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DPR Korea help Andersen reach his targets

Pyongyang: Jorn Andersen believes he is leaving the DPR Korea national team in a much stronger position than when he arrived to take charge two years ago after signing off as head coach by securing a berth at next year’s AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019.

DPR Korea needed to avoid defeat against Hong Kong on Tuesday to clinch qualification to the Finals for a third tournament in a row and goals from Jong Il-gwan and Pak Kwang-ryong proved enough to claim all three points.

Andersen’s team finished qualifying in second place in Group B, five points behind winners Lebanon but well clear of third placed Hong Kong and basement dwellers Malaysia as they booked their spot in the Finals.

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“It was a good game for us, our set up tactically was very good,” said the Norwegian. “We were under pressure before the game because we were playing at home and we had to win.

“We started well, we created many chances and controlled the game. Once we scored the first goal, the game was finished.

“Everyone is happy. Before, we knew we had to not lose the match and in our view we played well tactically.

“After we went 2-0 up, we defended well. Hong Kong aren't a big team but we know they can cause problems from the games that we have played against them before. But we had the situation under control.”

While DPR Korea will be making the journey to West Asia next January, Andersen will not be joining them at the Finals.

“This was my last game with DPR Korea and I will leave on Saturday,” he said. “I’ve got some offers for my next job but I haven’t decided where I want to go. I’m still open to ideas. 

"I learned a lot and I like working in Asia. I’ve worked here for two years and there have been good developments for the team.

“When I came here I was given two targets, to qualify for the East Asian Championship in Japan last year and after that, to qualify for the AFC Asian Cup.

“There was also a third, which was to change the playing style of the team. When I came here they only played long balls and running and fighting without tactics.

“Now we are playing football, we are advancing and tactically we are good. That is for me the most important point.”