Sarà il derby Nord-Sud a decretare il vincitore del Campionato asiatico under-16.
I favoriti saranno i ragazzi del Sud, capaci di distruggere la Siria in semifinale con un devastante 7-1.
La RPDC ha dovuto invece sudare sette camicie per superare l’Australia.
Dopo il vantaggio firmato da Pak Yong-Gwan ad inizio secondo tempo, gli australiani hanno segnato il pareggio a cinque dal termine con Daniel Arzani.
Ci sono voluti i rigori e un grande Ri Chol-song, capace di parare due tiri degli oceanici per portare i nordcoreani in finale.
Bangkok: DPR Korea will face Korea Republic in the final of the AFC U-16 Championship after edging out Australia 4-1 on penalties following a 1-1 draw in Wednesday’s semi-final at Rajamangala Stadium.
With chances at a premium during a hard-fought contest, Park Yong-gwan’s strike just after half-time appeared to have secured victory for DPR Korea only for Australia substitute Daniel Arzani to equalise with five minutes remaining.
But with goalkeeper Ri Chol-song (pictured) saving from Jake Brimmer and Jackon Bandiera in the shootout, 2010 champions DPR Korea will face Korea Republic in Saturday’s final after the two-time winners earlier recorded a 7-1 win over Syria.
With a final meeting with Korea Republic on the line, DPR Kore made the more adventurous starts with Australia goalkeeper Duro Dragicevic kept busy as the custodian first needed two attempts to claim Choe Song-hyok’s long range effort after 26 minutes before denying Han Kwang-myong with his legs two minutes later.
Chances, though, remained at a premium in the opening 45 minutes with Australia struggling to find a way past a well-organised DPR Korea backline and goalkeeper Ri remained largely untested as Henry Davies’ long range effort in stoppage time underlining the Joeys’ frustrations.
But less than a minute into the second half DPR Korea opened the scoring as Kim Ye-bom’s pull back following a strong run down the right was met by Park and the on-rushing midfielder swept pass Dragicevic from inside the penalty area.
And DPR Korea almost doubled their lead five minutes later only for a superb one-handed reflex save from Dragicevic denying Choe after the striker had again found joy on the right before cutting into the area and firing a goal bound effort towards goal.
Despite failing behind, Australia continued to struggle in the final third and Brimmer sent a tame effort straight at Ri from just outside the penalty area with 22 minutes remaining.
But with five minutes remaining Australia drew level as Bandiera’s pull-back from the byline on the left was emphatically rifled low past Ri and into the bottom corner by substitute Arzani from the edge of the penalty area to send the tie to penalties.
DPR Korea, though, took an early lead in the shootout as Kim Wi-song and Kim Ye-bom converted either side of Ri saving from Brimmer.
Kye Francis did convert for Australia, but after Ri Kuk-hyon extended DPR Korea’s perfect record, Ri saved from Bandiera allowing Jang Song-il to seal the victory.