An enthralling final few minutes at the Estadio Chinquihue in Puerto Montt saw Korea DPR score a 93rd-minute winner, which put the AFC Champions through to the Round of 16 at the FIFA U-17 World Cup. The result seals Korea DPR’s spot in Chile 2015’s knockout stage as one of the top third-place sides, while Costa Rica also go through as Group E’s second-place finisher despite suffering the dramatic 2-1 defeat.
The entire match was a very tight contest with very little between the two sides, but Korea DPR did well to score early through Pak Yong Gwan. After a strong attack down the left, Jong Chang Bom cut the ball nicely back into the box where Pak did well to turn on his first touch and fire past Alejandro Barrientos.
Jong nearly doubled Korea DPR’s lead barely more than a minute later, but his shot grazed the outside of Barrientos’ near post. Carrying a narrow lead into half-time, Korea DPR looked determined to see out the game, with the victory enough to get them through.
However, Costa Rica continued to press, nearly scoring on a 65th minute free kick, but Jonathan Martinez’s effort sailed just over the bar, and he later forced Barrientos into save from another free kick. Then, with seven minutes remaining Los Ticos finally found the back of the net.
Sergio Ramierez headed a corner kick back across goal and Diego Mesen scored into an empty net to equalise. With the score level at 1-1, Korea DPR would have been forced to pack their bags, but the Young Chollima would not be denied a spot in the knockout stage.
Jong scored Korea DPR’s pivotal goal with mere moments remaining in the match, capitalising on a scramble in the goalmouth. Choe Jin Nam sent a free kick into the box, which was saved by Barrientos but the Tico No1 could not hold onto the rebound. Instead, Han Kwang Song fired a rebound, which was well stopped by Barrientos but still not held, and Jong fired home from 8 yards, agonisingly through the Costa Rican defenders legs.
The final whistle send Korea DPR into jubilant celebrations, knowing that they will meet Mali in the Round of 16, while Los Ticos are set to take on France.