UAE holds DPRK to 0-0 draw in Asian Cup

Updated: 2011-01-12 11:21


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UAE holds DPRK to 0-0 draw in Asian Cup

United Arab Emirates' goalkeeper Majed Naser (R) dives as DPRK's Hong Yong-jo misses his penalty kick during their 2011 Asian Cup Group D soccer match at Qatar Sports Club stadium in Doha Jan 11, 2011. [Photo/Agencies]

DOHA, Qatar - The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) battled to a scoreless draw with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in their Asian Cup Group D opener on Tuesday.

DPRK, which qualified for last year's World Cup, should have taken the lead in the 10th minute after Jong Tae-se was brought down by Hamdan Al Kamali in the area, but captain Hong Yong-jo hit the crossbar with a penalty kick.

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Jong Tae-se then made a try in the 13th minute but his header went a little wider.

The UAE team then dominated in the first half and their best chance came in the 31st minute when DPRK failed to clear the ball in the area and UAE's star forward Ismaeil Matar made a powerful shot, but DPRK's goalkeeper Ri Myong-guk pulled off a fine save.

The two sides tried hard to open scoring in the second half, but both failed at last.

UAE's Ismail Al Hammadi nearly snatched a winner for his team in the 89th minute, but his header was saved by in-form DPRK goalkeeper Ri.

"If DPRK had scored off that penalty maybe it would have been different, but my team regrouped after that and took complete control," UAE coach Srecko Katanec said. "We will now have to hope the players recover and get ready for the next two games, which are very difficult ones."

DPRK coach Jo Tong-sop said his side became nervous after missing that early penalty.

"We were organized and had the penalty in the first half, but failed and after that they were tensed. My players felt the effect of the missed penalty and didn't play well," Jo said. "They have some individually skilled players while we rely on our team and their physical fitness, but for this match they lacked that and did not do well."

The Group D also features Asian Cup defending champion Iraq and Asian powerhouse Iran. The two teams will meet later on Tuesday.

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