Corea sprecona, la finale va al Qatar

Grazie ad un gol su calcio d’angolo del neoentrato (da pochi secondi) Akram Afif  il Qatar vince l’AFC U19 Championship.

Per la Corea una gara autoritaria, gestita senza particolari problemi, con la sola grande pecca di non aver finalizzato le molte occasioni create, con in particolare il palo di Jo Kwang-Myong nel primo tempo attorno al ventesimo minuto.


Super sub Akram Afif scored within seconds of coming on as Qatar claimed their maiden AFC U-19 Championship title after a 1-0 victory over DPR Korea in Thursday’s final at Thuwunna Youth Training Centre Stadium.

Yangon: Super sub Akram Afif scored within seconds of coming on as Qatar claimed their maiden AFC U-19 Championship title after a 1-0 victory over DPR Korea in Thursday’s final at Thuwunna Youth Training Centre Stadium.

Following an action-filled but goalless first half, Afif, who has started from the bench in every game he has played, was on target for the fourth time to give Qatar the lead on 50 minutes and ultimately end Korean hopes of a fourth title, despite championship glory in two of the four previous tournaments.

For the West Asians, the result caps off an undefeated campaign in Myanmar with the historic victory resulting in their first AFC championship title since they lifted the AFC U-16 Championship trophy in 1990.

Left winger Saltan Al Brake had got the action underway with the game’s first chance within the opening 10 minutes as his darting run up the flank saw his low ball across the six-yard area stabbed back towards his own goal by covering defender Min Hyo-song, who was relieved to see his goalkeeper Cha Jong-hun dive low to cut out the danger.

The Koreans were quick to respond with an opening of their own as Jin Il-sok evaded two challenges on the right to dance into the area and his low shot was almost turned in by the out-stretched leg of Jo Sol-song, but Qatar custodian Yousof Hassan pulled off an athletic stop with his feet.

Ahmed Al Sadi, the tournament’s joint-leading scorer with five goals, then had a golden chance to put his side in front on 20 minutes as Almoez Ali’s flicked header at the near post found the forward lurking by the opposite upright, his close-range shot, though, was turned behind by a sprawling Cha.

DPR Korea’s main attacking threat, Jo Kwang-myong, had an even better chance six minutes later as Hassan could only parry out a fierce header from a Kang Nam-gwon corner and Jo pounced upon the loose ball, only to see his prodded effort deflected onto the post and aside.

An Ye-gun’s red-clad charges were beginning to take control of the first period and just after the half-hour mark Ri Un-chol sent Kim Yu-song through on goal with a delicate chipped through ball that the striker adeptly controlled. Hassan, though, did just as expertly with his leaping block that turned Kim’s shot over the crossbar.

With all the goalmouth action it was with some surprise that the tie was goalless at half-time but after just five minutes of play re-starting Qatar took the lead following an inspired substitution by their coach, Felix Sanchez Bas.

After the West Asians won a corner on the 50th minute, Afif immediately took to the field and from Abdullah Al Ahrak’s resulting in-swinger the substitute rose highest to slam home a bullet header within seconds of entering the fray.

An threw on his own bench-based goal-scorer in So Jong-hyok, who had scored after coming on against Uzbekistan in the semi-final, and DPR Korea did almost find a way back into the tie on 69 minutes as a Kang free-kick whipped into the box caused consternation amongst the Arab Gulf side with the ball pinging off the head of a defender and requiring a stunning reaction save from Hassan to finger-tip the ball wide.

With just three minutes of the tie remaining, the Koreans had one final chance to save the game as they earned a free-kick on the cusp of the penalty area. But Kwang’s effort clipped the top of the wall and Qatar were able to go on the counter with Afif surging up the pitch before laying on pass for Ali whose chip over Cha beat the custodian only to bounce off the crossbar.

And shortly after, the referee called an end to proceedings sparking frenzied celebrations on the field from Sanchez Bas and his players as they revelled in their landmark achievement.


