PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 11 June, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 11 June, 2003, 12:00am

Hong Kong escaped relatively lightly from the grips of the mighty North Koreans last night, losing 'only 13-0' in their Group A match at the AFC Women's Championship in Thailand.

Convincing as the defeat in Bangkok's Rajamangala Stadium was, in no small part due to Ri Kum-suk's personal tally of six goals, it was a morale victory for Hong Kong - such is the gulf in class between the reigning champions and Asian Games gold medallists and most of the other teams. 'We kept the score respectable,' said Hong Kong team manager Yeung Ho-yiu.

'We really learned a lot, especially from the way they control the ball and the way they attack. Because of that we can really improve when we get back to Hong Kong. It's true. They're monsters,' laughed Yeung. 'They might be better than the Hong Kong men's team. Maybe they are going to be the future world champions.'

Earlier, South Korea ran six unanswered goals past hosts Thailand. Japan today face Guam, who did well in only losing their first match 2-1 to Taiwan. China, meanwhile, face India in Nakhon Sawan. While India earlier beat Uzbekistan 6-0, China won by a similar score against Vietnam - the probable runners-up in the group.