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 By John Duerden

Newly promoted Penang hungry for MSL success with new imports

Penang coach Tiago Jacksen
Penang head coach Jacksen Tiago hopes his side can cope with the extra demands of the Malaysia Super League.

PENANG -- This popular tourist destination may be famous around the world for the quality of its street eats, but the food available outside the old city stadium is still mostly standard football fare: burgers and kebabs. Those wanting Laksa, Char Kway Teow or a Nyonya curry may be disappointed, but the fans were just here for the football. A recent preseason friendly with Kuala Lumpur FA was an appetiser for the main course -- a first season back in the Malaysia Super League (MSL) -- so with the...

 By John Duerden

South Korea need a striker to consolidate their Asia's best tag

Son Heung-min's move to the Premier League was a crucial one for South Korean football.

South Korean fans have plenty to be proud of, after their national team's impressive 2015 record, and products like Tottenham Hotspur winger Son Heung-min making a seamless transition from the Bundesliga to the Premier League.

But 2016 promises to be a pivotal year for the Taeguk Warriors and top Korean clubs and players.

Here are five South Korean wishes for the New Year.

1. More national team success

The best thing that can happen for the South Korean national team for the New Year is to see old...

 By Kelvin Leong

Iconic Korean defender Jang Jung eager to return to Singapore

Singapore veteran defender Jang Jung
Jang Jung returned to Bedok Stadium where played for Geylang in the S.League in the late 1990s.

The stern expression on his chiseled face as he bellowed out instructions to his teammates was a sight to behold for the Kallang faithful while visiting attackers didn't dare mess with the tough South Korean centre-back.

Part of Singapore's dream team of 1994, who won the Malaysian league and cup double, Jang Jung was the defensive rock in a side loaded with attacking talent.

After playing for one of K-League's top clubs Lucky-Goldstar Hwangso -- now known as FC Seoul -- Jang became familiar to...

 By John Duerden

Asian football nations could learn from Japan's Rugby World Cup team

Though the team did not make it to the knockout round, Japan's squad at the Rugby World Cup could be a model for Asian footballing nations.

Japan's efforts at the 2015 Rugby World Cup were heroic, and it is cruel indeed when a team wins three out of four matches and still goes home at the end of the group stage. Yet there were plenty of lessons that Asian football teams can learn from Japanese exploits in England over the past few weeks.

Here are five things Asian football can learn from their rugby-playing counterparts in Japan:

1. Be aggressive, even against the very best

Fortune favoured the Brave Blossoms late in the game in a win...

 By John Duerden

South Korea's consistency paving way in AFC World Cup qualifying

South Korea continued their fine form in 2015 with a slim 1-0 win in Kuwait.
South Korea continued their fine form in 2015 with a slim 1-0 win in Kuwait.

After another round of 2018 World Cup qualification, recent results suggest that Iran might be the continent's top team, according to FIFA's rankings. Or maybe that distinction belongs to continental champions Australia.

Yet when it really comes down to it, overall in 2015, South Korea have been Asia's number one. The Taeguk Warriors, who started the year by reaching the final of the Asian Cup, have been going from strength to strength, as their 1-0 victory in Kuwait on Thursday in a vital qualifier...

 By John Duerden

Australia lose in Amman while Kagawa bails Japan out against Syria

Australia were downed 2-0 by Jordan in Amman on Thursday night.

The halfway stage of the second round of qualification for the 2018 World Cup was all about the big boys from East Asia -- Japan, South Korea, China -- and beyond (Australia) travelling significant distances to face mid-level West Asian teams away from home.

Two won and two lost in an exciting night of Asian football. There was little to smile about in Amman for Australia as the men in green and gold lost in their second successive visit. The Socceroos crashed in Jordan in qualification for the...