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Intercontinental Cup 2019: India lose 2-5 to North Korea in tale of two halves



Sahal Abdul Samad was one of India’s second-half substitutes who turned the game around after half-time (Twitter/@IndianFootball)

India went down 2-5 to North Korea in their second match of the Intercontinental Cup in Ahmedabad on Saturday to suffer their second consecutive defeat. India had lost 2-4 to Tajikistan previously in this competition. India will now face Syria on July 16 in their last round-robin match.

India had made nine changes to their starting XI in the match. Skipper Jong Gwan scored the first goal of the match from a free kick in the 8th minute to give DPR Korea the lead. Sim Jin got their second goal in the 16th minute to silence the stadium. In the 29th minute, Jong Gwan headed in a cross to make it 3-0 to the visitors.

India started the second half brightly, with substitute Lallianzuala Chhangte scoring in the 50th minute. India ramped up their attacks after the first goal, with substitutes Anirudh Thapa, Udanta Singh and Sahal Samad also showcasing some sensational dribbing skills and raw pace. However, the Korean side scored against the run of play in the 63rd minute through Ri Chol to go 4-1 up.

Sunil Chhetri got his feet to a cross in the 71st minute to make the score 4-2. Another goal against the run of play in injury time made the score 5-2 in the visitors’ favour.

India, Tajikistan, Syria and DPR Korea are the four teams playing this tournament. Syria are the highest ranked side, sitting 85th in the FIFA World Rankings, while India are 101st. The Tajiks are ranked 120th in the world while the North Koreans are ranked 122nd. The tournament will see all four teams facing each other in a round robin format before the top two teams taking on each other in a final to decide the winners of the second edition. The final is slated to be held on July 19.