MANILA, Philippines – After putting up a strong defensive effort against North Korea in the first 45 minutes, the Philippine Azkals gave in under the defending champions’ constant pressure during their 2012 Challenge Cup match on Friday.
The Azkals showed great courage against the fast-paced North Koreans, who secured the win with 2 goals in the second half.
The Azkals were able to hold the North Koreans scoreless in the first half with the Nationals' backline keeping the opposition at bay.
Neil Etheridge had spectacular saves in the first 45 minutes of play, including parrying Pak Son Chol's penalty kick in the 18th minute.
The Azkals had a scare when the Filipino-British keeper nearly got injured after ramming into Pak as he came out from the goal.
In the second half, the North Koreans were more determined in pounding the Azkals’ defense.
Pak Nam Chol struck a goal off a header in the 58th minute to put the North Koreans ahead.
In the 70th minute, Jang Kuk Chol scored another goal for the North Koreans after Etheridge fumbled in saving the ball.
The game statistics showed that the North Koreans were more aggressive in attacking the goal. They had had 16 shots at the goal, while the Azkals only had 6.
The Azkals, meanwhile, had 8 saves. The North Koreans only needed 2.
The Philippines will next face former champion India on March 11 (Sunday).