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Preview: Korea U-20s vs Senegal U-20s

After sneaking through their round of 16 clash with rivals Japan, South Korea's latest batch of young prospects head into a quarter final against surprise package Senegal, who have defied more-fancied opposition to comfortably ease their way into the last eight. Conceding just once on their journey so far, Senegal's young Lions are the only side to beat Colombia in the tournament so far and saw off host nation Poland and minnows Tahiti on their way to topping Group A.

Last Time Out

South Korea 1-0 Japan

Billed as a grudge match, Korea didn't enjoy the ease of passage they have been granted in previous rounds and were made to work for their victory by the narrowest of margins. Asan Mugunghwa's Oh Se-hun, whose return to Ulsan Hyundai may now be eagerly awaited by fans at the Munsu, stole victory with his 84th-minute header in front of over 10,000 spectators in Poland's Lublin Arena. After riding their luck in the first half the interval presumably came as a relief to Chung Jung-yong and his fellow coaching staff. Opting for an unchanged side and formation to the one that defeated Argentina so impressively, Chung's side seem to have found a settled side to give them a real chance of doing something special. Consistency is hard to achieve at this age bracket and Korea certainly got their share of luck needed to win any international tournament.

Senegal 2-1 Nigeria

After topping Group A Senegal defeated Nigeria in the round of 16 thanks to two goals inside 10 minutes late in the first half. Amadou Sagna fired off a warning shot early on seeing an instinctive half-volley saved before centre forward Youssouph Badji should really have done better from Alpha Dionkou's cross from the right. Sagna, who netted the fastest goal in U-20 World Cup history in his hat-trick against Tahiti, opened the scoring cutting inside to curl a fine effort inside the far post. Failing to heed the earlier warning of Dionkou's earlier ball into the box, the full back once more laid it on a plate for his strike force with Ibrahima Niane tapping home at the back stick deep into first-half injury time. With keeper Dialy Ndiaye to thank for one fine save in particular Senegal saw out the second half after their opponents struck a deflected free kick early on.

Previous Meetings

The two nations first team's met in a friendly fixture just a week before last year's Russia World Cup. Not ideal preparation for their opener against Sweden, Shin Tae-yong's side fell to a 2-0 defeat to Senegal who remain under the leadership of former Birmingham City midfielder Aliou Cisse. An own goal from Jeonbuk Hyundai's Kim Shin-wook put the Lions in front in Austria before Pape Moussa Konate tucked home a late penalty.

The Adversary

To get a more in depth look at Senegal's prospects, we spoke to Zach Lowy, who has been keeping his eye on the tournament:

Senegal were always a really talented side but I don't think anyone expected them to do this well. For me the person to look out for and their most impressive performer so far is the talented midfielder Dion Lopy. He's complimented well by both Ibrahima Niane and Amadou Sagna who will wreak havoc on the wings as well. With their strength out wide in mind, they are expected to line up in a 4-2-3-1 formation.

Who To Watch - Ibrahima Niane

(image via senego.com)
Making a name for himself at newly-promoted Metz in France, 20-year-old Niane has forced his way into the side after four years at the club. Used primarily as an impact sub, the striker has bagged two goals in the competition so far to add his 10 in the domestic season. Notably bagging the decisive goal to knock Thierry Henry's Monaco out of the club in his last game in charge. Niane could put himself in the shop window for a big move should he continue to play well in Poland.

Prediction

Senegal have shown they possess one of the sturdiest performances to fire themselves into the quarter finals and Korea will need their creative forces of Lee Kang-in and Cho Young-wook to remain on form if they are to break them down. Runners-up in the U-20 African Cup of Nations this year, the side know how to reach the latter reaches of the competition. Should you believe in such advantages, Korea may benefit from having already played in the Miejski Stadium of Bielsko-Biala. Both sides will have studied each other's progression carefully and may cancel each other out as the nerves of a quarter final hit.

South Korea 0 -0 Senegal (Korea to win on Penalties)

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