Hong Kong will face Japan in the final of the East Asian Games football tournament after defeating North Korea in a penalty shoot-out on Thursday.
The hosts won 4-2 on penalties following a 1-1 draw after extra time, with Hong Kong goalkeeper Yapp Hung-fai saving Ri Kwang Hyok's penalty in the second round of spot kicks before North Korea's Kim Kwang Hyok fired his effort over the bar.
Chan Wai-ho headed Hong Kong into the lead right on halftime, only for substitute Pak Kwang Ryong to level in the 85th minute.
Hong Kong took the first spot kick through captain Au Yeung Yiu Chung and never trailed as Ri and Kim both missed to give Kim Pan Gon's side a place in Saturday's final.
"I'm very proud of my players, they did a really great job tonight and they can be very proud of themselves,'' Kim Pan Gon said. "I didn't expect the game to go to penalties. I thought we could close the game down at 1-0, but our physical condition was going down and we lost our organization and then we gave them a goal.''
Japan, which won the bronze medal four years ago in Macau, had to wait until almost the final kick of extra time before beating South Korea.
Kensuke Nagai scored from an acute angle in the final minute of the second additional period after the game had finished 1-1 following 90 minutes of play.
Kosuke Yamamoto had given Japan the lead in the ninth minute with a strike from outside the penalty area after a poor defensive header from Kim Hyo-jun. But Kim Ho-you equalized in the 21st from a deflected free kick.
"Either team could have won today because neither team was able to keep possession of the ball, but fortunately we were able to do what we needed to do in the last minute and win the game,'' Japan coach Akihiro Nishimura said.