South Korea are without their top defender Nam Hyun-woo (right) in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh but coach Shin Seok-kyo is confident they can beat Malaysia on Sunday for their second win in the tournament. - Filepic
IPOH: Two-time champions South Korea have warned Malaysia that they are eyeing a place in the final of the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup and will take every match seriously.
Last year, South Korea surprisingly went down 2-3 to Malaysia in their opening match. And the Koreans are bitter about it.
“We were leading 2-1 before Malaysia scored two goals in last few minutes to win. But this time we will go all out from the first whistle as we want to avenge our defeat,” said coach Shin Seok-kyo.
“We are here without two key players – defender Nam (Hyun-woo) and striker Yu (Yoo-sik), but nothing is going to stop us from winning the match to stay in the hunt for a place in the final.
“Malaysia have made a few changes in their team by fielding some new players. They are always tough to beat in their own backyard. They have some players with good individual skills and we need to mark them closely.
“We are here with almost the same team that won the Asia Cup in Ipoh last year and we will take every match seriously,” added Seok-kyo.
The Koreans, ranked seventh in the world, started well to beat Canada 3-0 in their opening match on Friday.
Former Malaysian coach Paul Lissek is the consultant of the Korean team and the German is in Ipoh as the stand-in manager for the team.
Despite not having any outdoor training due to the winter back home, the Koreans are still confident of living up to their billing as the number two ranked team in the tournament.
“Australia are the strongest team in tournament. We are preparing for the World Cup (in The Hague in May) and we need to boost the players’ confidence by reaching the final in Ipoh.
“We have won the tournament twice in 1999 and 2010 and looking forward to a third title,” said Seok-kyo.
Seok-kyo is also keeping his fingers crossed that his key striker You Hyo-sik, who did not play against Canada due to a back injury, will recover in time for the match against Malaysia. The 32-year-old Hyo-sik is the most experienced player in the Korean team with 243 international caps.