The Asian Cup kicks into gear as South Korea faces Bahrain at the Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium, marking the beginning of their respective journeys in Group E.
With Malaysia and Jordan also in the mix, the battle for knockout phase entry promises an exciting competition.
South Korea, led by Jurgen Klinsmann, comes into the Asian Cup with confidence, securing a narrow 1-0 victory over Iraq in their final preparatory match.
Jae-Sung Lee’s goal secured the win, making it six consecutive victories for the Tigers of Asia since September. With a strong record in recent Asian Cup campaigns, South Korea aims to set the tone early for continental supremacy.
Bahrain, on the other hand, suffered a 3-0 defeat against Angola, extending their losing streak to three matches.
Hopes of advancing in the tournament hinge on rediscovering their attacking prowess, having failed to score in their recent outings. The Pearl Divers face a daunting task against South Korea, aiming to turn the tide and avoid an early exit.
South Korea (Last 6 Matches): W W W W W W
Bahrain (Last 6 Matches): W W W L L L
South Korea’s star players Son Heung-Min and Kim Min-Jae, who were substitutes in the last match, are expected to start. Despite a sending-off, midfielder Kang-in Lee is eligible to play.
Bahrain’s goalkeeper Ibrahim Lutfalla is likely to retain his spot, and Abdulla Yusuf Helal nears his 97th international cap.
South Korea: (4-4-2)
Park, Seol, Kim, Jung;
Jeong, Lee, Hong, Hwang;
Al Hayam, Benaddi, Bughammar, Adel;
Madan, Al-Aswad, Al-Shaikh;
Helal, Al-Humaidan, Al-Hashsash
Prediction: South Korea 3-0 Bahrain
South Korea is the clear favorite with a vast difference in class, and we predict victory. The Tigers are expected to dominate the match, securing three points in what is likely to be a one-sided affair.