Coach An Ye-gun rued the missed chances and tiredness that according to him were to blame for DPR Korea’s 1-0 defeat to Qatar in Thursday’s AFC U-19 Championship final, as his side fell short in their quest for a fourth title at this tournament.

Yangon: Coach An Ye-gun rued the missed chances and tiredness that according to him were to blame for DPR Korea’s 1-0 defeat to Qatar in Thursday’s AFC U-19 Championship final, as his side fell short in their quest for a fourth title at this tournament.

Forwards Jo Sol-song and Jo Kwang-myong both had golden opportunities to open the scoring in the first half with the former seeing a shot blocked by Qatar goalkeeper Yousof Hassan and his strike-partner going even closer shortly after, as his close-range effort was deflected onto the upright and behind.

But in the second-half their prolificacy was punished as Qatar substitute Akram Afif nodded in a corner on the 50th minute mere seconds after coming on and although An’s side toiled in search of an equaliser, they struggled to create further meaningful openings as the West Asians claimed a maiden title.

“We had a lot of chances in the first half but we just couldn’t take them. If we could have scored just one of them it would have brought more strength to the players, but it wasn’t meant to be,” said An.

“And then Qatar scored early in the second-half which meant my players maybe felt too much pressure to quickly get an equaliser and they tried to attack too urgently and we couldn’t create our combinations.

“While I was satisfied with the players at half-time after their first half performance, in the second half they got tired and couldn’t play up to their or my expectations.”

Having qualified for the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup by virtue of finishing amongst the top four teams, An was able to reflect on a tournament which he felt would assist him and the DPR Korea side in future competitions.

“The most important thing I’ve learned from this tournament is that the players have to be physically prepared. If you are not in the right shape even if you are a good player, you will play bad,” he added.

“I also need to focus on more physicall preparations and tactical trainings before the next tournament.

“After we return to our country, we will reflect and rest, and then in March begin our preparations for the FIFA U-20 World Cup in New Zealand.

“We won the AFC U-19 Championship three times before, and I was really expecting us to get a fourth title tonight but it wasn’t to be.

“I’d like to congratulate Qatar on winning the championship and I have a feeling we will have many more chances to play against them in the future at this stage of tournaments.”

Tak Yong-Bin in Myanmar

Nel corpo tecnico della nazionale under-19 è stato inserito anche l’ex capitano della nazionale maggiore Tak Yong-Bin.

Capitano a cavallo tra gli anni 80 e 90, Tak era un centrale difensivo, ed è considerato uno dei migliori calciatori in Corea Popolare. 10641039_600592853384860_4277718315742975254_n

Nelle qualificazioni mondiali del 1986, del 1990 e del 1994 ha sempre giocato da titolare, collezionando 23 presenze ed 1 rete.  Inoltre ha collezionato 2 presenze nella Coppa d’Asia del 1988 e 5 presenze nei Giochi Asiatici del 1990.



Nuovi giovani coreani in Italia

«Domenica prossima porto l’ambasciatore della Corea del Nord a Verona per vedere Chievo- Genoa. Sabato siamo a Pescara per la partita di serie B col Carpi. Saremo in tribuna invitati dal presidente del Chievo Campedelli».

«Il Chievo – dice Razzi – è interessato alcuni dei quindici ragazzini coreani che arriveranno fra poco in Italia, a Corciano vicino Perugia. Alcuni sono dei veri fenomeni. L’ambasciatore viene per vedere dove vanno questi ragazzi, è tutto controllato dallo Stato. E’ una cosa normale, vuole essere sicuro di dove vanno i figli visto che la madre e il padre non possono farlo». «E poi – aggiunge Razzi – la notizia dell’uccisione della nazionale dopo la sconfitta con la Corea del Sud era una cazzata. Ma ‘ndo cazzo…sono bugie grosse. Ho chiamato l’ambasciatore e mi ha detto: che era falso e che ce l’hanno sempre con loro. È vero».



Players hitting peak declares delighted DPR Korea coach

Yangon: A hat-trick from Jo Kwang-myong and strikes from Kim Yu-song and So Jong-hyok saw three-time champions DPR Korea advance to the final of the AFC U-19 Championship in emphatic style with a 5-0 victory over Uzbekistan in Monday’s semi-final at Thuwunna Youth Training Centre Stadium.

