Group B: DPR Korea 1-0 Thailand
Jiangyin: Ri Hun’s second minute goal secured DPR Korea a 1-0 win over Thailand in Group B of the AFC U23 Championship China 2018 on Wednesday.
The win for DPR Korea meant they continued their undefeated streak since the Qualifiers last July.
DPR Korea took an early lead after Ri Hun beat goalkeeper Nont Muangngam to open the scoring in the second minute, courtesy of Choe Ju-song’s through pass.
The synergy between Ri Hun, An Song-il and Jo Kwang-myong was impressive, as they pounded the Thai defence with a barrage of attempts.
In the 30th minute, Kwang-myong dribbled through the middle, before passing to Kim Yu-song but his shot struck the bar
The young War Elephants’ closest attempt came five minutes before the half-time whistle, when Chaiyawat Buran’s promising cross into the box looked to have set up Supachok Sarachat for a finish but custodian Kang Ju-hyok was alert to the effort at the Jiangyin Sports Center.
After the restart, Zoran Jankovic’s side returned more eager and introduced Tanasith Siripala to the fray in the 56th minute, who immediately made a significant change to their offence.
Nonetheless, DPR Korea kept their pressure on Thailand with Kim Yu-song’s shot in the 75th minute which sailed just above the post.
With minutes left on the clock, Thailand’s final attempt on goal came in the form of Siripala’s cross into the box, but was headed clear by the Korean defence.
DPR Korea will look to build on their momentum as they take on Palestine on Saturday, while Thailand will face defending champions Japan in the day’s later match.
Ju Song-il: DPR Korea head coach
“Today we won 1-0, but the players didn’t play the way we wanted them to play. And we have a lot of things to improve, and we hope they play better in the next match.Personally, the Thai defenders were not quick but they did well. They had too much space in between. We only scored one goal, but we created numerous chances, and I hope we can finish better.”
Zoran Jankovic: Thailand head coach
“It’s very difficult when you concede a goal in the first few minutes, especially against DPR Korea who are a strong team. We played the way we wanted to play, but the early goal was the only problem. The way DPR Korea play is tough, great ball handling and strong, but we had a few good chances as well.”