North Korea charge into Challenge Cup semis

COLOMBO - World Cup finalists North Korea powered into the semi-finals of the AFC Challenge Cup on Sunday with a 3-0 victory over holders India in their final group game.

Midfielder Ryang Yong-gi scored a goal either side of half-time as the speedy Koreans outpaced injury-hit India, who fielded their under-23 team, to top group B in the second-tier Asian tournament.

Choe Chol-man scored Korea's third goal in the 57th minute.

The Koreans, who will open their 2010 World Cup campaign against five-times winners Brazil on June 15 in Johannesburg, will meet Myanmar in the semi-finals on Wednesday.

Tajikistan play Turkmenistan in the other semi-final.

North Korea had beaten Kyrgyzstan 4-0 after being held to a 1-1 draw by Turkmenistan earlier in their bid to win the eight-team tournament and book a berth in the AFC Asian Cup finals in Qatar next year.

India, who have already qualified for the Asian Cup, were struggling with injuries to five of their main players.