Kuala Lumpur: The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has today been informed by the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) that the Malaysia Ministry of Foreign Affairs has issued a travel ban on Malaysian nationals visiting DPR Korea.
In light of this information, the AFC has postponed the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 Final Qualifying Round Group B match between DPR Korea and Malaysia, which was scheduled to be played in Pyongyang on October 5, 2017.
The AFC will now refer the matter to the appropriate committees to decide on the future status of this match.
With boisterous home support DPR Korea took a deserved first-half lead through Kim Yu-song before defender Nour Mansour equalising early in the second-half.
But late drama was assured thanks to a Ri Yong-jik's low strike before an injury time goal from Hassan Maatouk salvaged a last gasp point.
The draw keeps Lebanon on top of Group B but still leaves DPR Korea, who have played fewer games, with many positives to take from a spirited and high tempo encounter.
Former Norway international Jorn Andersen, only the DPR Korea's second ever foreign coach, has enjoyed a good start to his campaign in Pyongyang.
Under him the Chollima had only lost once, but the team's momentum was checked somewhat when their AFC Asian Cup qualifier against Malaysia was postponed twice earlier this year.
The Kim Il Sung stadium was almost full an hour before kick-off as tens of thousands and schoolchildren in white shirts, red ties and pin badges of the Dear Leader filled the stands.
But it was Lebanon, now under Montenegrin coach Miodrag Radulovic, that started the brighter.
After a series of raids down the left by captain Maatouk, midfielder Rabih Ataya blasted over from close range when he should have done better.
DPR Korea came back into it with striker Pak Kwang-ryong intimidating The Cedars back line, whose cause was helped by some superb free kick routines, one of which brought a stunning save from Mehdi Kahlil in the Lebanese goal.
But DPR Korea would eventually find a way past and take the lead from the resulting corner, a looping header from Kim Yu-song.
Kahlil kept Lebanon in the match until half time, as the team seemed to struggle at times playing on the Kim il Sung stadium's artificial pitch.
Yet almost as soon as the second-half started, Lebanon was level, defender Mansour pouncing in the box and blasting in at close range.
Andersen, an animated figure in all black on the touchline, made all three substitutions by the 66th minute in an attempt to change the flow of the game.
But despite taking up some good positions, Lebanon - who look a different, more expansive team under Radulovic - looked dangerous on the break, Ali Hamam blasting over as a bevy of teammates swarmed into the box.
Just as the game was running out of time, DPR Korea struck. A hopeful ball into the Lebanese box caused chaos and rebounded out to midfielder Ri Yong-jik who blasted it past Khalil and sending the crowd into raptures.
Shortly afterwards Lebanon defender Maher Sabra, who was on the bench, was shown a red card after an ugly confrontation with a member of his own coaching staff.
But just as The Cholima thought they had done enough, a late free kick from Maatouk was swung in, somehow evading everyone before sneaking inside Ri Myong-guk's left hand post.
Bengaluru: 4.25 SC Captain An Il-bom has emphasised the importance of working together as the forward prepares to lead the DPR Korea club out against JSW Bengaluru in the first leg of the AFC Cup Inter-Zone semi-final on Wednesday.
An wore the skipper’s armband as tournament debutants 4.25 progressed to the knockout rounds, scoring twice in the group stage to pip compatriots Kigwancha SC to top spot in the Group I standings.
But it was his strike partner Kim Yu-song who grabbed most the headlines in netting a competition-leading nine goals in just four games as the Pyongyang-based club qualified for the next stage at the first time of asking.
“Kim Yu-song is a really good player,” An told the-AFC.com ahead of training at a saturated Sree Kanteerava Stadium on Tuesday evening.
“He’s our striker, he does a really good job and I think for the match he’ll be at his best.
“But we’re a team and not about the individual players. Everyone has to try their best to work well together and then we can get a good result.”
After going off in 4.25’s opening-day win over Mongolia’s Erchim FC, An did not play again until his side’s third match – a 2-2 draw with Kigwancha in the Pyongyang derby.
Trailing 2-0 with 20 minutes to play, the 26-year-old pulled one back before striker Kim scored deep into stoppage time with a goal that would ultimately send 4.25 through thanks to a marginally better head to head against Kigwancha.
An added another to his tally in a 5-0 victory over Erchim in their fourth and final Group I game to confirm top spot and be crowned East Asia Zonal champions.
“Right now we feel a little bit tired because of the flight here,” added An, whose team only arrived in Bengaluru on Tuesday.
“But we practiced a lot in DPR Korea to prepare for the match and I think our condition is pretty good. Both teams are very strong so it will be interesting.”
Head coach Hwang Yong-song, meanwhile, noted that his side would face stern opposition but has his eyes firmly fixed on progressing further into the competition with a group of players that know each other well.
“We think Bengaluru are a very strong team and have many good players,” said Pak. “They have four India internationals and also some foreign players so we think they have good players.
“Our team has many young players but we have played together for a long time. This is the first time we have participated in the AFC Cup and we have won some games.
“Now we’re playing Bengaluru and first of all we hope to win this game and proceed to the next stage.”
Qatar’s national football team drew on Tuesday 2-2 with North Korea, in the match that took place in Jassim bin Hamad stadium at Al Sadd SC. Qatar took a 2-0 lead through goals from Abdul Kareem Hassan and Ali Afif in the 32nd and 56th minute respectively. The North Korean team, however, managed to draw level in a 10-minute period between 63rd and 73rd minute. The friendly was the final preparation for the Qatari team ahead of their match against South Korea which will take place in Doha. The two sides are in Group A as part of the World Cup 2018 qualifiers. The top two teams of each group will qualify to the final. The third-placed teams will face each other in a play-off, the winner of which will play against the fourth-placed team in the North America qualifiers. The winner would then qualify to the World Cup. http://www.gulf-times.com/story/552502/Qatar-play-out-2-2-draw-with-North-Korea
Kuala Lumpur: The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has decided that because of the geo-political tension on the Korean Peninsula the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 Qualifying Final Round match between DPR Korea and Malaysia, scheduled for Pyongyang on June 8, 2017 should be postponed.
The game will now be re-scheduled for the next best available FIFA match-day which is Thursday, October 5, 2017.
Although the AFC had proposed on May 8, 2017 that the match – which was already postponed from March 28, 2017 – take place in the DPR Korea capital, recent developments have forced the AFC to reconsider the decision on the grounds of safety and security.
The AFC will closely monitor the safety and security position in coming months as well as the AFC Cup match between Kigwancha SC (DPR Korea) against Erchim FC (Mongolia) to be played May 31, 2017 as well as the AFC U-23 Championship Qualifiers - Group G to be hosted in Pyongyang, DPR Korea from July 19-23, 2017.
After those matches, the AFC will make a decision of the venue for the AFC Asian Cup Qualifier on October 5, 2017.