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Chonburi: In their tournament opener against China PR, Korea Republic were seconds away from claiming three valuable points, but were forced to settle for just one thanks to Tang Han’s 93rd minute heartbreaker.

Korea Republic coach Hur Jung-jae said his side’s youthful optimism means they have been able to quickly recover from the disappointment of missing out on victory. 

“I think the players were the ones who had the most pity about the last minute goal. I heard them talking about it yesterday, but they’re still young players and I don’t think it affected us too much,” he said.

Despite the setback, Korea Republic’s Group A fate remains firmly in their own hands, and a positive result against the hosts would go a long way towards securing a place in the semi-finals.

The 2009 champions started slowly in Chonburi – conceding after 11 minutes – but second half goals by Hwang Ah-hyeon and Kim Bit-na were reflective of a much-improved second-half performance.

Thailand were successful in defeating Laos 3-0 in their opening match, but will be without starting goalkeeper Ponpimon Ngoenphon, who was shown a red card after committing a foul when the Thai offside trap was sprung by a late counter attack.

Hur said his side would look to pounce on what he perceives to be Thailand’s weakness: their ability to defend.

“Thailand were pretty strong offensively, however, they weren’t as strong defensively, in my opinion,” he said.

“We plan to play with three forwards, and I plan to have the full-backs participating a lot a offensively, and this is a key aspect for a positive result tomorrow.

“We plan to play offensively and aggressively.”

Wednesday’s fixture will mark the sixth time the teams have met in seven editions of the AFC U-16 Women’s Championship, with the previous clashes producing three Korean wins, one draw and one Thai success, in Wuhan two years ago.


Laos v China PR

In Tuesday’s earlier match, newcomers Laos will continue their search for a maiden AFC U-16 Women’s Championship win against China PR.

The Southeast Asians were beaten but were competitive in their debut against Thailand, ultimately falling to a 3-0 defeat in what was the nation’s first ever appearance in the Finals.

While a first goal never came, Vongmisay Soubouakham’s young team posed a threat on the counter-attack, something which may be useful on Wednesday given their opponents’ possession-based style.

China PR head coach Gao Hong said that persisting with such an approach was a key element of the team’s preparation.

“(We’re focusing on) possession football, playing under pressure,” said the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup finalist.

“The results are important, but what’s more important is to have this kind of experience playing our own way, playing our own (style of) football.”

China PR have reached the semi-finals or better on five of six attempts at the AFC U-16 Women’s Championship, but remain in search of an elusive first title.

Photos: AFC