AFC U-19 Championship: Thailand snatch quarter-final berth from DPR Korea

Gabriel Tan Gabriel Tan

Thailand have qualified for the quarter-finals of the AFC U-19 Championship after claiming a 2-1 win over DPR Korea at the Patriot Candrabhaga Stadium on Thursday.

It was the Thais who opened the scoring in the 38th minute when 16-year-old starlet Suphanat Mueanta showed excellent composure to keep his cool inside the area, skipping past a defender before squaring a pass to leave Sampan Kesi with a simple tap-in.

DPR Korea had an excellent chance to equalise five minutes later after Kim Kuk-jin had been felled inside the area by Nopphon Lakhonphon, but the Thailand goalkeeper made amends by guessing right to keep out Kye Tam’s penalty.

However, there was to be no denying the North Koreans on the stroke of halftime when a visionary pass by Kye released Kang Kuk-chol, who advanced on goal before coolly finishing past into the bottom corner.

But it was Thailand who had the last laugh when they snatched the winning goal with just 12 minutes remaining; Korrawit Tasa charging down an attempted clearance by Kim Pom-hyok to break free inside the area before calmly slotting past Kim Ju-song.

The victory saw the Thais overtake DPR Korea in second place by a solitary point to progress as Group B runners-up, while first-placed Japan maintained their 100 per cent record in the tournament with a 5-0 rout of Iraq courtesy of goals from Yuta Taki (10’), Kyosuke Tagawa (27’), Taichi Hara (34’, 77’) and Koki Saito (85’).

THAILAND: Nopphon Lakhonphon, Peerapat Kaminthong (Sampan Kesi 24’), Kritsada Kaman, Anusak Jaiphet, Kittipong Sansanit, Kittitach Pranithi, Ekanit Panya (Matee Sarakum 71’), Airfan Doloh, Suphanat Mueanta, Sittichok Paso (Hassawat Nopnate 54’), Korrawit Tasa.

DPR KOREA: Kim Ju-song, Kim Kyong-sok, Sin Kwang-sok, Kim Pom-hyok, Pak Kwang-chon, Yun Min, Kim Ji-song (Jang Un-gwang 85’), Jon Yong-song (Kang Song-jin 71’), Kye Tam, Kang Kuk-chol, Kim Kuk-jin (Kim Hwi-hwang 73’).

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