India hope for gutsy show against South Korea in Asian Cup

Philem Dipak Singh

Doha, Jan 17 (PTI) Knocked out of the competition aftertwo heavy defeats during which they showed enough fightingabilities, India would look to end their campaign in the AsianCup with another spirited display when they take on SouthKorea in their last group match here tomorrow.

India had lost their earlier two Group C matches -- 0-4against Australia and 2-5 against Bahrain -- and it would be amiracle of sorts even if Bob Houghton''s boys manage astalemate against the Asian powerhouse, who have won the titletwice.

South Korea, led by Manchester United midfielder Park JiSung, are seeking their first title in 51 years -- they lastwon in 1960 -- and are the overwhelming favourites againstIndia.

India, who are ranked 144th in FIFA charts as compared totheir opponents'' 35th place, would look for a spirited fightas they had done in their earlier two games.

Captain Bhaichung Bhutia is expected to play a part intomorrow''s match after missing out in the earlier twoencounters due to a calf injury though it is not known for howlong he will play at the Al Gharafa Stadium.

"Bhaichung will start at the bench tomorrow and we willsee if he can play a part in the game," India coach BobHoughton said.

Bhaichung''s presence is not expected to alter theoutcome of the match with South Korea having shown their classwith a 1-1 draw against Australia after defeating Bahrain 2-1in their opening match.

It will be an achievement for India if they can repeattheir performance tomorrow against Australia and Bahrain.

India had produced better show in the second half of the twomatches and even dominated the second session against Bahrain.

For India to end the tournament with some respect, theywill have to defend well and not repeat the "silly mistakes"they committed against Bahrain in their second match onFriday.

With the likes of Park Ji Sung and Celtic player Cha DuRi in red-hot form, India can ill afford to commit mistakes inthe defence and concede too many goals in the first half,which was the case against Bahrain.

After a spirited show against formidable Australia, thedefence had been a let down against Bahrain, committing someunwarranted mistakes without which the scoreline could havebeen more respectable than the 2-5.

Houghton is unlikely to tinker much with the startingline-up of the game with Bhaichung expected to come in thesecond session tomorrow. Abhishek Yadav and Sunil Chhetri, whowere in fine form against Bahrain, are likely to start asstrikers. (More) PTI PDS SHN

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