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Chinese football clubs refuse to release S. Korean players for int'l matches

All News 10:09 November 10, 2020

By Yoo Jee-ho

SEOUL, Nov. 10 (Yonhap) -- Two South Korean defenders will not join the national team for friendly matches later this month after their Chinese clubs refused to release them.

The Korea Football Association (KFA) announced Tuesday that Beijing Guoan defender Kim Min-jae and Guangzhou Evergrande defender Park Ji-su will not make the trip to Austria for matches against Mexico and Qatar. Those two Chinese clubs declined to make those players available, and the KFA said Kim and Park will not be replaced.

In this file photo from Dec. 18, 2019, Kim Min-jae of South Korea (C) clears the ball in front of his own net against Japan during the final of the East Asian Football Federation E-1 Football Championship at Busan Asiad Main Stadium in Busan, 450 kilometers southeast of Seoul. (Yonhap)

Coached by Paulo Bento, South Korea will face Mexico at 9 p.m. on Saturday (5 a.m. on Sunday in Seoul) at Stadion Wiener Neustadt in Wiener Neustadt, south of Vienna. South Korea will then play Qatar at 2 p.m. on Nov. 17 (10 p.m. the same day in Seoul) at BSFZ Arena Admiral Stadium in Maria Enzersdorf, also near Vienna.

These are the first two international matches for South Korea, whose World Cup qualifying matches were all wiped out by the coronavirus pandemic. Bento's team played the under-23 national team in two exhibition matches just outside Seoul in early October.

Even before the first match, though, Bento's back line has been decimated. Two fullbacks originally selected, Lee Yong of Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors and Hong Chul of Ulsan Hyundai FC, both suffered injuries during the two-legged FA Cup final against each other last week. Another fullback, Kim Jin-su of Al-Nassr in Saudi Arabia, tested positive for COVID-19 over the weekend. The KFA named three new players in their stead.

The absence of Kim Min-jae and Park Ji-su will leave South Korea with eight defenders.

This file photo provided by the sports agency Square Sports on May 4, 2020, shows Guangzhou Evergrande's South Korean player Park Ji-su, posing with his head coach Fabio Cannavaro. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)


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