Hong Kong's dreams of joining Asia's 'Big Three' in the finals of the East Asian Football Championship were shattered by North Korea yesterday in Taipei. The North Koreans continued their domination of the SAR as they won their second meeting against Hong Kong in three years, scoring an emphatic 2-0 victory to win the preliminary competition of the championship. North Korea had won their previous encounter against Hong Kong 2-1 in the 2002 Asian Games in Busan. 'We had our chances,' insisted Hong Kong coach Lai Sun-cheung. 'We had a very good chance to open the scoring when Law Chun-bong's shot hit the crossbar in the 16th minute. We were unlucky. If we had scored that goal, things could have been different.' The nightmare began for Hong Kong in the 43rd minute when North Korea headed home the opening goal. They added another midway through the second half. And despite having a player sent off towards the end of the match, North Korea held firm to win the encounter and qualify for the East Asian Championship finals to be held in South Korea in July. North Korea will join their neighbours, South Korea, as well as Japan and China for the tournament finals. 'The match was actually closer than the scoreline suggested. Once we conceded the first goal, it was difficult for us to pick ourselves up. We knew it was going to be very difficult against the North Koreans. We tried our best,' said Lai.