BANGKOK: Defending champions North Korea netted a late equaliser to earn a 2-2 draw with hosts Thailand while Sweden defeated Qatar 3-2 in the opening matches of the 34th Kings Cup on Sunday.
After beating the Koreans 1-0 in the quarter-finals of last years Asian Games, Thailand held high hopes of avenging their 2002 Kings Cup final defeat.
But a goal four minutes from time from Kim Myong-won extinguished any Thai celebrations in Bangkoks Suppachalasai Stadium .
A drab first half came to life in the 26th minute when host teams Manit Noivej flicked on a hopeful cross to Surayuth Chaikamdee who fired home from close range.
The Koreans, however, drew level in the 53rd minute. Myong Song-chol found Kim Yong-jun and he fired home the Korean equaliser off a Thai defender.
Thailand pulled ahead again a minute later when Datsakorn Thonglao picked up the ball on the halfway line, ran at the Korean defence and unleashed an unstoppable 35m shot that found the lower right hand corner.
The hosts held the lead until the 86th minute when poor marking allowed Myong-won to head home to earn Korea a draw. Reuters