Jo got his side off to a dream start with a strike on four minutes to give DPR Korea an early lead before the same player doubled the advantage on the 38th minute to put the East Asians two goals to the good at half-time.
Although Uzbekistan looked for an instant reply following halftime, in a blistering three-goal, nine minute second-half spell the game was effectively over. Jo completed his treble on 65 minutes before Kim and So netted in swift succession to take the lead to five goals and seal the fate of the 2012 semi-finalists, who had reached the final four with an unbeaten record.
And DPR Korea, who will now advance to Thursday’s final, got off to the perfect start when Jo got on the score-sheet within the opening four minutes.
The striker took advantage of some hesitant defending to cut in from the left and crash a shot against the near post, the ball then ricocheted off the woodwork to hit the prostrate form of Uzbekistan custodian Dilshod Khamraev and rebounded backwards across the goal-line.
Eldor Shomurodov almost got the White Wolves back on level terms just eight minutes later, though, as his cross-cum-shot from the right flank almost caught Cha Jong-Hun off-guard at his near post, with his belated back-tracking save needing the assistance of the left-hand post to avert the danger.
The Uzbekistan number nine continued to look the most likely to restore parity for the Central Asians, and Shomurodov broke free on the left of the penalty area just before the half-hour mark, but his low drive was deflected over the crossbar by Cha’s out-stretched leg in another sprawling save by the Korean custodian.
But DPR Korea always looked a thread on the counter and with seven minutes before the half-time interval the East Asians had their second as Jo chested down Kang Nam-gwon’s header from his central position on the edge of the penalty area before sending a well-struck volley into the bottom left-hand corner.
Following the restart, Ravshan Khaydarov threw on forward Dostonbek Khamdamov to add threat to his blunted attack, but it was DPR Korea who scored a crucial third.
And it came from a familiar source as on 65 minutes, as Jo was quickest to react to a chested down pass on the edge of the penalty area and the forward hammered a vicious half-volley past Khamraev to give him his fifth goal of the tournament and complete his hat-trick.
Shomurodov twice went close to reducing the deficit with efforts from close-range but Cha was equal to his efforts with smart saves.
But Jon Kum-dong’s twisting run on with 18 minutes remaining brought a fourth goal for An Ye-gun’s side as the full-back forced his way deep into the penalty area before cutting back for So who could not miss from six-yards out.
And two minutes later DPR Korea had their fifth as Kim Chol-min’s inch-perfect low cross from the right-flank rolled invitingly into the path of the onrushing second-half substitute So who swept the ball home.
Uzbekistan sought a consolation goal but Cha was in no mood for charity, blocking Khamdamov’s strike from close-range to ensure a clean-sheet for the Koreans as they marched confidently to their third final in the last five tournaments in ominous form.

Players hitting peak declares delighted DPR Korea coach

Yangon: Coach An Ye-gun warned his potential AFC U-19 Championship final opponents that the DPR Korea players have now hit their mental and physical peak after their comprehensive 5-0 victory over Uzbekistan in Monday’s semi-final at Thuwunna Youth Training Centre Stadium.

A hat-trick from Jo Kwang-myong and second-half goals from Kim Yu-song and So Jong-hyok underlined a hugely impressive performance from the three-time champions as Uzbekistan struggled to cope with the clinical precision of the Korean attack.

And with Thursday’s final to be the East Asians third in the last five editions of the tournament, An is confident that his players are now at their optimum playing capacity.

“In the group stage we weren’t physically recovered from our travel nor used to the environment here in Myanmar, but in today’s match we felt ready and physically and mentally strong,” said An (pictured).

“Uzbekistan, by contrast, weren’t as strong as I was anticipating and the physical condition of their player also wasn’t as good as I was expecting, that’s why we could shut down their play.

“This is also why we could focus on playing a more attacking style and when we play like we did today then you can see the result with five goals.”

Jo’s three goals also take him into the top three on the top goal scorer chart and An had words of praise for the forward.

