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Group A: DPR Korea 5-1 Australia

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Chonburi: DPR Korea kicked off their AFC U-19 Women’s Championship Thailand 2019 Group A campaign with a 5-1 win over Australia at the IPE Chonburi Stadium on Sunday.

The 2017 runners-up had to come from behind to clinch the three points against a gritty Australian side.

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The match started with DPR Korea showing their intention from the first blow of the referee's whistle as they pinned Australia in their own half in the opening minutes.

The East Asians had a first look at goal in the third minute but failed to find the target as Kim Yun-ok tried from distance and the forward then saw her close-range effort blocked by Karly Roestbakken.

Australia goalkeeper Annalee Grove was kept busy as she intercepted a pass from inside the area in the seventh minute and safely collected Ri Su-jong’s effort five minutes later.

The young Matildas, however, finally settled into the game and their persistence bore fruit in the 16th minute when they took the lead in spectacular fashion after Kyra Cooney-cross scored with a diving header, finishing off Indiah-Paige Riley’s cross from the right.

Australia's celebrations were cut short as DPR Korea fought back and drew level in the 19th minute through Kim Hyang’s well taken effort from inside the area off a rebound.

With Grove finally beaten, DPR Korea increased their pressure on Australia and almost found the back of the net again in the 25th minute but Kim Kyong-yong aimed her header straight at the custodian.

DPR Korea, however, broke the deadlock at the half-hour mark through Yun Ji-hwa, who struck from inside the box following Ryu Sol-song’s delivery from the left to take the lead into the break.

In an effort to find their way back into the tie, Australia sent on Princess Ibini in place of Indiah-Paige Riley at the start of the second half but her introduction made little impact as DPR Korea stayed in control.

The East Asians came close to scoring in the 50th minute but Kim Hyang’s shot from the edge of the box was saved by Grove, while Kim Kyong-yong failed to find the target a minute later with her effort from distance.

DPR Korea continued their pressing game and were almost rewarded in the 58th minute but Yun Ji-hwa saw her effort blocked from inside the area following Kim Kyong-yong's pass.

Australia fell further behind in the 74th minute when DPR Korea captain Ri Kum-hyang headed home Kim Yun-ok’s corner.

DPR Korea added their fourth goal in the 83rd minute with Park Il-gyong beating two defenders before finding the back of the net and the East Asians made it 5-1 with two minutes to spare through Kim Yun-ok’ strike.

Next up for DPR Korea are Vietnam on Wednesday, while Australia will be aiming to bounce back when they face Thailand.

Leah Blayney: Australia head coach

"In terms of Australia’s play today, we are very much a position-based team so the build-up that led to the goal was very good. We also had some really good exchanges of play and I think overall it was 42 percent of possession for Australia. They way we play with our style and how we run the play is a positive sign for Australia moving forward."

Song Sung-wwon: DPR Korea head coach

"Today was the first match in the group stage and because it was against Australia, it put us under a bit of pressure. The players did not play well in the first half as planned. The Australians are a strong team with quality on the bench and they struck first. But my players didn’t lose hope and they fought till the end to get the result."

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