South Korea seeks punishment for North Korea over World Cup qualifier

Above, empty stands at the Kim Il Sung Stadium in Pyongyang during the World Cup 2022 qualifying match between the Korean neighbors on October 15, 2019. (KFA/AFP)
Updated 18 October 2019

South Korea seeks punishment for North Korea over World Cup qualifier

  • The game, which was cast into media darkness because the North refused a live broadcast from Kim Il Sung Stadium, ended in a 0-0 draw
  • South Korean players said their North Korean opponents were unnecessarily physical and verbally abusive during the match

SEOUL, South Korea: The South Korean football association said Friday it has requested that North Korea be punished for blocking rival fans and media from attending a World Cup qualifier between the countries at an empty stadium in Pyongyang.
The Seoul-based KFA’s letter to the Asian Football Confederation argues that the North failed to uphold rules requiring host nations to grant visas and entries for traveling supporters and media without discrimination, KFA official Shin Jung-hoon said.
The KFA did not share the actual letter with journalists.
The game, which was cast into media darkness because the North refused a live broadcast from Kim Il Sung Stadium, ended in a 0-0 draw. South Korean players later said the North Korean players were unnecessarily physical and verbally abusive during the match.
North Korea in recent months has suspended virtually all cooperation with the South amid deadlocked nuclear negotiations with the United States, and ignored the South’s calls for discussions on media coverage and allowing South Korean fans to attend ahead of Tuesday’s game.
“(The letter) expressed regret over North Korea’s failure to separate sports and politics and said its actions over the match should be reviewed for discipline,” Shin said. “We also called for AFC efforts to ensure something like this doesn’t happen again.”
South Korean Unification Minister Kim Yeon-chul, Seoul’s point man on North Korea, told lawmakers on Thursday that the way the North handled the game was “very disappointing” and reflected the standstill in inter-Korean relations.
During qualifying for the 2010 World Cup, North Korea chose to host games against South Korea in Shanghai, refusing to hoist the South Korean flag and play the South Korean anthem on its soil.
The fate of the game in Pyongyang was uncertain until last month when the AFC informed the KFA that the North decided it would host its Group H match against the South as scheduled.
Group H also includes Lebanon, Turkmenistan and Sri Lanka.


Vardy hits double in Leicester’s 8th straight victory

Updated 09 December 2019

Vardy hits double in Leicester’s 8th straight victory

  • Leicester takes the second-place team within eight points of Liverpool

BIRMINGHAM: Jamie Vardy scored for an eighth straight game for Premier League high-flyer Leicester on Sunday with a double in a 4-1 dismantling of Aston Villa.

Kelechi Iheanacho and Jonny Evans also scored to help Leicester set a new club record of eight consecutive top-flight wins and take the second-place team within eight points of Liverpool.

Jack Grealish did make it 2-1 just before the break but the Foxes were rarely in danger.

Brendan Rodgers’ side are 14 points clear of fifth-placed Manchester United in the pursuit of Champions League qualification.

“We are up there, we are challenging and playing well,” Evans told broadcaster Sky Sports. “Probably now, today, I think people are starting to talk more about that.

“Coming away from Villa with a really good performance, I think that’s the best Villa team we have played against for quite a while and we had to grind it out and it shows we are capable of getting good results.”

By contrast, Villa is only out of the relegation zone on goal difference after slipping to a fifth defeat in seven games.

Villa was wide open and Leicester should have taken the lead after 10 minutes.

Caglar Soyuncu knocked James Maddison’s deep free-kick back for Evans, who could only shoot straight at goalkeeper Tom Heaton.

Immediately, Villa broke to spurn their own golden chance when Matt Targett crossed for Anwar El Ghazi to hit the bar from six yards. With the chance went Villa’s early hopes and they swiftly lost any grip of the game when Vardy continued his scoring streak in the 20th minute.

Wesley lost the ball and the lively Iheanacho slipped the striker in to race clear and round Heaton. Vardy miscued his kick when preparing to shoot but recovered to tap in, despite Konsa’s efforts on the line.

Vardy is now just three games away from equalling his own Premier League record of scoring in 11 consecutive games.

Villa’s problems were partly of their own making with center back Tyrone Mings unable to cover having already suffered a hamstring injury and the defender was immediately replaced by Bjorn Engels.

Villa could not handle Vardy’s pace and Iheanacho’s movement.

There was a touch of fortune but Leicester deserved to double its lead in the 41st when Maddison crossed and Iheanacho diverted in at the near post.

The Foxes were cruising but Grealish pulled a goal back in first-half injury time when he curled in from 16 yards after the visitors failed to clear a corner.

Leicester, though, wasted no time in restoring their two-goal lead four minutes after the break.