North Korea became the 22nd nation to qualify for next January’s AFC Asian Cup on Tuesday night with an emphatic 2-0 win over Hong Kong at Pyongyang’s Kim Il-Sung Stadium.
The hosts took the lead through Luzern striker Jong Il-Gwan’s goal in the 18th minute, with SKN St. Polten forward Pak Kwang-Ryong doubling the lead just six minutes later.
Roughly 40 Hong Kong supporters made the journey to Pyongyang according to Offside HK editor Christie Leung, who provided English-language match coverage via translations of the Hong Kong Premier League’s play-by-play updates.
FT. Norea Korea 2:0 Hong Kong. Here comes the end of HK's journey to UAE Asian Cup 2019. 😢Was an expected result but the early injury to Helio made it even more difficult for HK.
— christie leung (@christie_1122) March 27, 2018
The match was not broadcast live after Hong Kong broadcaster Now TV balked at the $127,000 fee requested by the North Korean Football Association, according to the South China Morning Post.
The win ensures that head coach Jorn Andersen’s men will finish second in Group B behind Lebanon, who are already through to the UAE-hosted main event with 13 points.
With a seed in Pot 4 likely, the reclusive nation will hope to improve on their 2011 and 2015 Asian Cup campaigns, both of which ended without a win.