Stielke wants more from Korean forwards in final push

South Korea's coach Uli Stielike reacts during their Asian Cup final soccer match against Australia at the Stadium Australia in Sydney January 31, 2015. REUTERS/Jason Reed

(Reuters) - South Korea coach Uli Stielike has demanded improvements from his forwards despite picking up a crucial 1-0 World Cup qualifier victory over Syria in Seoul on Tuesday.

Defender Hong Jeong-ho's fourth-minute goal helped South Korea retain one of the two automatic qualification spots in the Group A standings with three games remaining.

While Stielike was pleased to have taken a step towards securing a 10th appearance at the World Cup finals, he admitted South Korea were fortunate to get away with the narrow win.

"Just like any other matches in our group, it was very difficult," Stielike told the reporters.

"We thought we could control the game after scoring a goal after just four minutes. But the important fact is that we collected three points and we're still in the position to earn a World Cup spot."

South Korea failed to create enough chances despite superior ball possession against Syria and 62-year-old German coach was disappointed with several individual performances.

"For today, I think some of our players didn't show their best performance," he added.

"We will have to make improvements in our combination plays and make sure that we can finish our attack with a shot."

South Korea trail group leaders Iran by four points and will visit bottom-placed Qatar on June 13 in their next qualifier.

(Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru)

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