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Striker wants to score first goal in World Cup qualifiers

All Headlines 20:03 October 04, 2016

SUWON, South Korea, Oct. 4 (Yonhap) -- South Korean striker Suk Hyun-jun said Tuesday he wants to score his team's first goal in the upcoming World Cup qualifiers.

Suk is one of the 23 players on the South Korean roster for the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers this month. South Korea, ranked 47th in the latest FIFA world rankings, will host No. 85 Qatar at Suwon World Cup Stadium in Suwon, south of Seoul, on Thursday and face No. 37 Iran five days later in Tehran.

"I want to score the first goal of the match," Suk said before national team training in Suwon. "I want to put my best efforts forward for my team's victory."

Suk didn't play South Korea's first two matches last month after head coach Uli Stielike allowed him to focus on his club issues following his loan movement from Portuguese side FC Porto to Turkish club Trabzonspor this summer.

Without him, South Korea posted a 3-2 victory against China at home and picked up a scoreless draw with Syria in Malaysia.

Suk, former Ajax and Vitoria Setubal player, will have to compete against FC Augsburg forward Ji Dong-won and Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors striker Kim Shin-wook for the target man role this time.

Suk's competitors are in fine form. Ji, a versatile attacker who can also play on the flanks, scored one goal and one assist in South Korea's 3-2 victory against China last month, and he bagged his first goal of the season in German Bundesliga last Friday. Kim, reigning scoring champion in the top-tier K League Classic, has scored four goals in the last four matches, including one at the Asian Football Confederation Champions League.

"Ji is quick and has good dribbling skills, while Kim is strong in the air," Suk said. "I'm just a player who runs a lot."

Suk, who has four goals in 12 international matches, said he embraces competition, adding that he is fit to start against Qatar despite the long trip home.

"I'm feeling that my fitness and form are getting better after playing with Trabzonspor," he said. "I'm fit to play a full 90 minutes."

South Korean striker Suk Hyun-jun (C) speaks to reporters before the national team training session at Suwon World Cup Stadium in Suwon, south of Seoul, on Oct, 4, 2016, two days ahead of the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Qatar. (Yonhap)

kdon@yna.co.kr
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