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NoKor gets even with the Azkals in a clinical thrashing

Pak Kwang-Ryong and North Korea dealt the Azkals a rare double whammy at home.
By Kevin Estrada

MANILA-- Revenge is a best dish served ice cold.

That's what North Korea did to the Philippines, with their clinical finishing key to their 3-1 win in their friendly yesterday night at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.

Jørn Andersen's side silenced the decent Manila crowd with goals by Pak Kwang Ryong, Pak Song Chol and Jong Il Gwan to get even on their agonizing defeat in the final World Cup Qualifier last March 29 also at the same site.

Substitute Iain Ramsay pulled one back for the home side in the second half but the Azkals have slumped to back to back home defeats for the first time since last year, and that will be a cause of concern for Thomas Dooley, with the ASEAN Championship just six weeks away.

Dooley made drastic changes fron last Friday's setback to Bahrain, giving Mike Ott his first start in just his second game for the side to replace the injured Misagh Bahadoran, as Ceres' Roland Muller got the nod between the sticks over Patrick Deyto who let in three against Bahrain.

However, it was the visiting North Koreans who are more active on the pitch, as they punished the sluggish defense of the hosts just eleven minutes in, with the towering forward headed the ball past a stranded Muller from a Song Chol corner.

Both Kwang Ryong and Song Chol switched roles seven minutes before half-time, with the latter converted from a tight angle after blitzing thru the right wing courtesy of a well-taken pass from the Lausanne striker to double their advantage.

NoKor continued their aggression at the restart, as they opened the second half with a shot that went off the post just five minutes in.

Kevin Ingreso could have put the Azkals on board in the 67th minute but had his effort went wide, as Il Gwan made them pay dearly right after that miss, scoring on a counter to put the match away amidst the torrential downpour.

Despite the deficit, the Azkals pushed for a consolation, and were rewarded by the clubless Ramsay, haunting Ri Myong Guk once again in the 76th minute, five minutes after he came on for Ingreso.

However, they could not find two more goals to avoid losing back-to-back at home for the first time since last year, when the Azkals were crushed by Uzbekistan and Yemen in crucial World Cup Qualifiers.

Follow him on Twitter: @KevinLEstrada