India went down 2-5 against DPR Korea in their second match of the 2019 Intercontinental Cup at the TransStadia Arena in Ahmedabad on Saturday.
Jong Il Gwan (8', 29'), Sim Hyon Jin (16'), Ri Un Chol (63') and Ri Jin (90+2') were on target for DPR Korea to guide them to a comfortable win. Lallianzuala Chhangte (51') and Sunil Chhetri (71') scored the consolation goals for the home side.
Igor Stimac made nine changes in the Indian starting XI which suffered a 4-2 defeat against Tajikistan in the tournament opener. Only Sunil Chhetri and Amarjit Singh kept their place. ATK forward Jobby Justin, who had replaced Chhetri in the last game in the 87th minute made a full debut.
There were three changes in the DPR Korea side which lost 5-2 against Syria in their first match. The two fullbacks Thong and Chang along with misfiring striker Kim Yong Il made way for Hong Song, Kim Bom and Ri Jin.
The visitors took just eight minutes to break the deadlock as skipper Jong Il Gwan scored from a brilliant curling free-kick. Amarjit Singh had pulled off an ugly challenge on Sim Hyon Jin which resulted in the free-kick.
Chhetri missed a golden opportunity to equalize within three minutes of conceding the opening goal. Brandon’s curling free-kick from the right flank found an unmarked Chhetri inside the box but the skipper failed to keep the free header in between the sticks.
DPR Korea piled on India’s misery by taking a formidable three-goal lead within just half an hour of the match. The second goal came from Sim Hyon’s foot who scored after receiving a through ball from Ri Un Chol. Sim took advantage of Sandesh Jhingan being out of position and comfortably found the back of the net.
The third goal was even more embarrassing for the Indian team as skipper Jong Il Gwan converted a comfortable header from inside the box from P Song’s cross. Amrinder conceded the goal through the near post.
Stimac made two crucial changes in the second half as Lallianzuala Chhangte and Udanta Singh were introduced on the flanks in place of ineffective Manvir Singh and Brandon Fernandes.
Chhangte proved to be ‘Super Sub’ as he pulled one back for India in the 51st minute from Sunil Chhetri’s pass. From a counter-attack, Chhetri advanced with the ball and fed Chhangte at the of the box who slotted the ball home.
Just when India were starting to dominate proceedings and were looking positive in their approach, the visitors scored once more in the 63rd minute from a counter attack. Once again the defenders were caught napping as Ri Un Chol received a through ball from Jong Il Gwan and found the back of the net.
Chhetri scored the second goal for India in 71st from Udanta’s cross. Udanta and Sahal exchanged a couple of passes inside the box before the Bengaluru winger found the skipper who somehow managed to push the ball into the net with his knee.
Just minutes before the final whistle, the visiting team hammered the final nail on India's coffin a Ri Jin found the back of the net from Ri Un Chol's cross.
For India to qualify for the final they will now have to score more than six goals against Syria and hope Tajikistan beat DPR Korea in the last match.