January 19 – Jurgen Klinsmann and South Korea want to win the Asian Cup for goalkeeper Kim Seung-gyu, whose training-ground injury has ruled him out of the tournament.
The German manager will put his trust in Jo Hyeon-woo for the second group game against Jordan. Earlier this week, Kim suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee during a training session.
“We are very sad about the injury, but it is part of the tournament,” said Klinsmann at a news conference. “We need to move on. We keep him in our thoughts and we are fighting for him.”
Midfielder Lee Jae-Sung added: “I want to share how disappointed we are as a team and how sorry we are for him. We are going to be playing for him and he is going to be with us in our hearts until the end of the tournament.”
Among the top challengers, South Korea seek to win their first continental crown since 1960 and they got off to a flying start with a convincing 3-1 win against Bahrain in their opening match.
On Saturday, victory against Jordan at Al Thumama Stadium will ensure a ticket to the knockout stage. The Jordanians breezed past Malaysia 4-0 in their first Group E match.
Son Heung-min, Kim Min-jae, Park Yong-woo, Lee Ki-je and Cho Gue-sung all collected yellow cards against Bahrain as Klinsmann lamented the standard of refereeing by the Chinese match official. The quintet is a single booking away from serving a one-match ban, which is a scenario South Korea will want to avoid with a potential round-of-sixteen match against Japan looming.
“The players have to handle it – if it happens [second booking], they have to live with the consequences,” said Klinsmann.
“Once you are on the field, you are into the game, and do things instinctively, the best way you can. If you commit a foul, and the referee decides to give a yellow, so be it. You cannot go into the game saying, ‘I will avoid it’. If it happens, it happens.”
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