Kochi, Oct 13 (IANS) Spain were made to struggle by a spirited North Korea as they scripted a 2-0 win in their last Group D match to enter the second round of the FIFA U-17 World Cup here on Friday.
Mohamed Moukhliss (4th minute) and Cesar Gelabert (71st) struck in each half as Spain finished second in the group with six points from three matches.
The Europeans had started the tournament with an action-packed 1-2 loss to Brazil before beating Niger to bring their campaign back on track.
On Friday evening, they came up against a well organised North Korean defence which refused to yield too much time and space.
Spain managed to take an early lead when Cesar found Moukhliss, who dribbled through the Korean defence to score with a simple finish.
It became a battle thereafter. Spain dominated possession and created more attempts on goal, but the Koreans defended stoutly.
Spain finally found a second goal when a rare mistake by the Korean defence saw Gelabert pounce on a loose ball inside the penalty area.
Any hopes of a fightback by the Asians were dashed when Pae Kwang Min was awarded a red card in the 84th minute.