Miserable end to India's campaign

The Indian football team rounded off a miserable campaign in the AFC Challenge Cup, blanked 0-4 by strong contenders DPR Korea in their last league encounter at the Dashrath stadium here on Tuesday.

This was India’s third defeat in a row in a competition in which the team failed to score a single goal while conceding eight.

Korea’s goals came through Jon Kwang Ik (fourth minute), Ri Kwang Hyok (34th minute), Pak Nam Chol (58th minute) and Ri Chol Myong (70th minute).

The Koreans, who have won all their three league matches, topped Group B and moved into the semifinals with nine points.

Even prior to the kick-off, Korea stayed overwhelming favourites.

Apart from their superior FIFA ranking, they boasted of seven World Cuppers who had represented their country in the 2010 edition.

Korea never allowed the Indians to settle down as they struggled to match the east-Asian nation’s pace.

Defensive lapses only added to India’s misery and the only scoring chance for the team came in the 39th minute of the match.

But skipper Sunil Chhetri’s left-footer, after being fed by Francis Fernandes, missed the target.

Defensive lapse

Korea surged ahead early when Jon Kwang Ik capitalised on a defensive lapse to slot home and Ri Kwang Hyok doubled the lead in the 34th minute.

It was a familiar script even after the change-over. Coach Savio Medeira did introduce fresh legs but even that didn’t help.

Pak Nam Chol and Ri Chol Myong completed the rout in the 58th and 70th minutes respectively.

In another match Philippines defeated Tajikistan (2-1) and qualified for the semifinals as the second team from the Group B. 

India had lost to Tajikistan 0-2 in the opening match of the competition while the defending champions went down by the same margin to Philippines in the second encounter.

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