The road to Qatar continues
The Korea JoongAng Daily's holiday TV guide highlights all the best sports to watch over the long Seollal holiday.
With Premier League stars Son Heung-min and Hwang Hee-chan still out with injuries, the Korean midfield will be bolstered by some K League additions, including the return of Kwon Chang-hoon. Veteran attacker Hwang Ui-jo will likely lead Korea on the offensive in Son’s absence.
Korea enter the game in a strong position, sitting comfortably within the top two in Group A alongside Iran. The top two teams from each group in the Asian qualifiers will advance straight to the 2022 Qatar World Cup, with the third-place team competing in a final playoff for the last spot.
Korea beat Syria 2-1 in the first leg of the qualifier in October last year, with Hwang In-beom and Son scoring the two goals at Ansan Wa Stadium in Ansan, Gyeonggi.
That first leg result was representative of Korea’s slow start to the third round of qualifiers — in the two previous games, Korea drew 0-0 with world Iraq and beat Lebanon 1-0 — but the team seems to have settled down since then, beating Iraq 3-0 on the second leg.
Korea started the latest batch of qualifiers with a game against Lebanon on Thursday which, as of press time, was yet to finish.
Korea will take on Syria at Al-Rashid Stadium at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, or at 11 p.m. in Korea.
Technically speaking, the Syria match will be the only men’s football to watch over the Seollal break. Football fans who have chosen to take an extended holiday, however, will be able to squeeze in a few more games, as European football will resume the following weekend.
BY JIM BULLEY [firstname.lastname@example.org]