4th Match 2008.2.20
|73min. 12/JONG Tae Se||21min. 11/YEOM Ki Hun|
DPR Korea, aiming for their first ever championship, scored an important draw in their first match with Japan. A win versus 2-3 champions Korea Rep. would put them equal on points in the lead and from the outset they heaped pressure on Korea Rep. But come from behind winners in their previous match versus China, Korea Rep displayed skillful passing and controlled the game. In the 9th minute YEOM Ki Hun collected the ball in the middle and unleashed a powerful long range shot. DPR Korea goalkeeper RI Myong Guk’s fine save denied him a goal but then just 1 minute later YEOM Ki Hun had an effort following a good pass into the box.
To counter Korea Rep’s speed DPR Korea played the same formation as in their 1-1 match versus Japan, with RI Jun Il leading 3 at the back. They desperately defended in front of their own goal. But in the 21st minute Korea Rep won a free kick just on the edge of the box and YEOM Ki Hun crisp left footed shot flew into the top left corner to put Korea Rep into the lead.
The strategy of breaking on counter attacks that had been successful against Japan wasn't working in this match due to the physical JONG Tae Se being penalized for fouls. In the 28th minute MUN In Guk’s passing interchange with PAK Nam Chol lead to a right foot shot. In the 31st, JONG Tae Se got a pass from KIM Yong Jun and tried a right footed effort but the ball was blocked by Korea Rep. a defender. Korea Rep. were playing a safe game plan so as not to give up the precious lead. KIM Nam Il’s floating 41st minute pass was controlled by KANG Min Soo who beat his defender and unleashed a close range shot. Goalkeeper RI Myong Guk pulled off a super save to deny this shot too and the half finished with DPR Korea taking three corners in a row all if which Korea Rep dealt with calmly, the half ending 1-0.
Just after the second half started the game came to life. In the 48th minute DPR Korea’s PAK Chol Jin was shown his second yellow card and sent off. Forced to play with just 10 men they changed from a 5-4-1 to a 4-4-１ formation. DPR Korea wanted to tighten up defenses but Korea Rep. wanted to add another goal to take advantage of their extra man and in the 54th minute Korea Rep’s CHO Won Hee tried a long range shot. Then in the 59th minute LEE Keun Ho took a ball on the left and shot immediately increasing the pressure on the DPR Korea goal. Despite only having 10 men DPR Korea created chances such as JONG Tae Se’s first time shot from HAN Song Chol’s 60th minute cross and RI Kwang Chon shot following a rebound in the 66th minute. DPR Korea were having success on the fast break especially through 20 year old substitute KIM Kum Il who broke on the right. Elsewhere JONG Tae Se was cutting out passes and working so hard it hardly seemed they were a man down.
Then DPR Korea’s star striker answered his team’s prayers. In the 73rd minute JONG Tae Se picked up CHA Jong Hyok’s long pass and broke free after beating a defender. Then pushing on to his right foot he shot and scored to bulge the net. With this deep blow JONG Tae Se celebrated but then warned his teammates “It (the goal) was a fluke. I just wanted to keep defending so we didn't regret anything later. I’m glad to have contributed”. One man down DPR Korea lit up the stadium with this dramatic equalizer.
Just after this equalized Korea Rep.’s PARK Won Jae crossed from the right and LEE Keun Ho shot from close range. However, DPR Korea goalkeeper RI Myong Guk was in fine form and dived out to make another great save and deny the goal. In the 81st minute Korea Rep were in a good position but a DPR Korea defender blocked the shot with a desperate dive.
Korea Rep. then attempted long balls towards the front and attacks down the wings in an attempt to get the winner but they couldn’t break down DPR Korea’s defenses. In extra time LEE Keun Ho got the ball in the DPR Korea penalty area and in the final chanc eof the match it was only DPR Korea’s defensive spirit that prevented a goal. In the end they could only score once from 19 shots. DPR Korea’s 10 men were rewarded with a 1-1 draw. Because of this result and based on the results of the final two matches of this tournament three teams including Japan now have a chance of winning this championship.
Korea Rep.’s head coach HUH Jung Moo said of the match “We played against DPR Korea with everything we had. But we are not satisfied with the result of the match. We couldn’t score despite all of the chances we had”. The other head coach, DPR Korea’s KIM Jong Hun said “I am grateful to the endless spirit of the 10 players who fought so hard even after one of our players was sent off”.