Singapore U-15s restrict North Korea to 3-0
Singapore U-15s do well to restrict North Korea to 3-0 victory
NORTH KOREA 3
(Yun Min 15, Kye Tam 71, Ri Song Jin 90+1)
The Singapore Under-15s salvaged some pride when they matched defending AFC Under-16 champions North Korea for most of the game before beaten 3-0 at Jalan Besar Stadium last night.
This was in stark contrast to their timid capitulation in the 5-0 defeat by Thailand in their Group H opener of the AFC Under-16 Championship qualifiers on Wednesday.
In fact, with more composed finishing, the Cubs, at times silky and at times scrappy, might have even stolen a sensational draw against an unchanged North Korea side that hit Cambodia 7-0 on Wednesday.
After Yun Min's superb 15th-minute free-kick opener, Mahler Jacob William slammed one just wide from range 12 minutes later.
Khairie Abdul Hamid then sent his own free-kick just past the upright two minutes before the break.
After the restart, the Cubs conjured a 57th-minute breakaway, but Matin Mohamad could only shoot wide after being fed by Glenn Kweh.
Goalkeeper Kevin Wong also kept his team in the game with a string of superb stops from Jin Song, Kye Tam, Yun Min and Won U Song.
But V Selvaraj's boys were left to rue their missed chances as Kye Tam killed the tie in the 71st minute, scoring from Kung Jin Song's cross from the right, following a lovely dummy by Kwon Nam Hyok.
With some Singaporeans again succumbing to cramps, Paek Kwang Min rounded Kevin to set up Ri Song Jin, who added a third and gloss to their victory.
Selvaraj, who made five changes to his starting line-up, including an entire overhaul of his four-man midfield, was pleased with the spirit and discipline his side showed, but added: "We still have this problem of being unable to put the ball into the net.
"Playing a physically and technically better team, the boys were disciplined in defence and fought hard to win the loose balls.
"They can still improve on what they do when they have won the ball. And, with more fitness, they can also play better football."
North Korea Under-15 coach Kim Yong Hun also praised the hosts, saying: "I appreciate the individual tactics and Singapore's teamwork.
"They were also good on the counter-attack, while we couldn't press enough when we were attacking."
In the earlier Group H encounter, Thailand beat Cambodia 1-0 thanks to a 13th-minute winner by Korawich Tasa, who now has four goals in the competition.
This means the Cubs no longer have a chance to progress to the tournament proper, and will face Cambodia tomorrow to avoid the wooden spoon.
With an inferior goal difference, Thailand have to beat North Korea to guarantee a spot in the AFC Under-16 Championship in India next September.
- SINGAPORE: Kevin Wong, Raishyan Rahmat, Izzul Tazhar, Syed Akmal, Jordan Vestering, Matin Mohamad (Rezza Ramadhani 83), Mahler Jacob William, Fikri Junaidi (Irfan Jeferee 21), Afiq Ehwan, Khairie Abdul Hamid (Joel Chew 74), Glenn Kweh
- NORTH KOREA: Sin Tae Song, Yun Min, Cha Kwang, Kim Poh Hyok, Ri Hyon Il, Kung Jin Song (Won U Song 76), Kim Hwi Hwang (Ri Song Jin 51), Kim Chung Jin, Paek Kwang Min, Kwon Nam Hyok (Ri Jong Chol 80), Kye Tam