Timur Kapadze scored in the second half to secure Uzbekistan’s 1-0 victory over North Korea in a World Cup qualifier.
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The result ended North Korea’s hopes of qualifying for a second straight World Cup, making it the first team to have played in South Africa in 2010 to be eliminated from the 2014 tournament in Brazil.
Kapadze headed in Alexander Geynrikh’s corner in the 49th minute as the home side dominated the game.
The victory put Uzbekistan on par with Japan on top of Group C with 10 points from four games. North Korea has three points, followed by Tajikistan with no points.
Despite its domination Uzbekistan failed to find a breakthrough in the first half.
Alexander Geynrikh, who scored the winner when the two teams played in Pyongyang last month, hit the crossbar in the 18th minute. A minute later, Maksim Shatskikh’s low shot from just inside the box hit the left post.
Geynrikh again came close with a minute remaining in the first half.
After the restart, North Korea goalkeeper Ri Myong-Guk tipped the ball over the crossbar to keep out an own goal before Kapadze found the net.
The visitors pressed for an equalizer, forcing Ignatiy Nesterov to make several saves to preserve the victory.
With two games left in the third round of Asia qualifying, Japan and Uzbekistan have secured places in the next qualification stage.
Uzbekistan next hosts Tajikistan on Tuesday, while North Korea will play Japan at home.
Uzbekistan: Ignatiy Nesterov, Alexander Geynrikh, Azizbek Haydarov, Islom Tuhtahujaev, Maksim Shatskikh (Sanjar Tursunov, 75), Odil Akhmedov, Server Djeparov, Timur Kapadze (Lutfulla Turaev, 88), Vagiz Galiulin, Victor Karpenko (Shavkatjon Mulladjanov, 55), Vitaliy Denisov
North Korea: Ri Myong-Guk, Cha Jong Hyok (Ri Kwang-Ryong, 42), Pak Nam-Chol, Ri Kwang-Chon, Ryang Yong-Gi (Jong Il-Gwan, 54), Ri Chol-Myong, Jong Tae-Se, Jon Kwang-Ik, Pak Nam-Chol, An Yong-Hak (Pak Song-Chol, 65), Jang Song-Hyok