At the Bin Zayed Stadium, North Korea coach Kim Jong-Hun stuck to his time-tested strategy of packing the defence as his team scored their first ever win over the UAE in seven meetings. Basheer Saeed deflected a harmless North Korean cross into his own goal in the 72nd minute and as UAE went on the attack, substitute An Chol-Hyok took full advantage of the gaping hole in their defence in the 80th minute and rammed home a right-footer from just outside the box past goalkeeper Obaid Al Tawila.
Saeed made up for his unfortunate mistake in the 85th minute, when his long-range kick found its way into the North Korean goal, but it was too late for Bruno Metsu's men by then.
UAE created several half chances in the first half and completely dominated the proceedings. In fact, the visitors did not have even one meaningful attempt at the UAE goal in the first 50 minutes. UAE's star striker Ismail Matter attempted a good long-range attempt in the third minute and captain Abdulraheem Juma had a chance to put his team ahead seven minutes later, but hit his shot just wide.
The best chance for the hosts to go ahead came in the 21st minute when Mohamed Al Shehhi made a brilliant cross from the right, but the unmarked Subait Khater agonisingly failed to connect from the middle of a vacant goalpost.
Korea DPR made their first couple of moves early in the second half, and their opening goal was more a case of luck. Choe Kum-chol did well to latch on to the ball and make his way to the UAE goal from the right, but his intended cross to An was going wide before grazing Saeed's shoulder and deflecting into the goal.
UAE's next Group 2 match is against Saudi Arabia at the same venue on Wednesday, while Korea DPR will be hosting neighbours Korea Republic at the neutral venue of Shanghai.