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2018 AFC U-19 Championship Day 2 - Defending Champions Japan pummels North Korea; Thailand squeeze in two late goals to draw Iraq

ANALYST
Feature
20 Oct 2018, 10:19 IST

Takefusa Kubo's stunning free-kick gave the lead for Japan against North Korea
Takefusa Kubo's stunning free-kick gave the lead for Japan against North Korea

It was an exciting day two at the AFC Under-19 Championships, with the Group B encounters at the Pakansari Stadium, Cibinong witnessing 13 goals in total.

Group B: Iraq drew Thailand 3-3

(IRQ - Moamel Abdulridha 37', Wakaa Ramadhan 42', Hasan Abdulkareem 66'; THA - Kritsada Kaman 26', Korawich Tasa 87', Suphanat Mueanta 94')

The first match saw a thrilling late equalizer in injury time after a sluggish Iraqi defense gave away two late goals to draw the match.

Both teams employed a 4-4-2 formation, but Thailand later switched to a 3-5-2 formation with midfielder Kittiach Parnithi taking fullback duties. Sampan Kesi and Sarawut Munjit turned into wingbacks as they went on to dominate 69% of ball possession.

Also Read: Day one recap of AFC Under-19 Championships - Hosts Indonesia crush Taipei; Emirates gets past Qatar

Thailand who was pressing hard took the early lead after a scratchy clearance following a corner when Kritsada Kaman turned in a right foot shot from Kittipong's shot at close range.

Iraq responded well to score the equalizer in the 37th minute after a through pass from Ahmed Sarthip as Moamel Abdulridha slotted the ball past to the left of Thailand custodian Nopphon Lakhonphon from the center of the box.

Suphanat Mueanta's injury minute strike snatched a draw for Thailand (Image Courtesy: Football Tribe)
Suphanat Mueanta's injury minute strike snatched a draw for Thailand (Image Courtesy: Football Tribe)
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Hasan Abdulkareem's defence-splitting pass, found Wakaa Ramadhan dribbling past Lakhonphon to shoot the ball into an empty net to hand Iraq the lead before half-time.

Thailand left acres of space in search of a goal as Iraq counter-attacked with an excellent left-footed strike from Hasan Abdulkareem to the right-hand top corner.

The Thai defence won 21 tackles, and 70% of their aerial duels, which held them in good stead to deny any more opportunities for the Iraqi's. Converting 543 completed passes for an accuracy of 85%, Thailand made a mockery of the Iraqi defense in the dying moments. 

An unmarked Korawich chested down a long pass from Hassawat Nopnate and slotted the ball past the Iraqi goalie to reduce the deficit.

Substitute Suphanat struck in the 94th minute after Haval Bahaalddin's punch landed in front of the Iraq goalmouth for Suphanat to head home the equalizer to snatch the victory away from Iraq.

Group B: Japan defeat North Korea 5-2.

(JPN - Koki Saito 8', Hiroki Ito 19', Takefusa Kubo 65', Taisei Miyashiro 89', Hiroki Abe 93'; PRK - Kye Tam 36', Kang Kuk-Chol II 41')

Japan employed a 4-4-2 formation moved into a 2-5-3 style. With a 42% crossing accuracy, the strikers enjoyed more opportunities at the North Korean goal. Midfielder Koki Saito moved into an attacking left wing position with Yukinari and Shunki acting as wingbacks.

Japan was quick to get off the blocks after a through pass from Kubo found Koki Saito whose initial shot was saved by Kim Ju-Song. However, the rebound fell back to Sato who buried it behind the net.

A stunning 30-yard left-footed strike from Japanese captain Hiroki Ito towards the bottom right corner doubled the lead for the defending Champions.

North Korea began with a 4-5-1 formation which tapered to a 4-3-3 formation with Kim Ji Song and Kang Kuk-Chol II providing support for the lone forward Kim Hwi Wang. It finally bore fruit as the Koreans reduced the deficit with Kye Tam’s finish at the near post from Kim Hwi-Hwang’s cross which got past the diving Japanese goalkeeper Kosei Tani.

A defensive lapse from Ayumu Seko of Japan prompted him to push out Kye Tam inside the penalty zone forcing the Qatari referee Khamis Al-Kuwari to grant a penalty and book Seko with a yellow card. Kang Kuk-Chol II stepped up to slot in the penalty to draw the scores level.

North Korea was threatening with their counter-attacks as Japan were looking for their third goal to break the deadlock. Japan was handed a lifeline when they were awarded a free-kick in the 65th minute. Takefusa Kubo nicknamed the “Japanese Messi” did justice to the name with a curling left-footer into the top right corner to put Japan ahead.

Things got a bit out of hand when Sin Kwang-Sok from Korea was shown the red card after stepping on Yuta Goke’s chest in the 81st minute.

Following a fast break, Yuta Goke sent the ball to Taisei Miyashiro whose right footed shot to the bottom left corner made it 4-2 for Japan.

Hiroki Abe sent a right footed shot past the North Korean custodian from Fujimoto’s cross to demolish North Korea late in injury time.

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