Korea Fails to Impress in Final Warm-up for AFC Asian Cup

  • By Lee Tae-dong

    January 02, 2019 10:23

    Korea drew 0-0 in a friendly against Saudi Arabia in the UAE on Monday. It was the team's final tune-up ahead of the 2019 AFC Asian Cup, which starts on Saturday.

    Despite salvaging a draw, Korea, who have been training in the UAE since Dec. 23 last year, put on a performance that warranted some concerns.

    Ki Sung-yueng reacts after missing a penalty kick during a friendly against Saudi Arabia on Monday. /Yonhap

    The team's attack was listless, with striker Hwang Ui-jo of Osaka Gamba, who had been on a scoring spree with the national team and his own J-League team, making several errors. Hwang started the game as the team's lone striker but blew a golden chance in the 31st minute when he failed to convert a cross right in front of goal. He later failed to remain onside while receiving a good pass.

    "I'll make up for my mistakes by scoring many goals after the tournament starts," Hwang said.

    Penalty kicks also remain a concern for the team. Ki Sung-yueng's failed shot was Korea's third miss since Paulo Bento took over as coach. Son Heung-min missed two in friendlies against Costa Rica last September and Uruguay the following month.

    Bento's strategies to compensate for the absence of Son and several defenders had little effect. "I used several strategies for the sake of diversifying tactics," he said. "But I tried to stick to our offensive style of play even with Son out, and that was a positive point."

    Son is due to join the team for the third game in the Cup's group stage. 

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