Ki Sung-yeung was forced off the pitch on Monday in South Korea’s opening Asian Cup match.

Early reports suggested it was a hamstring problem, not exactly what Rafa Benitez needed to hear with Mohamed Diame subbed with an injury against Man Utd, then yesterday bringing news that Jonjo Shelvey was flying to see a specialist in Barcelona, due to an ongoing thigh problem which has helped to prevent him starting a game for these past 10 weeks.

However, there is better news, at least with Ki Sung-yeung, on Tuesday morning.

South Korea have announced (see below) that it is a hamstring issue but it’s a ‘minor problem’ and the midfielder ‘needs at least a week for treatment’ before potentially being available for the rest of the tournament.

This means he will definitely miss South Korea v Kyrgyzstan on Friday (11th) and is unlikely to be risked for the game against China next Wednesday (16th).

The last 16 knockout stages are taking place 20-22 January and looks to be the most likely return to playing for Ki Sung-yeung, as that would give him two weeks to get over the injury.

As for Yoshinori Muto, he and Japan begin their group matches with a game against Turkmenistan tomorrow (Wednesday), full schedule of Japan and South Korea’s games below.

Yonhap News Agency:

‘South Korean midfielder Ki Sung-yueng will not play in the national team’s upcoming match against Kyrgyzstan at the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup due to a hamstring injury, officials here said Tuesday.

The Korea Football Association (KFA) said Ki will miss South Korea’s second Group C contest, against Kyrgyzstan, at Hazza bin Zayed Stadium in Al Ain, the United Arab Emirates, on Friday because of an injury he sustained during the team’s opening match against the Philippines.

“There’s minor damage to Ki’s right hamstring,” the KFA said. “He needs at least a week for treatment. Our medical team will closely monitor his injury.”

In South Korea’s 1-0 win over the Philippines at Al Maktoum Stadium in Dubai on Monday, Ki was seen limping around the 55th minute. The South Korean medical team immediately entered the pitch to check his condition and later signaled to the bench that he needed to be substituted. South Korea head coach Paulo Bento then replaced Ki for Hwang In-beom.

Ki was later taken to a nearby hospital for a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) test, and the result showed he sustained a minor hamstring injury.

Ki, who plays for the English Premier League side Newcastle United, has been South Korea’s main orchestrator in the midfield, distributing passes with his accurate kicks. Against the Philippines, he completed 66 passes and had a passing accuracy of 93.9 percent before leaving the pitch.

The 29-year-old is also the most experienced player on Bento’s 23-man squad at the Asian Cup. He has 10 goals in 110 appearances for South Korea.’

Asian Cup matches/schedule for Ki Sung-yeung and Yoshinori Muto:

Monday 7 January

South Korea 1 Philippines 0

Wednesday 9 January

Japan v Turkmenistan

Friday 11 January

South Korea v Kyrgyzstan

Sunday 13 January

Japan v Oman

Wednesday 16 January

South Korea v China

Thursday 17 January

Japan v Ukbekisatan

After the group stages the knockout games are played:

Last 16 matches are 20-22 January

Quarter finals are 24 and 25 January

Semi finals 28 and 29 January

Final is 1 February

Newcastle United upcoming matches:

Saturday 12 January 2019 (BT Sport)

Chelsea v Newcastle (5.30pm)

Tuesday 15 January or Wednesday 16 January 2019

Blackburn v Newcastle

Saturday 19 January 2019

Newcastle v Cardiff (3pm)

Saturday 26 January 2019 (weekend of)

Potential FA Cup fourth round match

Tuesday 29 January 2019 (BT Sport)

Newcastle v Man City (8pm)

Saturday 2 February 2019 (Sky Sports)

Tottenham v Newcastle (12.30pm)

Monday 11 February 2019 (Sky Sports)

Wolves v Newcastle (8pm)