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Bento wants more from Korea Republic

Saturday, January 12, 2019
Paulo Bento-Korea Rep

Al Ain: Paulo Bento was left frustrated by his team’s performance even as Korea Republic notched up a 1-0 win over Kyrgyz Republic that took the two-time champions into the knockout stage of the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019.

Kim Min-jae scored the only goal of a game Bento’s team dominated to ensure the Koreans join China in advancing to the Round of 16 from Group C. The two nations face off on Wednesday with top spot in the group on the line.

“We didn’t make a very good performance but I think that we won the game fairly,” said the Portuguese coach, who has now won five and drawn three of his first eight games in charge of the Taeguk Warriors.

“Even though we didn’t have a good performance we created a lot of opportunities to score and I think that we could have finished the game earlier. But with 1-0 the opponents have the hope to score and until the end we suffered a little bit because we didn’t score the second goal.”

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The Koreans peppered the Kyrgyz goal throughout the second half, with Hwang Ui-jo hitting the crossbar twice and Hang Hee-chan also clipping the woodwork when he should have scored.

The win comes just four days after a 1-0 win over the Philippines and Bento admitted to feeling nervous on the bench in both games as his team failed to kill off the opposition.

“I think that in both games we built a lot of chances to score, maybe in this game the chances were a little bit more clear than in the previous game,” he said.


Group C Matchday Two: Kyrgyz Republic vs Korea Republic

“However in both games we had chances to win the game without suffering until the last minute, until the end of the games.

“Of course when we create so many opportunities and we don’t score it’s natural that we get a little bit concerned, but what we must do is keep working in order to create the same chances or more and at the same time be more effective when we need to finalise the actions.”


Bento’s squad will be bolstered by the arrival of Tottenham Hotspur winger Son Heung-min early next week, although the former Portugal coach does not plan to make huge changes to accommodate the Premier League star.

“We are not going to change our way of playing when we have Son Heung-min with us,” he said. “What I think we are going to do is improve our collective game, try to attack better than we have played until now. Of course a player with the quality that Son has, and in the moment that he is in at this moment, can help the team.

“But we need to wait until the game against China or the knockout phase.”

Kyrgyz Republic coach Alexander Krestinin saw his side lose by a single goal for the second game in a row after kicking off their first-ever AFC Asian Cup campaign with a 2-1 defeat to China in the opening round of matches.

The Russian coach, though, was confident his side could still pick up a win against the Philippines in the final round of matches and potentially advance to the last 16.

“My team have played very well and the players on the pitch did everything possible and it’s unfortunate that we couldn’t get any points,” he said. “But we are working with optimism going to the next game and, with three points, we can still get to the next round.

“I’m not happy with the result. We have no points after these two games but the spirit of the team is good and we’ve done well in our first appearance in this tournament. We will analyse every game and we prepare for every game separately.”

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