North Korea pip Oman on penalties to reach the AFC U-16 Championship semis

Goa: Captain Kim Pom-hyok equalised late then scored the decisive spot kick as holders North Korea kept their AFC U-16 Championship defence alive and booked a semi-final date with Iran after seeing off Oman 4-2 on penalties following a 1-1 draw in the last eight on Monday.

An even opening 45 minutes at Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium saw Korea’s Yun Min miss from the spot, before substitute Muadh Al Jahdhami put Oman in front on 79 minutes.

But the East Asians hit back five minutes later through Pom-hyok and with no further goals the tie was decided on penalties.

Both sides netted two of their first three spot kicks but after Cha Kwang put the Koreans 3-2 to the good Al Jahdhami missed and Kim Pom-hyok kept his composure to secure a 4-2 shootout victory.

The win also guaranteed Korea’s progression to the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup as one of the tournament’s four highest-placed finishers.

Oman had the first strike on target when three-goal forward Arshad Al Alawi’s low drive from distance was comfortably gathered by goalkeeper Sin Tae-song on 13 minutes.

The East Asians hit back almost immediately as the outstretched Pom-hyok fired just over after getting on the end of Yun’s corner from the right.

As an open game ensued Thamir Al Zaabi drew Sin Tae-song into a low diving save from 15 yards in the 13th minute before Korea were awarded a penalty midway through the half.

Khalid Al Baraa’s shove on the recently introduced Ri Kang-guk earned the defender a yellow card, but Yun was unable to take advantage as his spot kick struck the outside of the left post and parity was maintained.

Yun then tried to make amends on the half hour when he lashed in a powerful effort from 25 yards that was parried out by ‘keeper Yousuf Al Sheyadi.

And the Koreans should have gone into the interval a goal to the good but Pom-hyok headed Han Kyong-hun’s delivery from the left straight at Al Sheyadi in first-half stoppage time.

Oman had their best chance of the game eight minutes after the restart when Mohammed Al Alawi cut back to unmarked Al Jahdhami, whose left-foot effort from 15 yards sailed over the crossbar.

With the tie firmly in the balance it was the East Asians who had the next sight on goal 65 minutes in as Sin Kwang-sok slipped in Kye Tam only for the midfielder to scuff narrowly wide.

But as the half wore on it was Oman who looked the more likely to open the scoring and so it proved with just over 10 minutes remaining.

Mohammed Al Alawi again played in Al Jahdhami and the forward cut in from the right before firing low past Sin Tae-song to spark joyous celebrations on the Oman bench.

The goal spurred the defending champions into life, though, and Pom-hyok levelled on 84 minutes after heading home Kwang-sok’s inch-perfect cross from the right.

With no extra-time played at the AFC youth tournament, the tie went directly to penalties and Kye struck first for Korea before Tae-song saved from Arshad Al Alawi’s to allow Yun to open up a two-goal advantage.

Mohammed Al Qaidi netted and Al Sheyadi tipped Kim Kyong-sok’s effort onto the bar before Yousuf Al Malki restored parity at 2-2.

Cha put the Koreans back in front before Al Jahdhami struck the woodwork and Pom-hyok put Korea into the semi-final.

(Credits: AFC Media)

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