Korea chasing top seed in Group E finale vs. Malaysia

Korean players train for the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup at Al Egla Training Site in Doha, Jan. 21. Yonhap

With the top seed in Group E at stake, Korea will look to close out the opening phase on a strong note against Malaysia at the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup on Thursday.The Group E contest between No. 23 Korea and No. 130 Malaysia will kick off at Al Janoub Stadium in Al Wakrah, south of Doha, at 2:30 p.m. (local time), or 8:30 p.m. (Seoul time). Coached by Jurgen Klinsmann, Korea are sitting in second place in Group E with four points, following a 3-1 win over Bahrain and a 2-2 draw against Jordan. Jordan also have four points but hold a 4-2 edge in goal difference over Korea.

The first tiebreaker in the group stage is the head-to-head record between tied teams. Since Korea and Jordan drew Saturday, they will go to the goal difference if they finish with the same points total.Assuming Jordan beat Bahrain in their final group match Thursday, Korea will also have to beat Malaysia and do so convincingly to have a shot at winning the group.

Winning Group E, however, may not benefit Korea, considering their likely opponent in their first knockout match in that case. If Korea finish atop Group E, they will face the runner-up team from Group D in the round of 16. And as things stand, Japan will most likely be that team, following their shock 2-1 loss to Iraq on Friday.Japan, at No. 17, are the highest-ranked team from Asia and were largely expected to cruise through to the final. If both Japan and Korea had won all their group matches and kept advancing in the knockouts, that would have led to the rivalry showdown in the championship match on Feb. 10.Instead, they could end up 온라인카지노 meeting in the first knockout game.

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