Two Asian heavyweights are set to face off on Monday morning in Doha, as South Korea battles Bahrain in a crucial 2024 AFC Asian Cup group stage match. With both teams filled with talent and eyeing a deep tournament run, this figures to be one of the most anticipated games of the opening round.
|South Korea vs. Bahrain – AFC Asian Cup 2024
|6:30 AM ET
|15th January 2024
|Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium in Doha
|Live Stream: (Follow Every AFC Asian Cup Channels)
Lineups Stacked With Playmakers
South Korea manager Paulo Bento will have some difficult lineup decisions to make, as he has multiple quality options at nearly every position. Superstar and captain Son Heung-min leads the attack, while the midfield features rising stars like Lee Kang-in and Paik Seung-ho. The backline is marshalled by veteran Kim Young-gwon.
Bahrain is no slouch either, led by prolific scorer Sayed Dhiya and talented winger Ali Madan. Manager Helio Sousa can also call on experienced defensive midfielder Komail Al-Aswad and goalkeeper Sayed Shubbar Al-Kowari. This Bahrain squad is considered the country’s strongest in years.
Son and Al-Aswad Key to Outcome
This game may very well come down to which team’s star man plays better. For South Korea, Son Heung-min remains one of the top attacking talents in Asian football. After winning the 2022 Golden Boot at the World Cup, he will be hungry to lead his country to Asian Cup glory. Stopping him will be Bahrain’s Al-Aswad, who provides defensive steel and leadership from midfield.
Home Field Advantage for Bahrain
While South Korea come in as favourites, Bahrain will have the benefit of essentially playing at home. As one of the Gulf-based host nations, they should have plenty of fan support at Al Janoub Stadium. That backing from the stands could inspire Bahrain to pull off the upset victory. However, South Korea are no strangers to playing in hostile territory.
Matchup Promises Goalmouth Action
Given the attacking talent on both sides, this matchup should feature plenty of end-to-end action and goals. South Korea likes to play quick, aggressive football, with attackers like Son given license to roam and create. Bahrain have scored seven goals over two matches already, so they have shown they too can find the back of the net. Fans should expect an exciting, open contest between two confident teams.
Major Tournament Implications
Beyond just the three points at stake, this match will have major implications on the rest of the tournament. The winner will establish themselves as a prime contender for the Asian Cup title. The loser still has a chance to advance, but will face a much tougher road. One thing is for sure: neither South Korea or Bahrain want their championship dreams to end here in the group stage.
Asian Heavyweights Set for Blockbuster Clash
With so much talent on display and a spot in the knockout round potentially hanging in the balance, this is undoubtedly the marquee matchup of the group stage thus far. Be sure to tune into South Korea versus Bahrain for what promises to be an epic Asian Cup battle between two talented footballing nations. This is one game you do not want to miss!