South Korea told to take nothing for granted against surprise package Qatar in Asian Cup clash

South Korea are expecting a tricky tie against Qatar. (AFP)
Updated 24 January 2019

South Korea told to take nothing for granted against surprise package Qatar in Asian Cup clash

  • South Korea coach Bento knows his side have to go up a gear if they are to reach the semifinals.
  • Star man Son yet to score in the UAE, but Bento says he is not worried.

LONDON: Paulo Bento has warned his South Korea team to expect a tough test against Qatar in their quarterfinal clash in Abu Dhabi today.
Bento’s boys went into the tournament as the favorite to lift the trophy in just over a week’s time. But some underwhelming performances in the UAE so far, culminating in the injury-time victory over Bahrain in the second round, has left South Korea’s fans and coach looking for the side to hit top gear, and soon.
They face Qatar who have won all their matches and look like the team to beat, leaving Bento to tell his stars that they have to be at their best to make the last-four.
“It will be a very difficult game. They are very good offensively and defensively. This is a team that has worked together for a long time with a coach (Felix Sanchez) who knows the players very well,” the South Korea coach said.
Bento said Korea Republic need to assert their style if they want to contain Qatar.
“We must play as we like to play. We must control the ball, dominate in the offensive part of our midfield. There must be good reaction when we lose the ball and we must also control the space behind our defensive line.”
If South Korea are to avoid defeat then they may well need Son Heung-min to show why he is one of the best players in the world. Since turning up in the UAE the Tottenham star has failed to show he is one of the best players in his own team. Goalless and looking tired, Son has not shone in the Asian Cup so far, but that is not something that bothers his boss.
“I am not concerned that Son hasn’t scored, it isn’t mandatory that he scores for the national team,” said Bento.
“For us, what is most important is that we score in every game in this competition. I think we should have scored more goals as we created a lot of situations in almost all the games we played.
“It is not important who scores, what is most important is that we create opportunities and score.”


Real Madrid and Barcelona part of La Liga quartet to play in Saudi Arabia in 2020

Updated 11 November 2019

Real Madrid and Barcelona part of La Liga quartet to play in Saudi Arabia in 2020

  • The Kingdom has previously hosted the Italian Super Cup final
  • Tournament was part of the Kingdom’s ongoing efforts to host major global sporting events

RIYADH: La Liga giants Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid and Valencia will play in a new four-way Spanish Super Cup to be held in Saudi Arabia next year.

A tweet on Monday from Prince Abdul Aziz bin Turki Al-Faisal, chairman of the Saudi General Sports Authority, confirmed the participation of the teams in a “Super Spanish” tournament, slated to take place between Jan. 8-12. The Spanish Football Federation gave Saudi Arabia a three-year deal on Monday.

The prince said the tournament was part of Saudi Arabia’s ongoing efforts to host major global sporting events.

The Spanish Super Cup was previously a one-off match between the Liga and Copa del Rey champions at the start of the season. But the federation has changed it to semifinals and final featuring four teams — the top teams in each competition — in the middle of the season.

Real Madrid will face Copa del Rey holder Valencia in the first semifinal on Jan. 8 at King Abdullah Sports City stadium outside Jeddah, then Liga champion Barcelona plays Atletico Madrid in the second semi the next day at the same venue.

The final will be on Jan. 12. Barcelona won last year's Super Cup in Morocco.

The Kingdom previously hosted the Italian Super Cup final in 2018 and will do so again in December this year. 

Saudi Arabia also hosted the "Super Clasico" clash between Brazil and Argentina in 2018, with Miranda scoring a late winning goal at the King Abdullah Sports City stadium in Jeddah.