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U-17 World Cup: Off-colour Brazil down spirited Koreans

IANS | Kochi |

Brazil produced an unconvincing performance to beat a stubborn North Korea 2-0 in a Group D match of the FIFA U-17 World Cup here on Tuesday.

Lincoln (56th minute) and Paulinho (61st) struck after the break to save the blushes for Brazil after the Koreans put in a stout defensive performance to frustrate the title favourites from South America in the first half.

Brazil, who have virtually secured a place in the next round. are now at the top of the group with six points from two matches. They should go through as one of the best third placed teams even if they lose their final group match against Niger.

Even in case of a defeat to Niger, the Brazilians could still finish at the top of the group if they concede less than two goals and the North Koreans upset Spain.

The Brazilians were held at bay by the Koreans in the first half, although they had their first clear chance as early as the first minute when Korean goalkeeper Sin Tae Song brilliantly denied Lincoln in a one-on-one situation.

But clear chances were hard to come by for Brazil thereafter as the Koreans adopted an ultra defensive strategy and focussed on reducing the pace of the game.

Brazil finally broke the Korean resistance shortly after the restart when Lincoln headed home the rebound after North Korea goalkeeper Sin Tae Song rushed out to parry a free kick.

Paulinho doubled the lead after the hour mark when he met an excellent through ball with a superb finish.