North Korea coach Sin Yong Nam defended his players after they clashed with match officials after losing 2-1 in their Asian Games soccer quarter-final against Japan in Hangzhou on Sunday.
North Korea captain Jang Kuk Chol and teammate Kim Kyong Sok remonstrated heatedly with the match referees after the final whistle, prompting ground staff to run onto the pitch at Xiaoshan Sports Centre Stadium to intervene. The North Koreans were earlier furious when Uzbek referee Rustam Lutfullin awarded a penalty to Japan after their goalkeeper Kang Juh Yok charged out and clipped the feet of Japan's Jun Nishikawa with an outstretched arm. Yuta Matsumura slotted home the winning penalty from the spot to see Japan through to the semi-finals.
"I admit that our players were a little bit over-excited in the match but it is football," Jang said at the post-match press conference. "But there are confrontations in football matches.... I think our behaviour is acceptable."
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Japan coach Go Oiwa declined to comment on the incident when asked. "This match was as we expected," he said through a translator." There are some things (we are) not happy about in the match but basically we can accept that."