North Korea upbeat despite winless exit
North Korea boss Jo Tong-Sop admitted fans were "not very happy" Sunday but he said his team had learned from the Asian Cup despite failing to break their 35-year win drought.
Canberra: North Korea boss Jo Tong-Sop admitted fans were "not very happy" Sunday but he said his team had learned from the Asian Cup despite failing to break their 35-year win drought.
The Chollima ("Thousand Mile Horse") completed their Group B campaign with a third straight defeat, although they came close to a draw in the 2-1 loss to China in Canberra.
China overran the Koreans in the first-half and were 2-0 up by the break, but a spirited second-half from Jo`s men saw them pull a goal back and almost snatch the equaliser.
"Our matches were not satisfactory," Jo told reporters. "And those waiting at home are not very happy but they will encourage our team for better play in future days."
North Korea opened with a 1-0 defeat to Uzbekistan, before scoring a first Asian Cup goal in 23 years against Saudi Arabia on their way to a 4-1 defeat.
The team from the communist state have not won an Asian Cup match since 1980, when they finished fourth in Kuwait, their best ever performance.
"I can say that this tournament will be a very good experience and motivate our team for further success in coming qualification matches for the 2018 World Cup," said Jo.
North Korea required a Gao Lin own goal for their second strike in Australia but substitute So Hyon-Uk almost scored with a sweet volley near the end that rattled the crossbar.
"In the second half we played much better," Jo said. "But we were unlucky."
Jo was deputising for Yun Jong-Su, who is serving a one-year ban for his fist-shaking rant after North Korea`s tight loss to South Korea in the Asian Games final in October.