After all the negativity following China’s 1-5 loss to Thailand, a morale boosting result was definitely in need and last night’s draw against rivals Japan will certainly help out. Wang Yongpo supplied two goals off penalty kicks and Sun Ke scored a beautiful late equalizer for China to earn a point and sit equal with the competitions other three sides after the first match.
China started out well when Yu Dabao won a soft penalty in the fourth minute, which Wang converted. Japan quickly found its footing and came back to equalize before the half hour mark and often looked likely to take the lead, though China was able to survive the first half with the score at one apiece.
Japan then shocked China with goals minutes apart on the hour mark to take a 3-1 lead, but instead of giving up, China fought back. China received another soft penalty when Zhang Xizhe was almost kicked in the head by a Japanese defender and Wang took it with ease. Then, in the dying minutes of the match, a Rong Hao cross found youngster Sun Ke on the back post for a sweet, one touch goal.
Depending on your outlook, there is plenty of good and bad to take from the match, we offer both perspectives below:
— China was able to earn a point against Japan, one of Asia’s top sides
— Instead of hanging their heads when down 3-1, the Chinese players pushed through and fought until the end of the match
— Youngsters Zhang Xizhe and Sun Ke put in particularly strong performances and give reason to be hopeful about the national team’s future.
— The result against a team like Japan takes a lot of pressure off the players and has caused many to temporarily forget about the Thailand debacle and have hope for the future.
— Only three of Japan’s players had 10 or more caps going into this game, indeed 17 had two or less caps and so this was a heavily watered down Japanese side.
— China’s defense was very bad, not a single one of the four starters played a good match and at least two of the three goals were down to ball watching errors.
— China failed to create much in the way of chances beyond the two penalty kicks for much of the match.
— For the final 15 minutes of the first half, China looked out of shape and tired, it wasn’t until Sun and Zhang were brought on that China was able to attack again.
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