Indonesia 0-2 North Korea
10 September 2012, Gelora Bung Karno Stadium, Surabaya
Scorers: Pak Song-Chol, Jong Il-Gwan
Unofficial Football World Champions North Korea retained their title with this relatively comfortable friendly win over Indonesia. The North Korean Chollima went into the match as heavy favourites, but it was not until Indonesia were reduced to ten men that the champions managed to prove their superiority.
Indonesia’s Merah Putih, or Garuda, had won only one of their previous ten matches, conceding 30 goals along the way. The Chollima, on the other hand, were unbeaten in eight UFWC title matches, having taken the title from Japan in January, and held on to it through a victorious AFC Challenge Cup campaign.
Indonesia lined up with Samsul Arif and Irfan Bachdim up front for this SCTV Cup match, sponsored by a local TV station. Manager Habil Marati and coach Nil Maizar left the highly rated striker Titus Bonai on the bench. The North Korean team featured several names that will be familiar to UFWC followers, including Ri Myung-Guk, Pak Song-Chol and both Pak Nam-Chols.
The first half was fairly even, with the solid North Koreans failing to show enough quality in the final third of the pitch to get on the scoreboard. In fact, it was Indonesia who came closest to scoring, with Okto Maniani hitting the post. The game was goalless at half-time.
Indonesia held on for another twenty minutes in the second half, and then disaster struck, with defender Handi Ramdhan shown a red card for a foul on the edge of the penalty area. Pak Song-Chol stepped up to take the free kick for North Korea, and the number nine rolled a perfect shot past the defensive wall and into bottom corner of the Indonesian net. 67 minutes gone, and North Korea were 1-0 up.
Both sides made substitutions as the game progressed, with Indonesia brining on Titus Bonai, and North Korea introducing big 19-year-old centre forward Jong Il-Gwan, who was linked with a move to Newcastle United in the English Premier League over the summer – in rumours which proved to be unfounded.
Jong Il-Gwan has impressed for his country over their UFWC reign, and he was in the right place on this occasion to score a header from a rebound, after Indonesian keeper Endra Prasetya had parried an initial effort from An Il-Bom. There were 77 minutes on the clock, and the Koreans had doubled their lead.
There was no way back from that point for the Indonesians. They had not been outclassed, but couldn’t quite match the UFWC champions. North Korea won 2-0, retained the UFWC title, and presumably won the SCTV Cup, too.
So that’s nine games unbeaten as Unofficial Football World Champions for the Chollima. What’s up next? Only the highly-anticipated UFWC ‘megaclash’ between Iran and North Korea on 9 October. We’ll be building up to that match over the coming weeks. For UFWC updates, watch this space and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.