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MD4 - Group H: DPR Korea 0-0 Korea Republic

Pyongyang: The first competitive meeting between DPR Korea and Korea Republic in Pyongyang ended in a stalemate, with the two sides playing out a scoreless draw in their FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup China 2023 Asian Qualifiers Group H match at Kim Il Sung Stadium on Tuesday.

Both unbeaten and yet to concede a goal in Group H, the teams emerged with both records still intact, with Korea Republic remaining at the top of the group on goal difference after three matches.

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Appearing in Pyongyang for the first time in any fixture since 1989, Korea Republic began with 10 of the 11 starters from last-month’s 2-0 win in Turkmenistan, with Kim Shin-wook’s four goals against Sri Lanka on Thursday not enough to earn a place in Paulo Bento’s line-up.

Hwang Ui-jo led the line, with Song Heung-min and Na Sang-ho forming a front three for the visitors, while Europe-based forwards Jong Il-gwan and Han Kwang-song were given the attacking responsibly for Yun Jong-su’s side.

Bento – the first foreign coach to lead the Korea Republic national team in Pyongyang – replaced Na with in-form Red Bull Salzburg forward Hwang Hee-chan at half-time in an attempt to spark his side.

But Qatari referee Abdulrahman Al Jassim remained busier than either goalkeeper, booking DPR Korea’s Ri Un-chol in the first minute after the break, before both of Korea Republic’s central defenders, Kim Min-jae and Kim Young-gwon, were shown yellow cards shortly after.

The towering Kim Shin-wook was brought on with 11 minutes remaining, while DPR Korea introduced Kim Kum-chol, but a goal failed to materialise as the match finished deadlocked.

Both sides face away days when Asian Qualifiers' action continues next month, with Korea Republic to travel to Lebanon on November 14, the same day DPR Korea meet Turkmenistan.

Korea Republic and DPR Korea will cross paths once more in Group H, with Bento’s side to host their neighbours next June.

Photos: DPR Korea Football Association

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