The first-division men's football tournament heats up as part of the DPRK Championships.
There was a match between the Amnokgang and April 25 teams at Kim Il Sung Stadium in Pyongyang on September 14.
It was the fifth match for both teams this year.
In March, the April 25 beat the Amnokgang 4-1 in the first round of the 2022-2023 DPRK Premier League. In the football tournament of the 2023 Spring National Sports Festival held in April, the former beat the latter again 3-0 in a penalty shoot-out. The two teams tied 2-2 in the second round of the DPRK Premier League in May.
This match was a watershed for the Amnokgang team.
In the final match of the Hwaeppul (Torch) Cup soccer tournament in August, the Amnokgang beat the April 25 3-2 and lifted the trophy.
So the recent match was the focus of attention of both experts and fans, as it was played only 17 days after the previous one between the two local powers and it was hard to predict how the match would go and which team would win.
The game was very close from the beginning.
It was really a cliff-hanger for the supporters of both teams as penalties and corner kicks were frequently declared through the scramble for ball in the midfield and the melees in front of the goal.
In the 38th minute of the match the Amnokgang scored the opening goal in an instant as No. 17 Kwon Hyok Jun took a long pass at the right side, dribbled through the opponent’s defenders and centred the ball and No. 25 Kim Han Song headed it into the net.
The second goal was also scored by the Amnokgang.
The game grew fiercer after the Amnokgang was awarded a penalty kick for the April 25 team’s hand-touch and No. 17 Kwon Hyok Jun scored the penalty goal to lead the opponent 2-0.
After scoring one goal in around 77th minute, the April 25 mounted attacks to take advantage of the favourable condition that an Amnokgang’s midfielder was red-carded, but in vain.
Finally, the Amnokgang won the match 2-1.
As a result, the team won seven points with two wins and one draw in three matches and the April 25 earned six points with two wins and one defeat in three matches.
After the match, Kim Myong Chol, chief coach of the Amnokgang, was acclaimed by the audience.
He showed that it was no accident that his team lifted the trophy in the Hwaeppul Cup soccer tournament.
He took charge of the team in December last year, but has coached the team to success this year though several veteran players are absent.
After the match, No. 25 Kim Han Song of the Amnokgang said: “Preparing for the recent match, the coach discussed many times with us how to maintain close cooperation between players in the ever-changing situation of game and directed efforts to making us players become familiar with it.”