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Lippi wants more from China PR

Malé: Decorated China PR head coach Marcello Lippi called on his side to remain focused after they began their FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup China 2023 Asian Qualifiers campaign in fine style with a 5-0 win over the Maldives on Tuesday.

Lippi was rightly pleased after China PR - and history-making debutant Elkeson who netted two late goals - lived up to all expectations with a dominant victory in the island nation to move to the top of Group A on goal difference.

But Lippi, who famously led his native Italy to the FIFA World Cup title in 2006, said there is plenty of work ahead if his side are to achieve their primary objective of advancing to the next round of the Asian Qualifiers.

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"I am very satisfied with the result, taking all three points is just the first step of our campaign for the tournament,” said the 71-year-old.

"It is the beginning of the group matches. No matter how many goals we scored, we still need to concentrate on our goal - that is to enter into the top 12 teams in Asia.”

While China’s three points were the tangible reward for a fine night’s work in Malé, the match may be best remembered as the night the Chinese national team added a touch of Brazilian flair, with Guangzhou Evergrande star Elkeson making a much-publicised debut for Team Dragon.

The 30-year-old didn’t disappoint, playing an influential role in China’s early attacks before getting on the scoresheet with an 83rd-minute penalty, then adding a second goal from close range in the first minute of added time.

Elkeson told Xinhua News Agency that China’s comprehensive win was the result of their strong preparation.

"In the past few days, we have been training according to the requirements of the head coach,” he said. “Therefore, we can play the good tactics in the game and finish the game well.

"We won the game beautifully. Now, we will try our best to prepare for the next game.”

China’s next match comes against bottom-placed Guam at home on October 10, before an away fixture against the Philippines five days later.

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