China 1-2 Uzbekistan
Wang Yongpo 32′; Bakaev 45′, Djeparov 54′
China fell to a seventh defeat in their past eight games against Uzbekistan in Hohhot on Wednesday night as Jose Camacho’s rotated side conceded an early lead to lose 2-1.
With a series of three games coming up over the next week ahead of July’s EAFF East Asian Cup, Camacho chose to hand opportunities to a few unfamiliar faces ahead of Monday night’s high profile clash with Netherlands in Beijing. Given the pressure on his shoulders at present, though, it is somewhat surprising that a win was not the first priority.
The first real chance of the match fell the way of Uzbekistan as goalkeeper Wang Dalei flapped helplessly at a corner swung in from the left. Feng Xiaoting’s header then also failed to clear the ball, before Wang once more missed with a punch under pressure. Luckily for the Shenhua keeper, the referee whistled for a rather generous foul.
Wang would soon atone for his error with a smart save from Uzkeki striker Ulugbek Bakaev, who had held off the attentions of centre-back Zhao Peng to swivel and fire a low shot at goal. Bakaev would beat the goalkeeper minutes later, after Wang’s save rebounded to his feet, only to see his goal disallowed for offside.
Despite the visitors’ early chances, China would soon take the lead following a terrible attempted goal kick from the Uzbeki goalkeeper. With the ball falling to Yu Dabao on the left flank, the Aerbin forward cut inside before picking out a pass to the onrushing Wang Yongpo who finished calmly.
Wang had been a bright point for China in the first half, linking play well in his No. 10 role, as well as coming closest to threatening the opposition goal of any of his colleagues. However, the joy of his goal was to be short-lived as Bakaev capitalised on a poor attempted clearance from Zhao Peng to collect the ball and lash home from 25 yards.
Camacho rang the changes at the break, introducing four new faces into the side. However, bar a couple of efforts from East Asia youngster Wu Lei the side appeared to lose some of its shape.
At the other end the chances began to flow for Uzbekistan as first Zhou Yun was caught out of position from a cross to the back post, before the whole new look back four was caught out in a sweeping counter attack that saw Server Djeparov give the visitors the lead.
Wu Lei would hit the outside of the post with a header from a narrow angle from a decent Jiang Zhipeng cross from the left, but in truth China never really threatened in the second period. Camacho chose to experiment somewhat for the encounter, but there will be many left a bit confused by the changes he decided to make.
Next up, on Tuesday evening, China will take on Louis van Gaal’s Netherlands side in Beijing’s Workers Stadium.
China PR：Wang Dalei; Zhou Yun, Feng Xiaoting (Lang Zheng 46′), Zhao Peng (Yang Shanping 46′), Zheng Zheng (Jiang Zhipeng 46′); Zhao Xuri (Yu Hai 69′), Qin Sheng; Sun Ke (Yang Xu 85′), Wang Yongpo, Gao Lin; Yu Dabao (Wu Lei 46′)
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