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Aidil Sharin irked by North Koreans’ time-wasting tactics in AFC Cup

Home United coach Aidil Sharin was frustrated with North Korean side 4.25 SC’s time-wasting tactics in their AFC Cup Inter-zonal semi-final first leg on Tuesday night.

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The Protectors who beat Ceres Negros to seal their place in the Inter-zonal semi-final lost the first leg 2-0 at Jalan Besar Stadium, courtesy of goals from Pak Myong-song and An Il-bom.

Despite matching the visitors in the first half, Home allowed their opponents to score twice in the second period to take a superior advantage into the second leg next week at the Kim Il-sung Stadium in Pyongyang.

After Pak’s opening goal, the North Koreans began to see out the game through a series of lengthy injuries and goalkeeper An Tae-song was even cautioned by the referee for time-wasting tactics.

Aidil cut a frustrated figure on the touchline and did not mince his words in the post-match news conference.

“We knew that it was going to be a tough game but still our boys gave a very good fight… first half we managed to hold them and then the second half, their first goal killed us. We could have gotten a penalty but I can’t comment on that but it would have been good to have made it 1-1,” Aidil said.

“It is hard to take, whenever the ball is out, they had one player cramp, two players cramp and maybe that’s their tactics but I can’t really comment on that but what we need to do is to focus and don’t let it get into our minds. We got frustrated, gave fouls easily and even earned cards. We need to focus on ourselves rather than the opponents’ stuff.”

With the tipped in favour of the North Koreans, the Protectors will make the trip out to Pyongyang on Thursday to prepare for the second leg but are facing visa issues for the entire team, including their South Korean star Song Ui-young.

Aidil revealed: “Until now we still haven’t got our visa for all the players including Song (Ui-young). Anu (M. Anumanthan) will not be traveling due to NS (National Service) issue.

“We still have two days to find out and hopefully our best players can travel. Abdil (Qaiyyim) is back for the second leg but hopefully we can get the news that everyone can travel. We leave on Thursday midnight and it is going to be a 16 hours journey to get there.”

The odds are stacked against Aidil and his team as they need to score at least two goals without conceding in front of a partisan crowd at the Kim Il-sung Stadium.