Kuala Lumpur: Tan Cheng Hoe is setting his sights on a clean sheet as Malaysia get set to take on Thailand in the first leg of the AFF Suzuki Cup semi-final at Bukit Jalil Stadium on Saturday.

Malaysia advanced to the knockout rounds for the first time since 2014 after defeating Myanmar 3-0 at the same venue a week ago, but are likely to face sterner opposition in the form of defending champions Thailand.

The sides’ last meeting in the competition was in the 2014 final when Thailand won 2-0 in Bangkok but fell three behind in the second leg at Bukit Jalil, only to score two late goals to claim the title 4-3 on aggregate.

“We have to go onto the field with good momentum; everyone knows Thailand have quality, experienced players, so my players need to be composed and remain patient,” said Tan.

“Thailand have a balanced team; their number 29, Sanramat Dechmitr, has the killer pass and is mobile so it’s not easy to contain him but hopefully my players can close him down in the midfield.

“It’s important we don’t concede a goal because a positive result is motivation for us to go to Bangkok. As long as we don’t concede, I’ll be very happy.”

Thailand go into the match with their unbeaten record still intact having won three and drawn one of their Group B games to progress on top of the standings.

The War Elephants boast a record five titles to their name and are going for an unprecedented third in a row after being crowned champions in 2014 and 2016 under former coach Kiatisuk Senamuang.

Despite a number of their key players missing from the 2018 campaign, the holders have been in excellent form, although the only time they failed to claim all three points was on their last away trip when they drew 1-1 with the Philippines.

“We try to play the same way at home as we do away so I don’t think it (away form) will be a problem,” said coach Milovan Rajevac.

“I’m sure my team is capable of delivering a quality performance and have the ability to get a positive result. Tomorrow is only the first half and the second half will be in Bangkok, but it’s important to score a goal and not to leave with a negative result.

"Malaysia played well against Myanmar. I think their support was their 12th player and they won 3-0 to deservedly qualify for the semi-finals. They have many talented players and Malaysian football is developing.”