Korean Derby and goalless China

Asian football international Tuesday saw a Korean derby and a China goalless draw while the other nations went about their business. A Korean derby in Pyongyang with no TV cameras or fans though was for sure the talking point.

No goals in North Korea

A goalless draw in Korea took place and to write about this game it would be good to get the views from someone there. This was, of course, hard to do with only diplomats stationed in Pyongyang, and football officials allowed to enter the ground.

Luckily as The Korea Herald pointed out there was a Swedish diplomat by the name of Joachim Bergstrom who allowed for some insight into the match.

This was seen with a tweet emerging from the match with a photo of the scoreboard at around 80 minutes and a short video of 'handbags' between the sides.

The match itself saw South Korea starting with a strong side with only the one change from the win over Turkmenistan the previous month. In all, though it was a quiet match with neither team managing much in the way of a goal threat.

The official Asian football site even commented that the referee who ditched out two yellow cards apiece saw more action than either keeper. Both sides will now face less controversial fixtures with the North travelling to Turkmenistan and the South to Lebanon in November.

China looked poor

Leading on to China and after their comfortable win over Guam confidence seemed to be high. That confidence, however, was brought firing back down to earth after a goalless draw with the Philippines.

China did have their chances though and some decent saves from the Cardiff City keeper Neil Etheridge kept the score at 0-0. It was sure a disappointing result with recently nationalised Elkeson helpless to assist.

The Philippines may have been very defensive with their 5-4-1 formation but never the less after 12 goals in their last two matches this should have been a straightforward win. 

Japan see off Tajikistan 

To Japan and their 3-0 win away to Tajikistan in front of a crowd of around 20,000. This was not as comfortable or straight forward though as their win over Mongolia only a few days earlier. 

This was in part down to Japan unable to get hold of the ball and play in their style as the home side got into the match from the start. Part of the reason for this could be down to many of the players travelling from Europe to Japan and then jetting off on a ten-hour flight to Tajikistan. 

It would be more than understandable then if some looked fragile and am sure the players will be glad to get the three points and back on the plane home to their club sides. One key positive in this match was also the man-of-the-match performance from Takumi Minamino who scored two goals in a matter of minutes in the game. 

Smaller nations fall

Then to our smaller East Asian nations and first to Mongolia who fell to a 2-1 defeat over the Kyrgyz Republic. This was a brave performance from Mongolia who fought back in the second half after being two goals down.

In the end, though a Norjmoo second-half penalty was not enough to help the side get a point. Mongolia searched for their second and the point as Turbat Daginaa headed wide Amaraa Dulguun steered his attempt off target after a cross from the left by Tsedenbal.

Next up for the Mongolians is a trip to Myanmar in what will prove to be another difficult challenge.

Another side that has faced some hard matches is Taiwan and that was no less the case as when they hosted Australia in Kaohsiung with just over 3,000 saw the biggest win of the day with the Aussies running out 7-1 winners.

Chen Yi-wei did get on the score sheet though in this match in a moment Mark Henderson described as unforgettable. In all this was a game that showed how far Taiwan still have to go but also how far they have come.
Last up it Guam who travelled to Syria in a match they lost 4-0 after losing out to China 7-0 just a few days previously. An Omar Al Soma hattrick in this match was to be what saw off a brave Guam side. 

Guam didn't disgrace themselves in this match and pushed Syria back with some good possession football. In the end, though they did not have enough in the final third to really test their hosts. 

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