INCHEON, South Korea – North Korea coach Yun Jong-Su attacked refereeing bias at the Asian Games football and warned that Thursday’s gold medal showdown with South Korea must be “fairly” handled.
Yun protested at decisions made during the Stalinist state’s semi-final win over Iraq. “We hope the final is refereed fairly. If so, we will fight fairly and squarely,” he said.
The North, bidding to win the gold medal for the first time since sharing it with the South in 1978, beat Iraq 1-0 in extra time to reach the final, but Yun was still seething about the officiating on Wednesday.
“Did you people see the match against Iraq yesterday?” he fumed at a news conference, still upset at the red card shown to star striker Jong Il-Gwan moments after scoring his side’s winner against Iraq, his fifth goal of the tournament.
“What did you make of it?” he added rhetorically, before continuing his rant. “Correct calls are an essential part of fair play, but things are not like that here.” Yun’s preemptive strike before a potentially explosive clash in Incheon were apparently designed to ensure South Korea do not receive any extra help from the officials in a game which will be played just 120 miles (195km) from the border.
“There were a lot of bad calls in the match yesterday,” he growled, referring to his side’s hard-fought victory over Iraq, which also saw defender Kang Kuk-Chol stretchered off in the first minute.
“Perhaps the referees can’t see things from a distance, but he failed to see things happened when he was close to the play. We hope the final is refereed fairly. If so, we will fight fairly and squarely.” Thursday’s clash between the rival Koreas will be one of the highlights of the Games, particularly as the South is hosting the event and is desperate for sporting success.
North and South Korea have remained technically in a state of war since their 1950-53 conflict which ended in a truce with no peace treaty.