North Korea’s return to international competition after a five-year absence was a victory.
The North Korean national team defeated Chinese Taipei 2-0 in their men’s soccer Group F match at the Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games at Jinhua Zhejiang Normal University Stadium in Hangzhou, China, on Monday.
The North Koreans, who were drawn in Group F alongside Chinese Taipei, Indonesia and Kyrgyzstan, secured the top spot in Group F with the clean sheet.
The DPRK scored two goals in the first half and held on for the three points.
Ri Joguk opened the scoring in the seventh minute, and Kim Kook Jin doubled the lead five minutes later.
North Korea, which fielded a squad of players who mostly play in their national professional league, dominated Taiwan, which is made up of amateurs and university students, throughout the match.
Their attack down the right flank utilizing No. 20 Baek Cheong-song was particularly effective. Paik used his speed and individual skill to shake up the Taiwanese defense, and in the 12th minute, he broke down the right flank and sent in a cross to set up Kim Kuk-jin’s goal.
Chinese Taipei found themselves one-on-one with the goalkeeper in second-half stoppage time, but their shot sailed wide of the far post.
North Korea has been absent from international sporting events since the 2018 Asian Games in Palembang, Jakarta, citing the spread of the novel coronavirus.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) had suspended the country, but the ban expired at the end of last year, opening the way for North Korea to compete.
North Korea has sent 191 athletes to the Games in 18 sports, including soccer, track and field, wrestling, weightlifting, and shooting.
The match against Chinese Taipei was the first international competition for North Korean sports in five years.
North Korean men’s soccer has traditionally been strong at the Asian Games. At the 1978 Asian Games in Thailand, North Korea won the first Asian Games gold medal in the sport’s history, followed by a runner-up finish at the 1990 Asian Games in Beijing, China.
At the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon, they finished as runners-up in the final against South Korea.
This time around, the squad will be led by players who play in their respective professional leagues, with Jang Kuk-chol, 29, who has 62 A-match caps for the North Korean A team, joining as a wildcard and captain.토토사이트
Depending on the groupings, North Korea could meet South Korea in the tournament. If North Korea finishes second in Group F and South Korea finishes first in Group E, they will play in the round of 16.