China 1-0 Indonesia
Asian Cup 2015 Qualifying
(Wu Lei 45′)
China remain on course for Asian Cup 2015 qualification after a 1-0 victory over Indonesia in Xi’an on Friday night, a result which leaves Fu Bo’s side on seven points after four fixtures.
Saudi Arabia’s victory over Iraq later in the evening assured the hosts of qualification, having won all four fixtures to date, leaving the Iraqi’s stranded on just three points.
A victory over Saudi Arabia in midweek would see China through to the finals, while any other result could leave them needing at least a draw away in Iraq early next year.
China started in dominant fashion, controlling the early stages as the attacking quartet of Gao Lin, Wu Lei, Sun Ke and Yu Dabao found an impressive rhythm.
However, as time progressed without China scoring, the play became more frantic and errors crept into their play. However, on the stroke of halftime Fu Bo’s side took the lead thanks to a fine header from Wu after a Liu Jianye cross.
The second half brought more of the same, but as Fu opted to rotate his options China began to lose control of the midfield areas.
As Indonesia pushed on in an attempt to keep their qualification hopes alive in the final 20 minutes, the panic was visible in China’s play—with Zheng Zhi’s calming presence in midfield greatly missed.
Wu would strike the post with another header late on, in an otherwise unimpressive game, but the majority of pressure was being applied by the Indonesian side.
However, Zheng and Zhang Linpeng held firm in their centre-back roles, with the latter particularly impressive on the night, earning China a valuable three points.
China must improve if they are to get anything out of the clash with Saudi Arabia, which is likely to be interim coach Fu Bo’s last as manager of the national team. The result, though, will be vitally important to China’s hopes of Asian Cup qualification next year.
China PR: Zeng Cheng; Liu Jianye, Zheng Zhi, Zhang Linpeng, Rong Hao; Zhao Xuri (Liu Jian), Huang Bowen; Sun Ke (Qu Bo), Wu Lei, Gao Lin; Yu Dabao (Zhang Xizhe)
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