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Korea host familiar foes Lebanon


Still awaiting their first taste of victory in World Cup 2022 Third Round Qualifying, South Korea face a Lebanon side they should know inside out after recent meetings. Paulo Bento's side drew 0-0 with Iraq last Thursday, putting some pressure on the Portuguese boss' side to collect maximum points at Suwon World Cup Stadium. 
(Photo courtesy of AFC)

Match: South Korea vs Lebanon
Venue: Suwon World Cup Stadium
Kickoff: Tuesday September 7th, 2021; 20:00 KST

 

Goal Drought on Match Day One

The six teams in Group A could only muster one goal between them last week as the third round of qualifying got under way. Alireza Jahanbakhsh of Feyenoord scored it for Iran to hand Dragan Skočić's side an early advantage at the top of the group. 

Coming up against former boss Dick Advocaat, Korea dominated possession against Iraq but failed to show any quality or composure in the box to make a breakthrough. The Taeguk Warriors best chance undoubtedly fell to Lee Jae-sung. Playing in behind Hwang Ui-jo, the Mainz 05 midfielder was placed perfectly for the rebound from Hwang's header but blazed over from just three yards out.  

                    READ: [Korea Stutter Out of the Gate Against Iraq]

With away fans in attendance, Lebanon faced a much more raucous atmosphere in Dubai than the one that greeted the Korean players in the cavernous and empty Seoul World Cup stadium on Thursday. Veteran midfielder Hassan Maatouk of Al Ansar almost gave them a dream start but was denied low down by Al Jazira stalwart Ali Khaseif in the UAE goal. Ali Mabkhout gave the Lebanon defence a scare on 32 minutes striking the foot of the post after rounding Mostafa Matar in the box. Matar and his defence stood strong though as Lebanon earned a creditable draw on the road. 

 

Team News

Off the bench at half time to replace Son Jun-ho in an attacking change from Paulo Bento, Korea's number eight Nam Tae-hee will be unavailable due to a hamstring injury. Nam was joined by Lee Yong, Hwang Hee-chan and Kwon Chang-hoon as early substitutes last time out. Considering rising star Hwang's late arrival to join with team training after signing with Wolverhampton Wanderers, it was no surprise that he started on the bench last time out but you would expect that to change against Lebanon.

With this match originally scheduled to have been played in Lebanon with both FA's agreeing to switch the fixtures and avoid a January fixture in the midst of Korean winter, Lebanon start the group with three consecutive away games. After scoring against Korea on his last visit, former Ansan Greeners striker Soony Sadd played the majority of the game on the left wing last time out against UAE. Having bagged two goals against Sri Lanka in June, German-born defender Joan Oumari was at the heart of defence and won't have far to travel post-match to club side FC Tokyo. 

 

Lessons from Lebanon's Last Visit

Lebanon matched Korea's 4-4-2 formation in June's meeting in Round Two of qualification, with Mohamad Haidar partnering Hilal El Helwe up top. The latter started on the bench against UAE, coming off the bench in stoppage time. The visitors mustered just one shot on target on their last trip to the Korean peninsula, having just one corner and no accurate crosses to speak of. However, just as in the reverse fixture, managed to frustrate Son Heung-min and co. with the Tottenham Hotspur forward forced to switch from an initial wide position to a more central role. With Korea's excessive talent out wide with the likes of Lee Dong-jun and Song Min-kyu, perhaps Bento would be best served to start Son centrally from the off this time out.

 
FNR

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