“I started Jo on the bench for the first game but he showed me his excellent skills and the ease with which he adjusted to the environment, so I started him after that and he has put in some excellent performances since then,” added An.

Opposite number Ravshan Khaydarov blamed his players’ complacency for the heavy defeat coming on the heels of their quarter-final victory over Thailand which had secured them a place in next year’s FIFA U-20 World Cup.

“The defeat today was to do with the psychology of the youngsters in our team,” said Uzbekistan coach Khaydarov.

“After qualifying for the World Cup they were too relaxed, they thought the mission was already accomplished and maybe they thought they could easily pass the semi-final stage.

“DPR Korea had a very good shape, a good team and although we certainly played our worst performance of the tournament today that doesn’t mean the Koreans didn’t deserve the win – they were too good for us.”

The Uzbekistan coach also predicted that the East Asians, who last won the tournament in 2010, would now go on to win the title.

“If DPR Korea continue to play like this then they are stronger than their potential opponents in the final. But, of course, it’s hard to predict a winner in a 90 minute game,” he added.

Finalissima U19: RPDC – Qatar

Sarà RPDC – Qatar la finalissima del campionato asiatico under19.
I qatarioti, in semifinale, hanno superato i padroni di casa del Myanmar per 3-2.
Myanmar 2-3 Qatar (FT)
Moez 45+1 (QTA)
Aung Thu 62 min (MYA)
Nyein Chan Aung 63 min (MYA)
Afif 75min (QTA)
Abdou 92min (QTA)

Nel girone eliminatorio le due squadre si erano già incontrate: fini 3-1 per il Qatar.

5-0 ed è finale!

E’ Jo Kwang-Myong il protagonista assoluto della semifinale dell’AFC U19. Con una tripletta il centrocampista numero 13 della Corea Popolare stende l’Uzbekistan e porta la sua squadra nella finalissima.
La prima rete arriva al quinto minuto, dopo una bellissima azione partita dalla sinistra, con Jo che si accentra, salta due uomini e fa partire un destro che dopo aver sbattuto sul palo e sul portiere avversario si insacca in rete.
Il raddoppio arriva al 39 con Jo abile a sfruttare un cross dalla destra ribattuto dalla difesa. Con un tiro al volo da centro area infatti riesce a superare l’estremo difensore uzbeko.
Con la Corea che amministra senza grosse preoccupazioni l’incontro e ancora Jo a chiudere la gara al 63′ con un gol simile al secondo: cross su punizione, sponda di Kim Yu-Song e tiro da posizione centrale sul quale Khamarev non può nulla.
Al 75′ la Corea dilaga con Kim Yu-Song che da centroarea segna nella porta sguarnita.
Ma i Chollima non si fermano e 5 minuti con So Jong-Hyok trovano in contropiede il quinto gol.

Reviving a North-South sporting tradition

It was the talk of the town in October 1929.

The first-ever football tournament between Gyeongseong, as Seoul was called back then, and Pyongyang, the two main cities on the Korean Peninsula, was scheduled for Oct. 8, 1929, at Whimoon High School in Seoul.

The contest brought in the who’s who of one of the most popular sports of the era. In the 1920s – when Korea was under Japanese colonization – football became very popular in Korea, mostly among students in Seoul and Pyongyang.

The venue was overcrowded with fans who had flocked to see high-profile sports figures like Yeo Yoon-hyeong, Hyeon Jeong-ju and Lee Yeong-min.

Three rounds took place. The first game was a neck-and-neck match that ended in a tie, but Pyongyang managed to win the second and third matches.

A sporting tradition is launched

This was the start of the legendary Gyeong-Pyong Soccer Tournament.

Football fans were disappointed when the competition did not take place in 1931 and 1932 due to internal issues of the organizers, but it was revived in 1933.

“From this year, the joyous regular match will take place,” a Dong-a Ilbo article on Oct. 8, 1933, reported, under the headline “Big festivities in the area of football, Gyeong-Pyong.”

