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2012 AFC Challenge Cup: North Korea & Turkmenistan reach final

The two semifinals at the 2012 AFC Challenge Cup were played today at the Dashrath Stadium, Kathmandu. In the first semifinal Group A winners Turkmenistan took on surprise entrants the Philippines, while in the second semifinal defending champions Nort...

The two semifinals at the 2012 AFC Challenge Cup were yesterday at the Dashrath Stadium, Kathmandu. In the first semifinal Group A winners Turkmenistan took on surprise entrants the Philippines, while in the second semifinal defending champions North Korea took on Palestine.

Group B

Turkmenistan 2-1 (0-1) Philippines
Turkmenistan overcame a fighting Philippines to reach the finals of the 2012 AFC Challenge Cup. The Central Asian side won 2-1 and will now try to improve on their last years runners-up finish in 2010. The Philippines looked more dangerous at the start and took a deserving 25th minute lead when Phil Younghusband headed home Mulders’ cross, his fourth of the campaign. But things would change in the second session with Arslanmyrat Amanov equalising for Turkmenistan in the 79th minute and things got worse for the Philippines when Guvanch Abylov robbed fellow substitute Roel Gener the ball and set-up Gahryman Chonkayev who scored the winner with four minutes left to play. The Philippines disappointment was compounded in stoppage-time when keeper Neil Etheridge was red carded for an off the ball incident involving goal scorer Chonkayev.

North Korea 2-0 (1-0) Palestine
Defending champions North Korea have reached the final again with a 2-0 win against Palestine at the 2012 AFC Challenge Cup semifinal at the Dashrath Stadium, Kathmandu. North Korea put pressure on Palestine, but only in the 42nd minute they made the breakthrough with Kwang-Ryong Pak firing the ball into the Palestine net after an earlier shot had bounced back off the underside of the crossbar. The East Asians kept the pressure on the West Asians with the second goal coming in the 69th minute once more through Kwang-Ryong Pak who capitalised on the poor Palestinian defending, skipped past Saleh with ease and side-footed the ball into the empty net to cap a comfortable win. It was enough as North Korea won the match 2-0.

Published with permission from Arunava Chaudhuri.

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