The DPR Korea football team claimed victory in a home match with its Uzbek rival on Tuesday at Kim Il Sung Stadium as part of the second-round Asian regional preliminaries in Group H for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Four (4) first half goals laid the foundations for DPR Korea’s second win of the 2018 FIFA World Cup/2019 AFC Asian Cup joint-qualifiers, as the Koreans downed fellow 2015 AFC Asian Cup participants Uzbekistan by a comfortable final of 4-2 on Tuesday.
Meeting for the first time since the Uzbeks defeated the Koreans 1-0 in the group stage of Australia 2015, DPR Korea went about atoning for that loss in Sydney with authority and the game looked effectively over as a contest by the half-time interval, with Kim Chang-bok’s charges taking a 4-0 lead into the break.
The Chollima team hit the ground running at a packed Kim Il Sung Stadium with Pak Kwang-ryong, putting the DPRK 1-0 ahead with just four minutes played into the match. Fans began chanting “Cho-Li-Ma” in support of the national club.
Pyongyang FC defender Jang Kuk-chol doubled DPR Korea’s lead 12 minutes later to 2-0, and afterward Ro Hak-su got his name on the score sheet as well with the third goal in the 34th minute. Ri Hyok-chol put further distance between the two-time AFC Challenge Cup winners and the Uzbeks with goal number four almost two minutes later.
Igor Sergeev – scorer of the winning goal against the DPRK at Stadium Australia back in the Asian Cup meeting back in January – gave the Uzbeks a lifeline when he found the net eight minutes into the second half before Sardor Rashidov halved the deficit with Uzbekistan’s second with 11 minutes left to play. However, an already difficult task was made even harder when Uzbekistan were reduced to ten men just a minute later when UAE-based midfielder Azizbek Haydarov picked up his second yellow card of the game after Malaysian referee Mohd Amirul Izwan Bin Yacoob had booked the Al Shabab midfielder with one minute of the first half remaining.
With a man less, the Uzbeks were unable to make any further inroads in the final ten minutes as DPR Korea toughened up with their defenders, on the road to enjoying their second win of the qualifiers following last week’s 1-0 win over Yemen. The Chollima team leads the Group H standings with a 100.0% win record. Stats from the match were recorded by officials from FIFA and the DPR Korea Football Association.
From here, the participating teams will compete according to a double round robin format, with the Round 2 qualification matches being held between June 11, 2015 and March 29, 2016. The group winners and four best runners-up (total 12 teams) will advance to the 2019 AFC Asian Cup finals and the final round of qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The next best 24 teams from the preliminary stage of the joint qualifiers will compete in a separate competition for the remaining slots (12 slots or 11 slots + 1 slot for the host) in the 24-team 2019 Asian Cup.
A complete replay of the game can be found uploaded onto such sites as YouTube and FIFA’s official website, formally located at www.fifa.com.