South Korea bolster defence for Asian Cup final against Australia

South Korea bolster defence for Asian Cup final against Australia
South Korea's coach Uli Stielike (R) gestures near Iraq's coach Radhi Shenaishil during their Asian Cup semi-final soccer match at the Stadium Australia in Sydney January 26, 2015.

SYDNEY - South Korea have bolstered their already mean defence with one change to their starting side for the Asian Cup final against hosts Australia, who are unchanged for Saturday's tournament finale at Stadium Australia.

Coach Uli Stielike brought defender Jang Hyun-soo into his line-up in place of forward Han Kyo-won as the South Koreans look to maintain their record of not having conceded a single goal in Australia.

Australia's Ivan Franjic picked up a hip injury in the semi-final victory over United Arab Emirates on Tuesday but has been passed fit to start at right back for the sixth successive match at the tournament.

Franjic's fitness is a major boost for the Socceroos as his most likely replacement Chris Herd was ruled out of the tournament by an injury in training before he could play a match.

Cha Du-ri, who is playing his final match in an international career that goes back to South Korea's fairytale ride to the 2002 World Cup semi-finals, starts at right back in Stielike's line-up.

The Socceroos, who lost the 2011 final to Japan after extra time, are seeking their first Asian title in three attempts in front of what is expected to be a sell-out crowd of 80,000 at Stadium Australia.

South Korea, who won the first two Asian Cups in 1956 and 1960 but have not managed to secure a third title in the 55 years since, are playing in their first final since 1988.

The Taegeuk Warriors beat Australia 1-0 with a goal from Lee Jeong-hyeop in their final group game in Brisbane two weeks ago.

That, however, was against a Socceroos team without injured captain Mile Jedinak and with their best attacking trio of Tim Cahill, Robbie Kruse and Mathew Leckie starting on the bench.

All four were named in Ange Postecoglou's starting line-up on Saturday with talismanic striker Cahill looking to add to his tournament tally of three goals and his international haul of 39 in 81 matches.

Australia - 1-Mat Ryan; 2-Ivan Franjic, 3-Jason Davidson, 6-Matthew Spiranovic, 20-Trent Sainsbury; 15-Mile Jedinak; 5-Mark Milligan, 21-Massimo Luongo, 7-Matthew Leckie, 10-Robbie Kruse; 4-Tim Cahill.

South Korea - 23-Kim Jin-hyeon; 5-Kwak Tae-hwi, 22-Cha Du-ri, 19-Kim Young-gwon, 3-Kim Jin-su, 20-Jang Hyun-soo; 6-Park Joo-ho, 7-Son Heung-min, 16-Ki Sung-yueng (captain), 10-Nam Tae-hee; 18-Lee Jeong-hyeop.

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