Jo eyes brighter future after defeat

Melbourne: Coach Jo Tong-sop has urged DPR Korea’s football development to be made a top priority after Wednesday’s 4-1 defeat by Saudi Arabia ended the former semi-finalists hopes of a return to the knockout stage of the AFC Asian Cup.

Jo’s side conceded three times in the second half at Melbourne Rectangular Stadium after Ryang Yong-gi had handed 1980 semi-finalists DPR Korea a first AFC Asian Cup goal since 1992 in the 11th minute before Naif Hazazi equalised for Saudi Arabia in the first half.

And after Jo’s side also lost Saturday’s opener 1-0 to Uzbekistan in Sydney, DPR Korea again exited in the group stage of the AFC Asian Cup having picked up just one point from their three games in 2011 in Qatar after also failing to progress in 1992.

“It would be good to be part of the final matches, but our skills and level is not high enough,” said Jo.

“We are in a process of development and we need to make it better as quickly as possible to make better players for the future.”

DPR Korea had been rewarded for an aggressive start as Ryang turned home a rebound inside the opening quarter of an hour.

But after being caught cold by DPR Korea’s start, Saudi Arabia grew into the contest as the half progressed and Hazazi pulled the three-time winners level before the break.

And with Saudi Arabia maintaining their dominance after half-time, two quick-fire goals from Mohammed Al Sahlawi and a late follow up from Nawaf Al Abid following Ri Yong-jik;s dismissal after conceding a penalty, sealed the win for the Green Falcons.

“I think the start of the match was okay, but in terms of the defence it worked well until we conceded the second goal,” added Jo.

“For the second goal the players did not concentrate enough and that is the main reason, also they had some mental stress as the second goal came so easily.”

DPR Korea will round off their campaign against China in Canberra on Sunday.

“Today’s match was a decisive one for both teams and the result was not very happy for our team, but we will do our best to prepare for the next match,” said Jo.

“Although we know the final result in the competition for our team, we still have one match and we will do our best to win the match.”