Buriram: Kim Yu-song netted a first-half hat-trick as DPR Korea beat Malaysia 4-1 for the second time in four days to go clear in second spot in Group B of the AFC Asian Cup 2019 Qualifiers at the I-Mobile Stadium in Buriram, Thailand on Monday.
The Koreans had dismissed the challenge of Malaysia 4-1 in Friday’s first match of a double header in neutral Thailand, and it was just as easy second time around for Joern Andersen’s side against a Malaysian team that featured eight changes to the starting lineup.
The only action of note in a frantic opening 10 minutes came when Pak Kwang-ryong’s 25-yard free-kick sailed over Hafizul Hakim’s crossbar in the sixth minute.
But it was a very familiar looking goal that saw DPR Korea take the lead after just 15 minutes.
Jong Il-gwan’s corner from the left was headed home by Kim (pictured above), the same combination that had put them 2-0 up on Friday.
Five minutes later, DPR Korea went two ahead from another corner. This time, Jong crossed from the right and Pak’s flick-on found Kim, who netted from six yards out.
Shell-shocked Malaysia struggled to get into the game, and Ri Myong-guk was having a very quiet night in the DPR Korea goal.
Kim struck again just before the half-time whistle to complete his hat-trick as he turned in Sim Hyon-jin’s cross from the right.
There was little in the way of goalmouth action in the second half as the Koreans were happy to consolidate their lead, while damage limitation suited Malaysia.
But Pak piled on the misery for Malaysia when he tapped in Ri Un-chol’s cross to make it 4-0 to DPR Korea in the 79th minute.
Safawi Rasid responded with a fine strike for Malaysia in the 85th minute, but it was too little, too late as Nelo Vingada’s men fell out of contention for qualification.