Yun Jong-Su’s boys enter the knockout stages of the competition with a perfect record as they meet Palestine in the semis...
India’s miserable performance in the 2012 edition of the Challenge Cup came to a close as DPR Korea showed no mercy as they were handed out a 4-0 thrashing at the Rangsala Dashrath Stadium, Nepal in their final group B match.
Goals from Jon Kwang-Ik and Ri Kwang-Hyok before the break, while Pak Nam-Chol I and Ri Chol-Myong added their names to the scoreline in the second half to rub further salt to India’s injuries after making an exit out of the group stages.
This has been the Blue Tigers’ worst ever performance in the history of the Challenge Cup as never before have they failed to find the back of the net in a single match, including the last time around in 2010 and back in 2006 when they had sent their number two side to compete.
DPR Korea made just one change to their line-up with Jang Kuk-Chol came in for Song-Chol II Pak as coach Yun Jong-Su preferred to not use the game as an opportunity to test his bench. Savio Medeira tinkered with his starting eleven with as many as five changes from the previous match as Subhashis Chowdhury, Jewel Raja, Nirmal Chettri, Sushil Singh and Anthony Pereira started with Karanjit Singh, Adil Khan, Samir Naik, Joaquim Abranches and Francis Fernandes making their way out.
It took just three minutes for the team from the Far East to take the lead as Jon Kwang-Ik’s shot from the edge of the box, after a poor clearance from a free-kick, found the far post as the Indian defense was caught napping while goalkeeper Subhashis was wrong footed. This was after Jewel Raja conceded a needless free-kick by fouling the eventual goal scorer.
They could have easily doubled the scoreline six minutes later when Jon Kwang-Ik’s looping ball saw Jong Il-Gwan and Jang Kuk-Chol fail to connect as the ball went straight to Chowdhury.
It was DPR Korea all over as they looked threatening with each move. Jong ll-Gwan had an opportunity when he took on Syed Nabi inside the box and his shot somehow fails to find the target in the 22nd minute.
Just around the half hour mark, Anthony Pereira and Jewel Raja combined on the right to find Chhetri who laid the ball for Sushil whose shot went wide.
Ri Kwang-Hyok added his name on the scoresheet as he slotted the ball in with ease after Subhashis couldn’t latch onto the ball after making a save off Ri Chol-Myong’s fierce shot from the right. Syed Nabi was found wanting in this instance while Raju Gaikwad couldn’t cover either. Gouramangi Moirangthem was on the goal-line to clear in case Subhashis’ fails to stop. However among all this, India were 2-0 down.
Once again it was Sunil Chhetri who had the best chance, though a difficult one, for India as he did well to chest the ball and cut inside to beat Ri Kwang-Chon and unleash a left footed shot which sailed over.
It was thanks to the linesman that India weren’t 3-0 down at the break as Jong-II Gwan had scored only to realize that he was in an offside position. Subhasis could only stop the ball from going in from a Jang Kuk-Chol header and Gwan was around to complete the final rites.
After the break too it was the same story as DPR Korea saw more of the ball and one would have to scratch his head to recollect the instances India came out of their own half. Such was their dominance that India could only come up with two meek shots on target, one from Chhetri and the other from Jewel Raja.
Pak Nam-Chol l scored for his side for the third straight game as he picked up on a defensive error made by the Indians. After a misclearance in the 18 yards box, Nam-Chol I cut past a couple of shirts, Gouramangi slided, Subhashis anticipated a shot a little too early and the midfielder made a mockery of the back-line by walking the ball home.
Ri-Chol Myong scored the fourth goal under no pressure from the defenders as he put his head to good use from a Ri Kwang-Hyok cross from the right. Nirmal Chettri allowed the player far too much space to work the ball inside the area for his team-mate to score.
Substitute Kim Ju-Song also had a couple of opportunities to score but he was once denied by Gaikwad and on the other occasion, he sent it over the bar.
The defending champions are the favourites to win the competition yet again as a berth in the 2015 Asian Cup beckons. Team India have been poor in their displays and for sure, it does raise the question of the standard of football played in the country.
How do you stay up to date with football when on the move? With http://m.goal.com – your best source for mobile coverage of the beautiful game.