Furious North Korean Footballers Clash With Referee After Controversial Penalty At Asian Games 2023
In a high-tension match at the Asian Games, furious North Korean footballers clash with referee after controversial penaltydecided their fate against Japan.
The trouble began when goalkeeper Kang Juh-yok was penalized for a foul on Japan's forward, Jun Nishikawa, inside the penalty box.
Tempers flared as Yuta Matsumura successfully converted the 80th-minute spot-kick, putting Japan ahead just six minutes after Kim Kuk-bom's stunning long-range goal had leveled the score.
As the full-time whistle blew, chaos erupted on the field. North Korea's players, led by Kim Kyong-sok and Captain Jang Kuk-chol, aggressively pursued Uzbek referee Rustam Lutfullin.
Lutfullin was shoved by irate players, while an assistant referee attempted to restrain the angry Kim.
Security officials rushed onto the pitch at Xiaoshan Sports Centre Stadium to intervene. North Korea's coach, Sin Yong-nam, tried to pull his players away from the confrontation. However, Coach Sin offered a surprising defense of his team's actions.
Despite winning all four of their previous matches without conceding a goal, North Korea faced defeat as Japan's Kotaro Uchino opened the scoring in the 51st minute.
Although North Korea briefly equalized, the controversial late penalty ultimately decided the match.
Japan advanced to face Hong Kong in the semifinals after Hong Kong's stunning 1-0 upset victory over Iran. In the other semifinal, South Korea will take on Uzbekistan.
Meanwhile, North Korea, silver-medalists in 2014, will look to their women's team for success as they advance to the last four following a heated 4-1 quarter-final victory over South Korea.
They will face Uzbekistan for the opportunity to play either Japan or China in Friday's final.
The incident at the Asian Games has ignited discussions about sportsmanship and behavior on the field, drawing international attention to the controversy.
Japan's coach, Go Oiwa, declined to comment on the incident when asked, emphasizing that while there were aspects of the match they were unhappy with, they could accept the overall outcome.
The event was also the national team's first taste of international competition in over four years. The squad last competed in November 2019, two months before North Korea closed its borders due to COVID-19.
The Asian Games roster was mostly made up of players aged 23 and younger, in accordance with Asian Games and Olympics rules that allow just three senior players per nation in men's soccer.
The senior squad, on the other hand, is likely to return to play shortly, with FIFAWorld Cup qualifiers beginning in November. If the DPRK competes in the qualifications, it will face Japan, Asia's top team according to FIFA rankings, again next March.
The clash between North Korean footballers and referee Rustam Lutfullin at the Asian Games has left a lasting mark on the tournament.
Despite the controversy, Japan advanced to the semifinals to face Hong Kong, while South Korea will take on Uzbekistan.
North Korea's women's team, following a heated victory, remains their country's hope for success in the competition.
The incident serves as a stark reminder of the emotions and tensions that can run high in the world of sports, sparking discussions about sportsmanship and behavior on the field.