North Korea’s men’s soccer team has won its second straight group stage match at the Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games.
North Korea defeated Kyrgyzstan 1-0 in the second match of their men’s soccer Group F match at the Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games on Monday at the Zhejiang Sabodae East Stadium in Jinhua, Zhejiang Province, China.
Kim Kuk-jin scored the winning goal in the 20th minute, his second goal in as many games.
North Korea, which won its first game 2-0 against Chinese Taipei on Sept. 19, has now won two in a row to move into sole possession of first place (6 points) and improve its chances of qualifying for the round of 16.
North Korea has secured third place regardless of the outcome of its final group game against Indonesia.
Men’s soccer at the tournament is divided into six groups, with the 12 first- and second-place teams from each group and the four best third-place teams advancing to the round of 16.
If North Korea finishes second in its group, it will face South Korea, which finished first in Group E, in the Round of 16 in a “North-South” matchup.
Indonesia, which lost 0-1 to Chinese Taipei in its previous match, is in second place with one win and one loss (3 points).
The match between North Korea and Indonesia will kick off at the same venue at 5 p.m. ET on June 24.
North Korea, which hasn’t played since the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) U-23 Championship in January 2020, has been impressive in its first international tournament in three years and eight months, playing its trademark straightforward, fast soccer.
Once again, North Korea put Kyrgyzstan under intense pressure with its fast-paced soccer.
Left fullback Kim Bum-hyok and speedy right winger Paik Chong-sung would deliver the ball into the danger zone, and Kim Kook-jin and Ri Jo-guk would be on the doorstep looking to score.
North Korea finally got on the board in the 20th minute when Kang Kuk-chol sent in a cross from the right and Kim Kuk-jin finished with a right-footed turner into the bottom left corner of the goal.
Despite a Kyrgyz player closing in on him, Kim kept his center of gravity and slotted the ball home.
As the game drew to a close, Kyrgyzstan made a number of attacks, but they were unable to break through North Korea’s stout defense anchored by veteran center back Jang Kook-chul, a silver medalist at the 2014 Incheon Games.
About 30 North Korean supporters wearing white T-shirts with artificial aircraft on them cheered enthusiastically from the stands, chanting “Good job, DPRK!” and other slogans. 파워볼게임