Cho content with Iran clash
Korea Republic coach Cho Kwang-rae is relishing the prospect of his side's Asian Cup quarter-final tie with Iran despite their profligacy in front of goal in the 4-1 win over India costing them top spot in Group C and an easier route to the last four.
Ji Dong-won scored twice while Koo Ja-cheol and Son Heung-min also hit the back of the net as the South Koreans brushed aside the Indians at a wet Al Gharafa Stadium. However, Australia's 1-0 triumph over Bahrain saw the Socceroos top the table on goal difference and avoid a meeting with one of the tournament favourites in the shape of Iran in the last eight.
"I am quite satisfied about the result of tonight's matches," said Cho. "We had chances to score many goals but I was happy with the players' attitude towards the game. They took it seriously and did their best. If we can continue these performances, I believe the team will do an excellent job for the quarter-final match.
"I don't worry so much about the chances we missed tonight," the coach went on. "When it comes to Iran, they are one of the powerhouses of Asian football so we'd likely have to beat them at some point to win the tournament anyway. My concern was that I wouldn't have three players available for the game that were on a yellow card.
"I intentionally left Lee Jung-soo out and Cha Du-ri and Ki Sung-yeung only played the first half to prepare for the game against Iran," he added. "There are no weak teams in the quarter-finals so we have to prepare to have the team in the best condition."
It was third consecutive defeat for India and, despite conceding 13 goals in the process, boss Bob Houghton was proud of the 2008 AFC Challenge Cup winners' performance in Qatar. "It was the third of three difficult games in eight days. For our team, it was a real challenge. We got through it, we're richer for the experience, the boys enjoyed it and they've learned a lot from it," he said of their first Asian Cup appearance in 47 years.
"It's made them feel like they want to get back in four years' time and compete in Australia and what they learned this time will stand them in good stead," he said. "I hope it will raise the profile of the game back in India - that's the importance of us qualifying. It's been good PR and we shouldn't hang our heads even though we've lost all three games. So I think we can go home and push on from here and do even better things in the next four years."