Taiwan’s national soccer team fell to a 6-1 defeat at the hands of North Korea yesterday in the second round of East Asian Cup qualifiers at the Mong Kok Stadium in Hong Kong.
North Korea were 3-0 up at halftime. An Il-bom scored in the 28th minute, Pak Song-chol extended the lead six minutes later and Ri Kwang-hyok netted three minutes before the break.
On 65 minutes, Pak Nam-chol made it four and Ri Myong-jun added the fifth two minutes later.
Chen Hao-wei got a consolation for Taiwan in the 79th minute, but Ri Myong-jun added his second and North Korea’s sixth a minute before fulltime.
In the earlier match, hosts Hong Kong defeated Guam 2-1.
Chan Siu-ki scored the hosts first goal in the second minute of the game, before heading the second in the 17th to put Hong Kong in control. Guam managed to pull one back through Elias Merfalen in the 56th minute.
Taiwan are not in action tomorrow, when North Korea take on Guam at the Mong Kok Stadium at 5:50pm, followed by the hosts against Australia at 8:30pm.
Australia coach Holger Osieck told Australia’s Herald Sun newspaper his side, 33rd in FIFA’s world rankings, would not take Hong Kong, ranked No. 172, lightly.
“You must not discount the local team,” Osieck said. “It’s the start of the tournament, they’ve got the support, they are fresh and full of enthusiasm. If you play that team in the last game they may have dropped some points and it’s a different situation, but here they are full of energy and so I would never underestimate them. The first game of every tournament is always the most important and then you see how it goes.”
The winners of the tournament, which finishes next Sunday, face South Korea, Japan and China in the finals of the competition in South Korea next year.