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Decimated nat'l football team replaces injured midfielder

Yoon Bitgaram of Ulsan Hyundai FC (L) reacts to a save by Jeju United goalkeeper Oh Seung-hoon (C) during their K League 1 match at Ulsan Munsu Football Stadium in Ulsan, 415 kilometers southeast of Seoul, last Tuesday. (Yonhap)
Yoon Bitgaram of Ulsan Hyundai FC (L) reacts to a save by Jeju United goalkeeper Oh Seung-hoon (C) during their K League 1 match at Ulsan Munsu Football Stadium in Ulsan, 415 kilometers southeast of Seoul, last Tuesday. (Yonhap)
The South Korean men's national football team has been bitten hard by an injury bug ahead of a friendly match against Japan, with yet another key player getting cut with a leg injury Monday.

The Korea Football Association (KFA) said Ulsan Hyundai FC midfielder Yoon Bitgaram suffered a left calf injury over the weekend and will be replaced by his K League 1 teammate, Lee Dong-gyeong.

Yoon was hurt during a league match against Daegu FC on Sunday and was substituted early in the second half.

Coached by Paulo Bento, South Korea will face Japan at 7:20 p.m. Thursday in Yokohama, south of Tokyo. It will be the 80th match between the archrivals.

Bento's team had already been decimated with injuries and illnesses before Yoon was sidelined. Tottenham Hotspur star Son Heung-min will not be available because of a left hamstring injury he picked up in the Premier League a week ago, and Gwangju FC midfielder Um Won-sang was dropped from the team with a left knee injury. Gamba Osaka midfielder Ju Se-jong recently tested positive for COVID-19.

There were also other national team mainstays who weren't called up in the first place because of injuries, including Rubin Kazan midfielder Hwang In-beom and Al-Nassr defender Kim Jin-su. (Yonhap)
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