Korea Republic coach Pim Verbeek has been left hoping his side can overcome Indonesia in their final Group D game on Wednesday after slipping to a late defeat at the hands of Bahrain.
The two-time champions were stunned by Ismail Abdullatif’s 85th minute winner after taking the lead just four minutes into the game through Kim Do-heon.
However, Salman Isa levelled for the Bahrainis two minutes before the interval and, despite seeing the Koreans dominate most of the second half, Abdullatif slammed home five minutes from time to leave the Koreans in serious danger of exiting the tournament.
Korea must defeat the co-hosts by two clear goals and hope group leaders Saudi Arabia defeat Bahrain to have any chance of maintaining the Asian Cup challenge while the Indonesians also need to win to progress.
"We have to win 2-0, or at least we have to score two goals more than Indonesia, so it will be a very interesting game," said the Dutchman. "They have to win also.
"We can’t wait on anything because we have only one point. There will be 85,000 people, both teams have to score to win the game so I think it will be very interesting."
Verbeek’s team looked to be on course to at least add a second draw to the one earned against Saudi Arabia in their opening game after dominating much of the game only for the Bahrainis to take all three points, their first of the competition.
The manner of the defeat had taken its toll on the Korean players, said their coach.
"It’s not a surprise that the players are completely finished if you have a start like this, scoring the early goal," he said. "In the last 20 minutes of the first half we played well but we lost concentration and they got the goal just before half time.
"But in the second half I thought we were much better and I was waiting for us to score, and I never expected Bahrain to score and if we hadn’t given this goal away they would never have scored so I’m disappointed."
Despite the defeat, Verbeek praised the performance of his players and he is hoping his team can stay in the competition.
"The coach is always responsible for the result," he said. "I think we created more than enough chance to score goals and when you don’t score goals there’s pressure on the defence.
"I think we played a good game and if you play like this you will be a good team. I’m 100 percent convinced that we can win by two goals and then life becomes completely different."