August 24, 2015 / 5:06 AM / 3 years ago

Stielike shuffles South Korea strikers for qualifiers

SEOUL (Reuters) - Portugal-based forward Suk Hyun-jun was recalled to the South Korea squad for the first time in five years, with manager Uli Stielike hoping the 24-year-old can end their goal-scoring problems.

Suk, who begun his career with Dutch giants Ajax Amsterdam, last played for his country in a 2010 friendly against Iran but has impressed the German coach with his displays for Victoria Setubal having moved in January from domestic rivals Nacional.

Stielike, who led South Korea to the final of the Asian Cup in January, also gave a first call up to attacker Hwang Ui-jo of Seongnam FC for the Sept. 3 match at home to Laos and trip to Lebanon five days later.

South Korea won the East Asian Cup earlier this month but managed only three goals in three games against China, Japan and North Korea.

“I selected Suk and Hwang to address our goal-scoring issues,” Stielike was quoted as saying by Yonhap News on Monday.

“They will be given their playing opportunities depending on how well they train with the rest of the team.

“We’ve had an eye on Hwang for a while. He used to be inconsistent before but he’s become a steady player,” he said of the 22-year-old who has notched 10 goals in 24 K-League appearances this season.

South Korea, who have appeared at the last eight consecutive World Cups, opened their joint Asian Cup qualifying campaign with a 2-0 win over Myanmar in June. They need to top a group also featuring Kuwait to guarantee progression to the next stage of qualifying for Russia 2018.

Writing by Patrick Johnston in Singapore; editing by Amlan Chakraborty

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