Last night the Philippines went down 3-1 to a determined DPRK team in an extremely physical match.
After suffering a 3-1 loss to Bahrain last week, the Azkals were looking to bounce back and get preparations back on track for the upcoming group stage of the ASEAN Football Federation Suzuki Cup. Unfortunately the Azkals just couldn’t match it with the fast paced Koreans and were out classed for the majority of the game.
Last time these two teams met was March this year in the FIFA World Cup Qualifying match at Rizal Memorial Stadium, with Philippines coming out on top 3-2, winning with a last minute goal that ended all hope of DPRK’s chance of progressing to the next round of the World Cup Qualifying.
After missing out on a chance to make the 2018 World Cup, DPRK brought in Norwegian, Jorn Anderson, as head coach, the first foreign coach since 1991. Anderson has been building a new team with a great mix of young and experienced players.
After suffering several injuries in there previous match against Bahrain last week, the Azkals came out with a slightly different looking team, add to that James Younghusband getting injured in the 18th minute and the Azkals were always going to be in trouble.
The Azkals controlled the first 5 minutes of the game, before the Koreans found there feet and in the 11th minute, Pak Kwang Ryong, kicked there first goal with a superb header off a corner and they took complete control from that point on. Pak Song Chol added another in the 38th minute, to have the visitors leading 2-0 at half time.
In a rain soaked second half, the Azkals came out with more pace led by Stephan Markus Schrock, whose lightning runs down the wings looked to be the only thing keeping the Azkals in with a chance at levelling the scores. However it wasn’t enough with Jong Il Gwan kicking DPRKs 3rd in the 68th minute. The only relief for the Azkals came from Iain Ramsay with a goal in the 76th minute.
With more friendly matches coming up in November before the ASEAN Football Federation Suzuki Cup, the Azkals are going to have to manage there injuries and have a lot of hard work to do if they are going to be in competitive.