March 18, 2012

Amanov aiming for atonement

Kathmandu: DPR Korea and Turkmenistan will lock horns on Monday for both the AFC Challenge Cup title and a place at the 2015 AFC Asian Cup but for one player, there is a third incentive.
The man in question is the reigning Turkmenistan Player of the Year Arslanmyrat Amanov (pictured) and victory in the final will exorcise the demons of his penalty miss that gave DPR Korea victory in the 2010 AFC Challenge Cup final.
Goalkeeper Ju Kwang-min was North Korea's hero as the custodian crucially saved the sudden-death spot-kick from the then 19-year-old as the Chollima completed a spirited comeback after playing for just under an hour with ten men following Ryang Myong-il's first-half dismissal.

DPR Korea's promising start was halted after the defender was sent-off in the 32nd minute before Berdy Shamuradov struck for Turkmenistan less than a minute later. But with DPR Korea still managing to dominate, Turkmenistan's defence was finally breached with 14 minutes remaining as Ryang Yong-gi headed home.

And after extra-time failed to find a winner, Ri Kwang-hyok scored for DPR Korea after Mamedaly Karadanov and Ri Chol-myong had both missed their spot-kicks before Ju crucially denied Amanov.
Fast forward two years and the 21-year-old Amanov is back in the AFC Challenge Cup final having performed superbly during Turkmenistan's campaign in Kathmandu.
Amanov, who was also named Turkmenistan's best midfielder last season, was on target in the Central Asians' 3-1 win over the Maldives before putting on a virtuoso display as Turkmenistan finished top of Group A with a 3-0 win over hosts Nepal.
His fine form continued in the semi-final against the Philippines when he drew Turkmenistan level with a superbly struck low drive in the 79th minute before Gahryman Chonkayev settled the contest with four minutes left to play as the Turkmen came from a goal down to book their place in Monday's final.
While Ammanov will be going all out to see Turkmenistan upset title favourites DPR Korea he is unlikely to get payback on his penalty shoot nemesis Ju Kwang-min.
Ju, who kept three clean sheets in the run up to his final heroics, has had to be content with a place on the substitutes' bench iwith DPR Korea coach Yun Jong-su preferring to start with Ri Myong-guk between the posts.
And the North Koreans' 2010 FIFA World Cup keeper has more than vindicated the decision have not conceded a goal in all four matches at the 2012 AFC Challenge Cup.

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