North Korea win Thang Long-Hanoi Football Cup

North Korea win Thang Long-Hanoi Football Cup

North Korea won the Thang Long-Hanoi Football Cup yesterday as their goalless draw with hosts Vietnam put them top of the four-team round robin group, allowing them to pick up the trophy and the $20,000 prize money in the process.

The North Koreans, who named fourteen of the players who travelled to South Africa this summer for the 2010 FIFA World Cup finals in their squad, began the tournament with a 1-0 win over the Australian Olympic side on September 20th thanks to a seventh minute Pak Song-chol effort. In their second group match on September 22nd An Chol-hyok was the second half goal hero as the Koreans defeated Kuwait U23 by a single goal.

They went into the final group match knowing a point would be enough to lift the trophy and manager Jo Tong-sop, deputising for World Cup boss Kim Jong-hun, set out a well-organised defensively-minded system to nullify their Vietnamese opponents. Despite enjoying the bulk of the pressure for most of the match Vietnam couldn’t find a way through, and came closest early in the second half when midfielder Nguyen Vu Phong rattled Ri Myong-guk’s post with a long range effort.

North Korea finished top of the four team group on seven points, with Vietnam finishing runners-up on four points ahead of Australia U23 on goal difference. Kuwait U23 finished bottom of the table on a solitary point from their three matches.

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