But the tournament stopped running in 1935 amid Japanese pressure and issues such as controversial referee calls and fights between cheer squads. In 1946, a year after Korea was liberated from Japan, the beloved tournament was revived. But amid political chaos and the ensuing division of the country after the 1950-53 Korean War, it was never repeated.

Yonhap News recently reported that Seoul City Mayor Park Won-soon is working to bring the tournament back next year to mark the 70th anniversary of Korea’s liberation from Japanese colonial rule.

The report said the Seoul Metropolitan Government is in talks to revive the games with officials from the Korea Football Association, the Korean Olympic Committee and the Seoul Sports Council, among others. It added that it is deliberating whether it should be a game of professionals, amateurs or even teenagers.

In an Oct. 7 press conference, Park suggested he had an intention to restore the sporting tradition.

“The central government has also asked regional governments to play their roles in inter-Korean projects,” Park said.

“I believe there is a higher chance that Seoul can play its part, realizing projects like the Gyeong-Pyong Soccer Tournament and a joint concert with the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra.”

As this isn’t the first time Park has discussed his wish to revive the tournament, some media have dubbed the project Park’s “long-cherished wish.”

But Park is hardly the first Seoul city mayor to envision the Gyeong-Pyong Soccer Tournament’s comeback. In the late 1990s, former Seoul City Mayor Goh Kun suggested the possibility, although to no avail.

It took an inter-Korean match between female football teams on Sept. 29 at the Asian Games and the men’s football teams on Oct. 2, however, to remind people that culture and sports events can bring people of different ideologies together. Calls for a Gyeong-Pyong Soccer Tournament were renewed as a result.

Won Yoo-chul, a ruling Saenuri Party lawmaker, said on Oct. 8 that the conservative party had rooted for the North Korean female players at the inter-Korean match on Sept. 29, adding, “it would be nice to revive the Gyeong-Pyong Soccer Match and hold the games in Seoul and Pyongyang in turn.”

Political volatility

There have been close to no inter-Korean cultural exchanges since the North’s sinking of the South’s Cheonan warship near the Yellow Sea border in March 2010. Yet there have been increasing calls to engender cultural ties regardless of political tensions between the two Koreas, particularly because next year is special for both the South and North.

President Park Geun-hye, in her Aug. 15 liberation day speech, said that inter-Korean cooperation in the culture area could pave the way for reconciliation.

“It would mean a lot if the two Koreas plan a cultural project that can commemorate the 70th anniversary of independence,” Park said, especially citing joint archaeological explorations of cultural heritage.

But can inter-Korean cultural exchanges really be free from politics?

History says no. Take for instance the joint excavation of Manwoldae, a vast 10th-century royal palace complex in Kaesong, North Korea.

The archeological project was set to begin on July 3, 2006, during the Roh Moo-hyun administration, which sought friendly relations with the North. But on June 30, North Korean archaeologists sent a fax saying that the project had to be postponed. In October 2006, the North conducted a nuclear test souring inter-Korean relations, and it wasn’t until May 2007 that the excavation begun.

The dig was then halted in 2010 due to the Cheonan incident. It briefly resumed in 2011, but with the sudden death of former North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, archaeologists from the Communist nation retreated from the work.

The excavation didn’t take place in 2012 and 2013 but resumed this year, although sources say the Seoul government didn’t want to make a big deal out of it. One Cultural Heritage Administration insider told the Korea JoongAng Daily in September that “the government seems to want to keep low-profile of the latest excavation [due to current inter-Korean relations].”

The situation does not differ all that much with a project to create a joint dictionary for South and North Korea. The project was first inked in 2004 and in January 2006 a compilation committee was launched. However, regular meetings have been stalled since December 2009.

The meetings resumed in July this year.

At a recent parliamentary audit, lawmakers criticized the Ministry of Culture for not allocating a budget for inter-Korean cultural exchanges for next year.

“Political negotiations with the North are difficult,” said Park Chang-sik, a lawmaker with the ruling Saenuri Party, “but cultural exchanges could pave the way to convince the North to abandon its missiles and nuclear ambitions.”

BY KIM HYUNG-EUN [[email protected]]