January 25, 2019 11:47
Korea is set to face Qatar in the quarterfinals of the Asian Football Confederation Asian Cup in Abu Dhabi on Friday.
With Ki Sung-yueng of Newcastle United making an early exit from the tournament due to a hamstring injury and Lee Jae-sung of Holstein Kiel and Koo Ja-cheol of FC Augsburg not fully fit, coach Paulo Bento now has to rely on his players' versatility.
Star striker Son Heung-min of Tottenham Hotspur is one of Korea's key players who can perform many roles on the pitch. Lee Chung-yong of VfL Bochum and a couple of K-league players like Hwang In-bum and Ju Se-jong are midfielders who are able to play both in attacking and defensive positions.
Korea survived an overtime scare against Bahrain in the round of 16 early this week but its disappointing play raised doubts over its goal of achieving its first Asian Cup title in 59 years.
Qatar, meanwhile, has emerged as a dark horse in the tournament, winning all three of its group-stage matches and scoring 10 goals while giving up none. Qatar, which will host the 2022 World Cup, has built a team consisting of a core of younger players.
Korea has to watch out for the Qataris' delaying tactics, so the best strategy would be to knock them off by scoring early.
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