After loss to North, U-23 team in must-win game

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After loss to North, U-23 team in must-win game

The U-23 national football team will not have star forward Park Chu-young, but the squad is confident going into its match against Jordan tonight with the return of two defenders.

Coming off a 1-0 loss to North Korea on Monday in its first match of the 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games, the U-23 national team faces a must-win game at 5 p.m. (Korean time) if it wants to increase its chances of advancing to the Round of 16. Although AS Monaco’s Park joined his teammates on Monday evening, he will sit this one out because he is coming off a lengthy flight from Paris to Guangzhou, China.

The U-23 national team failed to take advantage of offensive opportunities against North Korea on Monday night and could use Park in the lineup. However, manager Hong Myung-bo is reluctant to rush his star forward.

“I will use him against Palestine [on Saturday] at the earliest or in the Round of 16 game,” stated Hong.

With a loss in its opening game, Korea is now looking to win its games against Jordan and Palestine to secure a spot in the knockout stage of the tourney.

Helping Korea’s chances is the return from injury of central defender Hong Jeong-ho of Jeju United and right fullback Shin Kwang-hoon of the Pohang Steelers. The two defenders will add stability in the backfield against a Jordanian squad featuring Shishani Mohammed and Zatara Mahmoud up front.

“Hong could’ve played on Monday, but there was the risk of him reinjuring his knee, at which point he would miss the entire tournament,” said Hong Myung-bo.

Korea holds a record of two wins and two draws against Jordan in international competitions.


By Jason Kim [jason@joongang.co.kr]

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