Kuala Lumpur: Korea Republic will be aiming for their second win when they play Sri Lanka in Group H of the Asian Qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup China 2023 on Thursday.
Lebanon and Turkmenistan, meanwhile, will be targeting wins after having suffered defeats to DPR Korea and Korea Republic respectively.
Turkmenistan had opened their campaign with a 2-0 win over Sri Lanka but found Korea Republic too strong as they fell to two goals at home. Lebanon lost 2-0 to DPR Korea in their only match so far.
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The journey so far
KOREA REPUBLIC vs SRI LANKA
Korea Republic will be firm favourites against a Sri Lanka side who lost both their September matches but head coach Paulo Bento has warned his side against taking their opponents lightly.
With Sri Lanka reeling after suffering a 6-0 defeat to Malaysia in an international friendly last Saturday, Bento is expecting the South Asians to play a tight defensive game.
“The important thing is for us to stay within the framework of our philosophy.
“When the opponents tighten things up defensively, we have to keep things simple and efficient. We have to be accurate with our passes and shots, and finish our chances in front of the net.”
A win for Sri Lanka will send shock waves across the Continent but Korea Republic are unlikely to allow themselves to fall victims to an upset as up next will be a trip to Pyongyang for a tie against current group leaders DPR Korea.
KOREA REPUBLIC v SRI LANKA Venue: Hwaseong Sports Complex, Hwaseong Kick-off: 20:00 (UTC +9)
LEBANON vs TURKMENISTAN
Lebanon couldn't have asked for a tougher opening match than away to DPR Korea but with that tie done and dusted, the West Asians will be aiming to kickstart their campaign with three points against Turkmenistan.
A tough start is something Lebanon are accustomed to, having undergone a similar experience in qualifying for the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019, and Liviu Ciobotariu’s side will believe they have the confidence to find their way through an extremely challenging group.
Playing at the Sports City Stadium in Beirut will further boost Lebanon's confidence in their first ever meeting with Turkmenistan.
Turkmenistan fans, however, can expect the return of Altymyrat Annadurdyyev with the player having missed last month's match due to injury.
“Altymyrat is the highest quality player in our team,” head coach Ante Mise had said after the match against Korea Republic as he stressed how important Annadurdyyev is to his squad.
“He plays well in attack, can score, pass, runs fast and is very strong.”
LEBANON v TURKMENISTAN
Venue: Sports City Stadium, Beirut
Kick-off: 19:00 (UTC+ 3)
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