Seoul: South Korea`s Asian Cup hopes have been dealt a blow with the news midfielder Lee Chung-yong has suffered a hairline fracture to his shin and could be sidelined for the remainder of the tournament.
Lee was stretchered off the field in South Korea`s 1-0 win over Oman in their group opener on Saturday and while the fracture is a relatively fine one he has been told it could take up to three weeks to heal, local media quoted a Korea Football Association official as saying.
Even if South Korea reach the Jan. 31 Asian Cup final it is unlikely Lee would be fit enough to take part.
Lee`s absence will be a big blow to South Korea, who struggled to break down Oman at the weekend and were relying on the Bolton midfielder to help open up Kuwait in their second group game later on Tuesday.
Han Kyo-won replaced Lee against Oman and could be in line to start against Kuwait in Canberra.
Coach Stielike is also sweating on the fitness of defender Kim Chang-soo, who suffered a thigh injury against Oman and was taken off in the 18th minute.