North Korea moved level on points with Hong Kong in Group B of the 2019 Asian Cup qualification after an emphatic 4-1 win over Malaysia in a match played at a neutral venue in Buriram, Thailand. Korea were head and shoulders better than their Malaysian counterparts and could have won by a bigger margin had their finishing been better.
This was the win that North Korea were looking for after a 5-0 mauling that they received at the hands of Lebanon in their last match in the group. Pak Kwang Ryong opened the scoring early in the first half which was then followed by goals from Kim Yu Song, Kim Yong Il and Jong Il Gwan.
Malaysia did pulled one back in the second half through a Safawi Rasid strike but North Korea regained their composure to snuff out any hope of a comeback. Head coach Jorn Andersen praised his team's performance after the match, claiming that they were the far superior side in the match.
"For my team, it was a good concentrated game from the beginning. We tried to start in high tempo, to press them, to disrupt them and to attack them. And I think the first half was really good."
"I think the early goal was very important. After this penalty, we still maintain the pressure. Always important to take the first goal but you can see which team was better today. Which team want to play football today and which team want to attack today and that was DPR Korea. I don't see Malaysia team in front of our goal in the first half," said Andersen.
The 54-year-old Norwegian was glad that his team came away with a win after recent negative results. The former Mainz 05 manager also opened up on how the rearrangement of the fixture had also impacted on his team.
"Of course it's stressful to see the game postponed three times and we don't get to play at home against Malaysia but the situation is that and we have to play both games here. We win the first game and we're very satisfied."
"This game gave us some confidence. It's our first win in a long time. It's very important for us to take the victory today to show the people that we can play good football," added Andersen.
North Korea will have a chance to gain a further three points when they meet Malaysia again on Monday.