North Korea won Laos in Asian Youth Games 2009

Posted by samakomlao Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Democratic People's Republic (D.P.R.) of Korea have booked their place in the semi-finals of the football competition with a last gasp goal to beat Lao People's Democratic Republic (P.D.R.) 4-2.

It was a scene right out of the movie scripts. Ironically, as "Game of Their Lives", a movie featuring the D.P.R. of Korea football team's fairytale run in the 1966 World Cup, was premiering in Singapore, one featuring their Under-14 side in the 1st Asian Youth Games (AYG) Singapore 2009 was also taking place at Temasek Polytechnic.

Group B's final match between D.P.R. of Korea and Lao P.D.R. was not for the faint hearted, as the lead changed hands three times throughout the match. Even then, it was the injury time goal that saw D.P.R. of Korea oust Saudi Arabia to take second spot in Group B. (refer to group table below)

D.P.R. of Korea needed to make up the difference of three points and the goal difference of six goals to overtake Saudi Arabia for second spot in Group B.

They seemed well on the way to fulfilling the goal tally needed in on 17 minutes when Jo Sol Song poked home a Ro Kwang Yong freekick that crashed off the crossbar.

But the Laotian boys were up for the game and struck back three minutes later. Striker Lembo Saysana intercepted a clearance and made a penetrating run past the Korean defence. Clear on goal, he sent in a low driving shot that left Korean goalkeeper Kwon Kum Chol with no chance.

Emboldened by the equalizer, Lao P.D.R. went in search of another goal. Keomoukda Sisanon stood over a freekick right outside the D.P.R. of Korea penalty box and curled in a powerful shot to give his side a surprise 2-1 lead.

It looked as if it was not meant to be for D.P.R. of Korea. Right after the restart, Ro Kwang Yong managed to find Laotian goalkeeper Soukthavy Soundala one-on-one, but his shot struck the left goalpost. Strike partner Jo Kwang Mong was first to the rebound but his shot bounced off the other goalpost.

Jo Jol Song came through for his side yet again in the 45th minute. He chased down a high through ball behind the Laotian defense and passed the ball across onrushing goalkeeper Soukthavy Soundala to team mate Ri Jong Hyok. Ri made no mistake from point blank range to equalise for D.P.R. of Korea.

The Korean side could smell the winning goal coming and increased the pressure on Lao P.D.R.'s defence. Ri Jong Hyok managed to infiltrate the Laotian defence to give his side the lead with a goal similar to Lao P.D.R.'s first.

News filtered through in the 70th minute that the Republic of Korea was leading 5-0, meaning that D.P.R. of Korea needed just one more goal to go through, and the crowd began to urge the Korean boys on.

It was all-out attack for D.P.R. of Korea, but Lao P.D.R.'s substitute goalkeeper Southakone Thammada was on hand to stop several point blank shots.

In the second minute of stoppage time, it looked as if it was a case of 'so near, yet so far' for the Koreans, but enter Jo Jol Song. Ro Kwang Yong's powerful shot was saved by Southakone Thammada, and Jo was quickest to the parried ball, smashing home a dramatic goal to bag his second of the day, and give his side the required two-goal lead.

Alex Tran, manager of the Lao P.D.R. team, was happy for his boys: "I told them to go play their game today. They were too concerned about the opponents' size before. I told them to just enjoy themselves, the result doesn't matter, and they did play well."

Top goal scorer for the Laotian side Lembo Saysana was happy despite not making it to the semi-finals: "I am very happy; it is my first experience in such a big tournament. It has been a memorable time in Singapore. I wish I don't need to go back, but I have to."

D.P.R. of Korea coach was glad to qualify for the next stage. He said: "We were pressured coming into this game. We knew we had to make six goals and win to at least have a chance. The boys were not told the result of the other match, they were told to just give their best, and luckily for us, we made it through."

He added: "I don't think we played our best today, they (Lao P.D.R.) scored two goals against us. We must improve on that when we play in the semi-finals."

D.P.R. of Korea hero Jo Jol Song said happily: " I am happy for the goal, and more because it is important to the team, who worked hard in this tournament."

Country P W D L F A GD PTS
Republic of Korea 3 3 0 0 16 1 15 9
D.P.R. of Korea 3 1 1 1 6 7 -1 4
Saudi Arabia 3 1 1 1 6 8 -2 4
Lao P.D.R. 3 0 0 3 4 16 -12 0

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