Qualifiers - Group G: DPR Korea, Hong Kong edge closer
Ulaanbaatar: DPR Korea came from behind to earn a 1-1 draw against Singapore, while Hong Kong claimed their first victory on Matchday Two of the AFC U-23 Championship Thailand 2020 Qualifiers at the MFF Stadium on Sunday.
DPR Korea and Hong Kong are tied with four points apiece, followed by Singapore who have now settled for two draws in two matches.
The East Asians face Hong Kong in their final qualifying match, while Singapore will have to beat Mongolia on Tuesday to keep their hopes alive.
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Singapore 1-1 DPR Korea
DPR Korea, who defeated Mongolia 1-0 on Matchday One, were stunned in the first minute when they fell behind to a goal by Ikhsan Fandi Ahmad.
In an excellent build-up play which started from defence, Singapore pressed forward and No Hami Syahin’s through pass found Ikhsan on the left who muscled his way into the danger area before firing a low drive through the legs of DPR goalkeeper Kang Ju-Hyok.
The young Cholima, however, did not give up and fought back to equalise six minutes later, through Pak Kwang-Hun’s fine strike, after some good work by Kang Kuk-Chol who fed him the ball from outside the box.
DPR Korea began to press harder and came close to breaking the deadlock in the 12th minute but Kim Kuk Jin’s shot lacked punch and was easily dealt with by Singapore goalkeeper Zharfan Rohaizad.
Rohaizad was called into action again as he made several saves as the score remained 1-1 at half-time.
The tempo of the game stayed the same in the second half with both teams trying their best to break the deadlock, but neither side came close to finding the net.
However, with 15 minutes left in the game, DPR Korea came within inches of scoring a second when a cross from the right made its way into the box but Rohaizad was in top form to deflect the ball and parry the follow-up as the teams settled for a draw.
Mongolia 0-1 Hong Kong
Hong Kong bounced back from their Matchday One draw against Singapore to pick up all three points when a Yue Tze Nam second half strike settled the score against Mongolia.
Both teams were equally matched in the first half with neither side finding the back of the net following Mongolia's missed penalty attempt in the 29th minute.
The East Asians started the second half with purpose and their perseverance finally paid off in the 71st minute through Yue's effort.
Mongolia bow out of the qualifying race for Thailand 2020 after failing to secure points following two matches. The young Blue Wolves will be hoping to end on a high though when they take on Singapore on Tuesday.
Photos: Mongolia Football Federation
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