After suffering a shocking 1-0 defeat to China, South Korea football coach Uli Stielike on Thursday apologised to fans for his team’s poor performance.
Yu Dabao scored the only goal of the match to hand South Koreans their second loss in the final Asian qualifying round for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. This was South Korea’s second defeat to China in 32 meetings, the first loss came at the 2010 East Asian Cup.
“We knew China would play aggressively from the start, but we had a tough match in the first 20 minutes,” Stielike said. “We surrendered a goal just after our players found their rhythm, so the whole match got difficult.”
“We tried to get an equaliser using all of our available attacking options, but failed at the end,” Stielike said.
“We lacked a delicate finish,” he said. “I will try to find solutions to the problem in the remaining four matches by making changes.”
Despite the painful loss, Stielike’s side was fortunate to maintain the second place behind Iran after third-place Uzbekistan also fell 1-0 to Syria later Thursday.
With four matches remaining, South Korea have 10 points from three wins, one draw and two losses, while Uzbekistan are one point behind them. Syria are trailing right behind with eight points.
South Korea’s next match is against Syria at home on Tuesday. The two sides played to a scoreless draw in their first meeting last September.