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2012 AFC Challenge Cup: North Korea through, India eliminated

The second round Group B matches were played in the 2012 AFC Challenge Cup in Kathmandu today. Defending champions North Korea took on former champions Tajikistan at the Halchowk Stadium, while the Philippines faced another former champions in India at...

The second round Group B matches were played in the 2012 AFC Challenge Cup in Kathmandu yesterday. Defending champions North Korea took on former champions Tajikistan at the Halchowk Stadium, while the Philippines faced another former champions in India at the Dashrath Stadium.

Group B

Tajikistan 0-2 (0-1) North Korea
Defending champions North Korea confirmed their place in the semifinals of the 2012 AFC Challenge Cup with a 2-0 victory against Tajikistan at the Halchowk Stadium, Kathmandu on Sunday. The North Koreans made a perfect start as they took the lead after just four minutes when Nam-Chol Pak was given too much time and space by the Tajik defence, allowing the midfielder to fire low past keeper Alisher Tuychiev. The North Korean had more of the game, but their finishing let them down as only four minutes from time they seal their victory when substitute Kuk-Chol Jang overcame a poor first touch to create space and beat Tuychiev from inside the penalty area.

Philippines 2-0 (1-0) India
The Philippines upset India 2-0 at the Dashrath Stadium, Kathmandu to keep their chances of progressing to the semifinals at the 2012 AFC Challenge Cup alive, while the 2008 champions are out of the competition. Former Chelsea FC Youth player Philip Younghusband scored both the goals for the Azkals on either side of the break. Younghusband showed his skills inside the box after receiving a sublime cross from the flank by fullback Jason Sabio and coolly directed the ball past India keeper Karanjit Singh as the Philippines took a 1-0 lead in the 11th minute. Man of the match Younghusband completed his brace and put the match beyond India’s reach after a brilliant one-two with his brother James Younghusband before finding the top corner in the 74th minute that left Karanjit rooted to the spot. Chettri got a golden opportunity to reduce the deficit in the 87th minute but he fired the ball well wide from the 18-yard box after Sushil Singh fed the unmarked striker with Azkals goalie Neil Etheridge nowhere in sight. For India their match on Tuesday against North Korea is just of statistical interest, while the Philippines have a real final against Tajikistan then the winner would move into the semifinals.

Published with permission from Arunava Chaudhuri.

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