DOHA - North Korea and United Arab
Emirates produced the first 0-0 draw of the Asian Cup on Tuesday
after the Koreans missed a first-half penalty in an
evenly-matched Group D match at the Qatar Sports Club Stadium.
The Koreans squandered the chance to take an early lead
after eight minutes when Hong Yong-jo failed from the penalty
spot after UAE defender Hamdam Ismaeel sent Korean striker Jong
Tae-se sprawling in the box after nudging him in the back.
Malaysian referee Subkhiddin Mohd Salleh awarded him a
yellow and not a red card, then the UAE had another let-off when
Hong cracked his penalty against the bar.
An entertaining first half produced 14 goal attempts from
both sides, although most of them were well off target.
The UAE's best clearcut chance before the break came after
32 minutes when midfielder Amer Rahman set up Ismail Matar with
a perfect through ball but Rahman's acrobatic volley flew wide
of goalkeeper Ri Myong-guk's right-hand post.
The second half was more of a war of attrition with both
defences dominating and although the play continued to switch
from end to end, there were few other real scoring chances to
entertain the 3,600 fans, the lowest crowd of the tournament so
The best save of the match came in the last minute when
goalkeeper Ri dived smartly to stop what would have been a late
winner for the UAE, hoping to improve on their poor showing in
2007 when they failed to get past the group stage.
North Korea were one of Asia's four representatives at last
year's World Cup but after a spirited display in losing narrowly
2-1 to five-times champions Brazil, they were humbled 7-0 by
Portugal and 3-0 by Ivory Coast.
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