Uli Stielike will be hoping his South Korea side can return to some goal-scoring form, when they host Laos in an AFC World Cup qualifier in Hwaseong.
Thursday’s clash pits the top nation in Group G against the cellar-dwellers Laos, but the pressure is on the Koreans to score – having not done so in free play in over three-and-a-half hours.
Stielike’s men managed to clinch the East Asian Cup despite the goals drying up after their 2-0 win over China, with a 1-1 draw to Japan – scoring from the spot – and a scoreless stalemate against neighbours North Korea enough to earn the trophy.
The German coach has recalled Suk Hyun-jun in an attempt to end their drought, the Vitoria Setubal man looking to add to his lone international cap against either Laos or Lebanon (September 8).
Kim Seung-dae held his spot in the squad, but other attackers Kim Shin-wook and Lee Jung-hyub were absent from the 23-man group – putting the onus on Suk and uncapped Seongnam forward Hwang Ui-jo to lead the line.
Son Heung-min, who recently joined Tottenham from Bayer Leverkusen, is also available – and can complement the strikers given his 11 goals in 44 internationals.
Hwang, 23, has scored 10 K-League goals in 25 appearances this season, leading to his call-up.
Joining Hwang in being other potential debutants in the squad are goalkeepers Kwoun Sun-tae and Kim Dong-jun, the pair deputising for Ulsan custodian Kim Seung-gyu.
The two nations will face one another for the first time, with Laos looking to bounce back from their 2-0 home loss to Lebanon in their most recent qualifier.
Since that defeat, Dave Booth’s men lost to Thai club Nakhon Ratchasima 3-1 before a 2-1 friendly win over Cambodia to prepare for the clash against the Koreans.
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