Jong Chol-min and Kim Kum-il scored two goals each as DPR Korea bounced back from their opening game reverse to rout Iran 5-0 in the AFC Youth Championship at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bangalore, India Tuesday evening.
A quickfire brace from Jong (4, 10) put his side in a strong position before Kim (25, 47) and substitute Ri Hung-ryong (77) joined the goalfest and sealed DPR Korea's first points of the competition in style.
DPR Korea coach Jo Tong-sop, in search of a winning combination after the opening 2-0 defeat to Japan, started defender Ri Yong-chol and striker Pak Chol-min while Iran boss Alberto Oliviera preferred not to tinker with a team which had defeated Tajikistan 3-1, coming back from a goal down.
DPR Korea got off to a blistering start, mounting a lightning-fast break in the fourth minute which saw captain Kim Kum-il escape down the left and cross unselfishly to striker Jong Chol-min for an easy header past Iranian goalkeeper Alireza Haghighi.
The two combined again six minutes later to heap more misery on Haghighi. Kim saw his path blocked by three Iranian defenders and after turning his marker inside-out threaded the ball to Jong, who controlled it well before blasting low into the right corner.
As the pressure mounted, the Iranian backline looked at sixes and sevens and in danger of conceding another goal.
Another worrying factor for the goalkeepers was the uneven bounce and given the fact that Haghighi had already leaked two goals, he looked more vulnerable than his counterpart Ju Kwang-min, who however found himself tested in the 17th minute when Mehrdad Pooladi held the ball well under pressure near the 18-yard line and found enough space to dispatch a grounder which missed the right upright by inches.
In the 25th minute, it was time for Jong to return the favour to his skipper with a well-timed pass as the Iranian defence was again caught napping and Kim's shot from 15 yards slammed into the net.
Iran, who according to their Brazilian coach have made come-from-behind victories their forte, did mount sporadic attempts to reduce the arrears but this was proving to be one deficit too big to erase.
Oliviera then substituted defender Ali Amiri and put in attacking midfielder Saman Agha Zamani to give the Iranian frontline more teeth in the 34th minute but it was the Koreans who almost scored through Jong. Earlier Pak Chol-min had gone agonisingly close with a header which went just wide of the left post.
Within two minutes of the restart, Jo's team had put the match well beyond Iran when Kim netted his brace, finishing off a move with a snapshot after Haghighi had blocked two successive shots from close range.
Things were not helped by Iran's cold feet in front of goal and the sizeable number of Iranian fans at the stadium vociferously made their displeasure known.
On the hour, Mostafa Chatrabgoon, Iran's two-goal hero against the Tajiks in the previous match, missed a sitter from close range and Pooladi fired wide when presented with another opportunity of note.
There was no way Iran could afford such wastefulness and substitute Ri Hung-ryong, who had come in for Kim Kuk-il in the 65th minute, rammed home this point with his 77th minute goal.
While the Korean coach was, not surprisingly, happy with the result, Iran's trainer said the huge defeat had left his team shell-shocked.
"I cannot explain how or why this happened," said Oliviera. "And I am not going to blame any defender individually. If anything is wrong then it is our defensive system."
Oliviera said his team was complacent after their win against Tajikistan. "Korea were more goal-hungry and when you concede a goal in the fourth minute of a match it destroys your strategy. All of us have to take the blame."
Korean trainer Jo said they had learnt their lessons from the Japan defeat. "We followed Iran closely during the first match and analysed our own game plan. We implemented several changes and it worked."
"The first goal gave us confidence. Our strategy was to control the flanks as two of Iran's central defenders are very tall. We marked Yasha Khalili and Shahram Goudarzi very well."
Iran next play Japan while DPR Korea take on Tajikistan in Group C's final matches on Thursday.