Title favourites DPR Korea lived up to expectations as they outplayed Sri Lanka 3-0 in their opening Group B match in the AFC Challenge Cup in Hyderabad on Thursday.
The North Koreans, who have come with a second-string team, as their first team is preparing for the final qualifying round of the 2010 World Cup in September, toyed with the islanders, pumping in three goals in the first session though they failed to add any more after the breather.
Midfielder Pak Song Chol scored a brace (seventh and 27th minutes) while Lankan defender Madushka Peiris scored an own goal on the fifth minute.
In another match, Myanmar pumped in three second-half goals to drub Nepal 3-0 in Group B.
Win Thein Waza opened the scoring in the 66th minute before substitutes Min Tun Myon (73rd) and Myat Min Soe (84th) added to the tally with goals in quick succession.
The Lankans, losing finalists in the first edition of the tournament in 2006, were no match for their fancied rivals, who are ranked 94th in the latest FIFA charts, in ball possession, speed and creativity and were left to defend their citadel all the time at the empty Gachibowli Stadium.
They did not have a single look in at the North Korean goal throughout the match, leave alone getting any scoring chances, and their defenders had a busy day in the office trying to thwart one rival attack after another.
Within seven minutes of the start of the game, Sri Lanka were down 0-2. Lankan defender Madushka Peiris scored an own goal in the fifth minute off a Kim Kyong Il corner before North Korean midfielder Pak Song Chol curled in a beautiful free-kick into goal from just outside the box two minutes later.
In the 26th minute, Chol's failed to keep down his right-footer, but the minute, he completed his brace with a low grounder from outside the box after being fed by Choe Myong Ho. The Lankan goalkeeper dived in vain to his right and the ball went in after kissing the inside of the right upright.
In the 39th minute, North Korean defender Pak Chol Ryong curled in a fine cross from the right for Myong Ho, who, however, failed to keep down his free header. Two minutes before half-time, Ho Jong Min's powerful right footer following a defensive lapse flew over the crosspiece.
The second half was no different from the first, the only difference being that the Lankan defence was more compact, with tighter man-marking, making it tough for the Koreans to penetrate and set up scoring chances.
Nine minutes from the final whistle, Ho Jong Min shot wide off a low cross from the left by Jon Kwang Ik and Kim Kuk Jin's fine right footer in the injury time sailed inches above the crossbar.
North Korea plays Nepal in their second Group B match on Saturday while Sri Lanka take on Myanmar the same day.