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Preview - Group E: Lebanon v DPR Korea

Wednesday, January 16, 2019
Lebanon v DPR Korea - AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019

Sharjah: DPR Korea and Lebanon go into their final AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 tie at the Sharjah Stadium on Thursday still hopeful of sealing a place in the knockout stage.

Although both teams have yet to register a point after two rounds of matches, a win could see them qualifying as one of the best four third-placed teams.

DPR Korea have not made it past the group stage since finishing fourth in the 1980 edition while Lebanon’s previous appearance in the Continental showcase in 2000 as hosts ended in the group stage.

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DPR Korea head coach Kim Yong-jun believes his charges will seize the opportunity.

“This is the final chance for us to advance into the next round. We lost both of our previous games and this will be an important match for us and for Lebanon as well,” said Kim.

“We have seen how they (Lebanon) played against Qatar and Saudi Arabia and they are physically strong players and are good in defence, but we will do our best to overcome them.”

DPR Korea lost their opening game 4-0 to Saudi Arabia and fell 6-0 to Qatar on Matchday Two but Kim is adamant his team still has a fighting chance to make it to the knockout stage.

“This is the first time we are playing with a 24-team format. It’s good for the sport, especially in the AFC Asian Cup, as it gives the opportunity for other teams to qualify and this promotes football development in their countries as well.

“My players are ready to get the result. They are in high spirits and we are prepared to go all out to win the match. There is no turning back history, we must now focus on Lebanon and get the three points.”

Lebanon head coach Miodrag Radulovic is also confident of collecting the three points.

“We are in a tough group. Honestly, it was hard taking points away from Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Our focus is now against DPR Korea,” said Radulovic.

“Tomorrow will represent a big chance for Lebanese football to create history. I believe in my players and they will be focused to win the game, qualify for the next round and make the fans proud.”

The Montenegrin believes his team possesses psychological advantage over their opponents, as they faced them in the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 Qualifiers.

“We are familiar with DPR Korea’s style, we were in the same group during the AFC Asian Cup qualifiers and we came out on top then, but I’m sure they have changed many of their players since then and we will be prepared.

“It’s a totally different game and you can’t compare our next match with the ones we had earlier (Qatar and Saudi Arabia). My players need to be ready to win the game and the pressure will be on me. I have prepared them and they will score goals.”

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