KUALA LUMPUR: Unless Lee Zii Jia and company can rise to the occasion, Malaysia are heading for an early exit yet again in the men's team event at the Asian Games.
Malaysia paid a heavy price for failing to get seeded as they were drawn to face three-time winners South Korea in the Round of 16 in Hangzhou.
However, Malaysia should be able to overpower the Koreans, led by reigning world men's doubles champions Kang Min Hyuk-Seo Seung Jae, with superiority in the men's singles department.
The highest-ranked singles on the Korean side is world No. 47 Jeon Hyeok Jin.
Should Malaysia advance into the last eight, another mammoth task against top seeds Indonesia awaits the team.
In Jakarta five years ago, Malaysia were booted out in the round of 16, too, with a 3-0 loss to Japan.
The Asiad badminton competition commences with the men's and women's team events at the Binjiang Gymnasium on Thursday.