What Asian Cup games can I watch on Tuesday? South Korea, China and Iran in action
- Three debutants face toughest of tasks in their opening games in the UAE
- Group C seen as ‘group of death’ with odds stacked against Azkals and Akshumkar
Shocks for the hosts and the holders have given hope to the so-called lesser lights of Asian football and that will inspire confidence in group C on Monday when two debutants make their bow.
Sven-Goran Eriksson’s Philippines and Kyrgyzstan are the new faces at the 2019 Asian Cup and they have nothing to fear despite being in a group with two of the biggest names on the continent.
China and South Korea are the teams in question but the Koreans have not won the competition since 1960, while China have never gone better than when they were runners-up on home soil in 2004.
There remains little doubt that this is the “group of death” in the UAE and all four teams will want to get off to a good start.
Kyrgyzstan’s Anton Zemlianukhin is the country’s record scorer with half of his 12 international goals coming in the last round of qualification. The 28-year-old will be the one to watch for the debutants at the Khalifa bin Zayed Stadium in Al Ain.
Marcello Lippi’s China are continental heavyweights but they have been punching well below what is expected of them for far too long.
This time out they have the oldest squad at the tournament but going for experience did not harm Lippi’s Italy back at the 2006 World Cup in Germany.
Wu Lei is the player the nation expects to deliver, especially after hitting 27 goals in 29 games to finish with the Chinese Super League golden boot last season.
China and Kyrgyzstan get the chance to make an early statement in the early kick-off.
Lippi’s side are clear favourites at $1.4 to win, with a draw at $4.4. The shock is priced at $9.6.
That game kicks off at 7pm and is live on Fox Sport (channel 670).
This is followed up by South Korea taking on the Philippines. The Azkals make their debut but without their biggest name in Neil Etheridge the Cardiff City goalkeeper. That means the burden of responsibility is at the other end of the pitch and on the shoulders of Phil Younghusband, the Azkals’ long-time go-to man and record scorer.
South Korea are among the favourites to go all the way in the UAE but they need to start without their talisman.
Paulo Bento’s young squad led by experienced Newcastle United midfielder Ki Sung-yueng until Tottenham Hotspur’s Son Heung-min arrives in the UAE next week.
No matter, the Koreans are the favourites. A win for them is just $1.1 while it is a massive $81 for the new boys. The draw is priced at $13.
The match kicks off at 9.30pm from the Al Maktoum Stadium in Dubai and it is live on Fox Sports (channel 670).
Another one of the favourites, Carlos Queiroz’s Iran, finish the night’s matches when they take on Yemen in group D at the Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi.
They will be expected to win but they have to do that without star striker Alireza Jahanbakhsh after the Brighton player was ruled out of their opener through injury.
He is not the only player they will miss, with Saeid Ezatolahi, Ali Golizadeh and Sadegh Moharrami all out.
Ali Al Sasi is the Yemeni star man of a squad that draws from players plying their trade across the region. The captain will look to add to his 14 international goals.
The Carlos Queiroz effect.
"The current state of #TeamMelli is that everyone gets along with each other so well. We beat with one heart. When we're separated from one another, all we want to do get back together. This is the state of Iranian national team." - Ali Karimi pic.twitter.com/vqDvhzixR2
— PersianFootball.com (@PersianFutbol) 31 December 2018
While Iran look to end a 43-year wait to be Asian champions, Yemen are the other debutants in the UAE.
Again, this experience or lack thereof is reflected in the odds. Iran are $1.11 to win and Yemen are $46. A draw in this is $9.8.
Kick off is midnight and once again the action comes live on Fox Sports (channel 670).