NKorea's April 25 beats Middlesbrough Ladies 6-2

BY foxsports • September 19, 2010

Middlesbrough Ladies football team lost its first match to a local side Sunday in a groundbreaking visit to North Korea.

The first British soccer team to play in the communist country was beaten 6-2 by April 25 despite scoring the first goal, TV news agency APTN said in Pyongyang.

Middlesbrough Ladies are on a four-day visit, strengthening the town's long-standing relations with North Korea which date back to the 1966 World Cup.

''They were really, really good. They were unbelievable,'' Middlesbrough Ladies goalkeeper Ami Bullen told APTN. ''The crowd were brilliant, it was amazing.''

Bullen and her team had landed in Pyongyang a day earlier on a trip to mark the 10th anniversary of diplomatic ties between Britain and North Korea.

The team's home town, Middlesbrough, has a special connection with North Korea, having hosted the men's team when they competed in the World Cup for the first time in 1966. Locals adopted the players as their second team and North Korea staged one of the biggest upsets in World Cup history by defeating Italy 1-0 and advancing to the quarterfinals, where they lost to Portugal.

After a 44-year absence, the North Korean men made it to the 2010 World Cup, but lost all three first-round matches.

Soccer is hugely popular in North Korea, and some 5,000 locals and 100 foreigners gathered at Pyongyang's April 25 Stadium despite the rain, cheering as they watched the friendly match from under umbrellas, APTN footage showed.

''I'm glad we had this friendly match with the British team today,'' April 25 player Kwon Bom Hyang told APTN. ''I sincerely hope that the football match between our two countries today will promote the development of football in future.''

Later, the Middlesbrough players greeted the April 25 players and shook hands with the North Korean spectators.

North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency also reported the result of the match.

The British team is scheduled to play one more friendly match against a North Korean team, and will hold training sessions with schoolchildren during their four-night stay in the capital.

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