In a repeat of the 2010 AFC Challenge Cup final, Turkmenistan takes on DPR Korea in the title clash for this year's edition. Goal.com previews the clash....
This Monday, the curtains come down on the AFC Challenge Cup 2012. And with it the winner, of this tournament meant for the emerging nations in Asia, earn the grand prize of automatic qualification for the 2015 Asia Cup to be held in Australia.
There have been a few questions asked about DPR Korea's presence in the tournament. After all, a team having participated in the grandest stage of them all, the FIFA World Cup in 2010, surely has enough merit to be not counted among countries in need of exposure at the highest level. Hence it is no surprise that the Chollima have dominated their way into the finals, something they were largely expected to do. With a full strength side, they are certainly favourites in the final.
With Pak Nam-Chol in supreme form in the middle of the midfield, and the solid Ri Kwang-Chon at the back, with Jang Kuk-Chol as a goal scoring substitute, they have dominated as a team throughout the length of the torunament and will be looking forward to waltz their way out of Nepal with the title.
Few would have thought that a repeat of the 2010 Cup Final is a possibility, but Turkmenistan have shown loads of determination, courage and the desire to win, which has lead them to this stage. The Green Army has been effective since Day 1 when they ran their socks off on the way to a 3-1 victory over Maldives in their opening Group A encounter,and in the semi finals against a highly spirited Philippines side a late comeback ensured their passage into the final. At the start of the tournament it had appeared that they would miss the services of both Wahyt Orazsahedow and Ruslan Mingazow due to club commitments, but the Skonto Riga midfielder Mingazow did make it to Nepal, and his presence behind top scorer Amanow has been influential. Like DPR Korea, Turkmenistan have no further major absentees.
Can his troops upstage the much fancied Chollimas? : Turkmen coach Hojageldiyev
|| DID YOU KNOW?
- This is the first time in the history of the tournament that a final is being repeated. DPR Korea and Turkmenistan had met in the last edition, and the Koreans won due to a penalty miss by the current Green men top scorer Arslanmyrat Amanow.
- DPR Korea are the first team in the history of the tournament to reach into the finals without conceding a single goal.
- If Pak Nam Chol does score two goals, it will be a hattrick of North Koreans getting the golden boot award in the tournament. In 2008 it was Pak Song-Chol, and in 2010 it was Ryang Gong-Gi.
- Ryang Gong-Gi is also the first and only player to win both Golden Boot and Most Valuable player award.