Jorn Andersen’s men came into the match needing a draw to advance on tiebreakers, and the opening minutes of the game seemingly reflected their desire to prevent Hong Kong’s naturalised attackers such as Alex Akande and Godfried Karikari from creating any major chances on goal.
With fouls increasing and tempers souring on the pitch, it was Jong Il Gwan who scored the lone goal of the match when he stole the ball from Hong Kong’s Leung Chun Pong and broke past the defender before sending a chip shot over the goalkeeper and into the net.
Faced with their first deficit of the tournament, Hong Kong struggled to respond. Alex, fresh off his four-goal performance against Chinese Taipei on Wednesday, found himself surrounded by multiple DPR Korea defenders whenever he entered the penalty area and was rarely able to get off a shot on goal.
The leaders’ confidence was unshaken in the second half as they continued to maintain possession, passing the ball around the middle of the pitch as they pleased. Hong Kong’s frustration showed, with defender Roberto Affonso Junior at one point getting into a verbal altercation with DPR Korea coach Andersen.
A boisterous home crowd numbering in the thousands also appeared short on patience, with three dozen fans rushing to the pitchside hoardings at one point to loudly protest the officials.
But the two goals needed by Kim Pan Gon’s men to pull off a last-minute reversal never materialized, and DPR Korea were left to celebrate at the final whistle as they clinched a second straight appearance in the regional tournament’s final competition where they will join Korea Republic, Japan, and China.
Goals by So Hyun Uk and Pak Kwang Ryong were enough to see DPR Korea past Guam on Wednesday evening in the second matchday of the EAFF E-1 Football Championship 2017 Round 2 Men’s tournament.
Coming off their 2-0 win against Chinese Taipei in the tournament opener, the AFC Asian Cup 2015 participants were forced to make do without manager Jorn Andersen, whose ejection from that match for arguing with an official led to a touchline ban.
His men were frustrated throughout the first half by Guam, whose defending showed marked improvement from their 3-2 loss to Hong Kong. Goalkeeper Douglas Herrick was caught off his line far less frequently, and even in tight situations he was frequently rescued by defenders Alexander Lee and Brandon McDonald.
The Matao quickly earned the favor of the neutral crowd, who cheered every clearance and even booed DPR Korea’s players as they moved the ball up the pitch. Their support seemed to have little effect on Guam’s offensive production, and despite a brief spell of pressure in added time the teams would head into the halftime locker room in a nil-nil deadlock.
DPR Korea continued to pressure when play resumed in the second half, and So Hyun Uk broke the game open in the 67th minute with a tremendous volley from close range to put his team ahead 1-0.
That goal seemed to take a bit of fight out of Guam, who continued to hold strong defensively but remained unable to put any solid pressure on the DPR Korea goal despite the best efforts of Guy and Shayne Malcom’s long throw-ins which got the crowd roaring.
Striker Pak Kwang Ryong put the game away in the 87th minute with a stunning free kick from just outside the Guam penalty area, bringing his team even closer to the final tournament in Japan next December.
A pair of goals bookending 90 minutes of spirited play saw DPR Korea open the EAFF E-1 Championship Men’s Round 2 with a 2-0 win over feisty Chinese Taipei on Sunday afternoon at Hong Kong’s Mong Kok Stadium.
The two sides traded attacks early in the match, and Chinese Taipei striker Wu Chun-Ching drew a free kick deep in enemy territory in the eighth minute that was regrettably wasted.
DPRK made their own attempt on goal soon after, with Chinese Taipei goalkeeper Chiu Yu-Hung forced to fend off several efforts. Despite some big saves early on, he was helpless to stop Pak Song Chol’s 16th-minute corner kick when it went into the net.
While defender Pak Myong Song was credited with the goal, the ball appears to have potentially deflected off of Chinese Taipei defender Chen Ting-Yang.
With the neutral crowd on their side, Chinese Taipei responded with inspired stretches of play but struggled to create chances on goal, a trend that continued through the final whistle.
The second half started with cagy play, and Chinese Taipei’s Chen Po-Liang and DPRK’s Kim Kuk Bom were both shown yellow cards after a scuffle at the hour mark.
Soon after sending on Kim Ju Song to relieve Myong Cha Hyon in the 64th minute, DPRK coach Jorn Andersen was forced to make a second switch when Pak Myong Song appeared to seriously injure his right leg while chasing down a Chinese Taipei attacker.
Andersen would not see Pak’s replacement, defender Sim Hyon Jin, score the team’s second goal of the match through a smooth grounder in the 87th minute; just 10 minutes earlier the Norwegian had been ejected for arguing with the officials.
The result was disappointing for Chinese Taipei coach Kazuo Kuroda, who was promoted from his position as the head of the country’s youth program on Wednesday.
The Committee also found that the DPR Korea Football Association, the DPR Korea U-16 Head Coach Yung Jong-su and the DPR Korea goalkeeper for the match Jang Paek-ho were all guilty of bringing the game into disrepute following the deliberate conceding of a goal in the 49th minute of the match and ordered:
DPR Korea Football Association: USD20,000 fine and exclusion from AFC U-19 Championship 2018 (suspended for a probationary period of one year)
DPR Korea official Yung Jong-su: USD5,000 fine and twelve (12)-month match suspension
DPR Korea player Jang Paek-ho: USD1,000 fine and twelve (12)-month match suspension
Should the U-19 representative team of the DPR Korea Football Association engage in similar behaviour in the AFC U-19 Championship 2018 (Qualifiers), they will be automatically excluded from the competition.
The effect of the match suspensions also means that Yung and Jang are now suspended from the FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017.