MELBOURNE, Jan 22 (Reuters) - South Korea and Uzbekistan have both made two changes to their starting line-ups for the first Asian Cup quarter-final at the Melbourne Rectangular Stadium on Thursday.
South Korea’s German coach Ulrich Stielike has, as expected, recalled Son Heung-min to his team after the forward was only able to play off the bench in their final group match against hosts Australia because of illness.
Nam Tae-hee, who scored the winner in their second group match against Kuwait, also returns to the starting side in midfield with Koo Ja-cheol and Han Kyo-won both dropping out.
Uzbekistan coach Mirdjadal Kasimov rang the changes for their decisive third group match against Saudi Arabia and reaped the rewards in the 3-1 victory that sent the Central Asians through to the last eight.
Kasimov has largely kept faith with that youthful side, bringing midfielders Sanjar Tursunov and Lutfulla Turaev back into his team but leaving captain Server Djeparov and fellow veteran Timur Kapadze on the bench.
Uzbekistan are hoping to reach the semi-finals for the second Asian Cup in succession.
Sardor Rashidov, who scored twice in the decisive victory over Saudi Arabia on Sunday, said Uzbekistan still had room for improvement.
“We have more potential and I think we can play better,” said the attacking midfielder.
“We will try to reach the semi-final, but we don’t feel any pressure, we just make sure we are on the right way and we do our best every day and I hope we can repeat this big victory.”
The South Koreans, seeking a first Asian Cup triumph since 1960, won all three of their group matches 1-0 and are strong favourites to ride their tight defence into a semi-final against Iran or Iraq in Sydney on Monday.
South Korea: 23-Kim Jin-hyeon; 5-Kwak Tae-hwi, 2-Kim Chang-soo, 19-Kim Young-gwon, 3-Kim Jin-su; 6-Park Joo-ho, 7-Son Heung-min, 16-Ki Sung-yueng, 10-Nam Tae-hee, 11-Lee Keun-ho; 18-Lee Jeong-hyeop.
Uzbekistan: 12-Ignatiy Nesterov; 3-Shavkat Mulladjanov, 5-Anzur Ismailov, 14-Shuhrat Muhammadjev, 19-Vitaliy Denisov; 17-Sanjar Tursunov, 7-Azibek Haydarov, 13-Lutfulla Turaev; 4-Sardor Rashidov, 9-Odil Akhmedov, 6-Bakhodir Nasimov. (Editing by Amlan Chakraborty)