what we are capable of," said the Austrian, who is now in his third spell as Indonesia coach having previously coached them in 2010 and 2013.
Meanwhile, Thailand coach Kiatisuk "Zico" Senamuang has warned his team not to underestimate the Indonesians.
"We have great respect for the Indonesian side who will be very hard to beat here in Bogor," said Kiatisuk, who led Thailand to victory two years ago in the AFF Suzuki Cup.
A good result in the first leg will put the Thais in a strong position heading into the second leg to be played at the Rajamangala Stadium in Bangkok on Saturday.
The War Elephants are bidding to win the AFF Suzuki Cup for a record fifth time and are unbeaten in this year's edition with five wins.
"We know how dangerous Indonesia can be, we have seen what they can do. They did so well to beat Vietnam in the semi-final," added Kiatisuk. - WIRE SERVICES