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Round of 16: Thailand 1-2 China PR


Sunday, January 20, 2019

Al Ain: Xiao Zhi came off the bench to inspire a second half come back for Marcello Lippi’s side on Sunday evening as China PR handed Thailand a 2-1 defeat to advance to the quarter-finals of the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019.


Guangzhou R&F striker Xiao levelled the scores in thr 67th minute after Supachai Chaided had given Thailand the lead just after the half hour mark and Gao Lin secured the win for China with a penalty 20 minutes from time.

Xiao’s goal – the 100th of the tournament so far – was key for a China side that dominated the second half but were unable to find a way past Siwarak Tedsungnoen in the Thai goal until the arrival of the veteran forward, who finally ended Thailand’s resistence.

In the end it was a deserved win for a Chinese side that welcomed back Wu Lei to the starting line-up after missing the 2-0 loss against Korea Republic with a shoulder injury while Thailand called up Supachai for the injured Adisak Kraisorn.

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A tepid opening quarter of the game gave way to an increase in intensity from the 23rd minute. Teerathon Bunmathan saw his free-kick from wide on the Thai right tipped over the bar by Yan Junling while Tanaboon Kesarat saw his speculative effort from distance soon after drift wide of goal.

At the other end, Wu Xi’s lofted pass put Wu Lei in behind the Thai defence, but goalkeeper Siwarak Tedsungnoen was quick enough off his line to block the Shanghai SIPG man’s goalward attempt.

Play quickly switched to the other end, with Supachai pushing his shot wide of Yan’s goal after Teerasil Dangda’s return header found the Buriram United man just the right side of Zhang Linpeng.

Supachai made amends in the 31st minute, however, as he gave Thailand the lead. The Chinese defence failed to properly clear Teerathon’s corner and, after Thitiphan Puangchan’s shot ended up at Supachai’s feet. He made no mistake on the turn from seven yards out.

Five minutes later Supachai could have added a second, only to drag his attempt from distance across Yan’s goal as the Chinese struggled in their attempt to win their first AFC Asian Cup knockout game since 2004.

Lippi’s team grew increasingly desperate throughout the second half and Wu Lei’s lack of match sharpness was becoming ever more apparent. The 27-year-old somehow missed a straightforward chance three minutes after the interval from six yards out after fine approach play by Gao Lin down the left.

China continued to press, with Yu heading wide before Siwarak denied the Beijing Guoan man with his feet following Feng Xiaoting’s cross, but eventually the equaliser came as Lippi intervened from the bench.

Yu Dabao made way for Xiao Zhi and, within three minutes, China were level as Zheng Zhi clipped his cross in from the right and Xiao scored on the rebound after Siwarak had saved the striker’s initial downward header.

By the 71st minute China were in front when Gao Lin (pictured above) picked himself up to score from the spot after having his heels clipped in the area by Tanaboon, the veteran forward firing high into the top corner to give his team the lead their second half performance deserved.

China threatened to add to the scoreline as the Thais grew increasingly ragged, although a flying save from Yan deep into injury time following Pansa Hemviboon’s shot ensured the East Asians progressed.

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