Ho Chi Minh City: Muscat: A four goal salvo from Yang Li led eight-time champions China to a comfortable 7-0 victory over Thailand as their AFC Women’s Asian Cup campaign began in positive fashion at Thong Nhat Stadium on Thursday.
Li Dongna and Li Ying had put China two goals to the good inside the first 10 minutes before Yang grabbed her brace inside the first half. The striker’s third came on 63 minutes before Xu Yanlu added a sixth with 16 minutes remaining.
And there was still time for Yang to net again as she headed home her fourth and China’s seventh in the final minute of the tie to complete a comprehensive win that puts China into second place in the Group B table behind Korea Republic who earlier recorded a 12-0 drubbing of Myanmar.
The game began in frenetic fashion as the Steel Roses attacked from the start and Hao Wei’s side needed just five minutes to open the scoring as Han Peng’s corner was bundled in by defender Li Dongna.
And two minutes later an unmarked Li Ying had doubled the lead with a shot from the penalty spot that looped over Thailand custodian Waraporn Boonsing.
China’s prolific opening spell continued as Yang latched onto a slide rule pass from Ren Guixin to bury her side’s third goal into the far corner on the quarter-hour mark as the eight-times champions clinically dispatched the chances that came there way.
And Thailand’s situation worsened as central midfielder Ainon Phancha was stretched off four minutes later with an injury to be replaced by Supaporn Gaewbaen.
That wasn’t the end of the problems for coach Nuengrutai Srathongvian’s side either as with two minutes of the half remaining Naphat Seesraum was the next to leave the field prematurely, limping off after a heavy challenge to be replaced by Silawan Intamee.
The midfielder had scarcely touched the ball upon coming on before seeing her side concede again as Yang notched her second with a composed finish inside the penalty area a minute before half-time.
The second-half opened as a much more even affair as both sides contested the midfield with neither dominating possession with China seemingly content to sit on their lead.
Shortly after the hour-mark, however, Yang was set free into the penalty area and rounded Boonsing to score her third and China’s fifth of the night.
A cross from wide on the left by Han was then headed home on the 74th minute by Xu who collided with Boonsing and a Thai defender in the process and had to be stretchered from the field and was replaced, although she was later seen taking her place on the bench with no ill effects
And with the match coming to a close Yang Li got her fourth heading home a corner once more taken by the set-piece specialist Han.
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