Asian Cup Preview: North Korea v Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia coach Cosmin Olaroiu has called on his team to remain confident, despite making a losing start to their Asian Cup campaign.

As the Saudis prepare to face North Korea in Melbourne on Wednesday, the three-time Asian champions are still coming to terms with their late 1-0 defeat to China over the weekend.

Saudi Arabia were left to rue a missed penalty as Yu Hai gave the Chinese maximum points in Group B action at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday.

Striker Naif Hazazi's saved penalty in the 62nd minute, that made the headlines after a ball boy told China goalkeeper Wang Dalei which way to dive, came back to haunt Saudi Arabia in Brisbane.

Yu struck the match-winner nine minutes from time, with his deflected free-kick condemning Saudi Arabia to a fourth consecutive loss in all competitions.

Saudi Arabia can keep their qualification hopes alive against lowly North Korea at AAMI Park and Olaroiu is not giving up hope of reaching the quarter-finals.

"We still have a chance to qualify as it is not finished, only the first game," said the 45-year-old Romanian.

"I hope the players play with the same determination and spirit - a different game means a different approach, we will rest the players and find the best formula to start again.

"The players should not lose their confidence. We have to win the next two games."

North Korea are also bidding to stay relevant in the tournament after they were beaten 1-0 by Uzbekistan in Sydney.

The North Koreans came unstuck just past the hour-mark as Igor Sergeev found the net in wet conditions at ANZ Stadium.

But just like his counterpart, North Korea coach Jo Tong-Sop is still hoping to steer the football minnows beyond the group stage for the first time since 1980, when they reached the semi-finals in Kuwait.

"Our team did not show their full ability [against Uzbekistan]. Had we played better it may have been a different result," said Jo.

"I think there are a lot of teams here that are very strong, possibly even stronger than us.

"To go through we will have to concentrate on each and every match. That is the only way to progress further in the competition."

Two of the past three meetings between the nations have been draws, with North Korea edging a World Cup qualifier 1-0 in 2009.