AFC U-23 Championship: Thailand fall to early DPR Korea strike

Gabriel Tan Gabriel Tan

Thailand were unable to get their 2018 AFC U-23 Championship Group B campaign off to a positive start as they lost 1-0 to DPR Korea on Wednesday.

It took the North Koreans just two minutes to break the deadlock, as slack defending from the Thais allowed Ri Hun to run onto Choe Ju-song’s over-the-top pass and poke his shot past the onrushing Nont Muangngam.

Stunned at falling behind so early, Thailand attempted to muster an immediate response and were unlucky not to equalise in the 15th minute.

A corner by Chaiyawat Buran was flicked on by Worawut Namvech and – with opposition keeper Kang Ju-hyok in no man’s land – Saringkarn Promsupa somehow managed to send his header into the bar with the entire goal to aim for.

It was then DPR Korea’s turn to be denied by the woodwork right on the half-hour mark as Kim Yu-song was fed by Jo Kwang-myong and curled away a lovely left-footed effort that had Nont beaten all ends up, only for it to come back off the post.

As the game wore on, Thailand tried their best to level the scores and began to push forward with increased intent, although their opponents also looked dangerous on the counterattack.

But, in the end, the Thais were just unable to break down a resolute defensive display as the North Koreans held out to tentatively move top of Group B, ahead of Wednesday’s second game between Japan and Palestine.

DPR KOREA: Kang Ju-hyok, An Song-il, Song Kum-song, Kim Nam-il, Kang Kuk-chol, Jo Kwang-myong, Ri Un-chol, Kim Kuk-bom, Choe Ju-song (Choe Song-hyok 46’), Ri Hun, Kim Yu-song (So Jong-hyok 85’).

THAILAND: Nont Muangngam, Jakkit Wachpirom, Saringkarn Promsupa, Worawut Namvech, Saharat Pongsuwan, Ratthanakorn Maikami, Worachit Kanitsribampen (Sirimongkhon Jitbanjong 72’), Supachok Sarachat, Picha Autra (Anon Amornlerdsak 85’), Chaiyawat Buran (Tanasith Siripala 56’), Chenrop Samphaodi.