Thu, 28 Oct, 2021
Canberra: Coach Alain Perrin insisted that Group B winners China will aim to secure a third consecutive win in the AFC Asian Cup Australia 2015 when his side face already-eliminated DPR Korea at Canberra Stadium on Sunday.
China edged Saudi Arabia 1-0 in their opening game and then upset pre-tournament group favourites Uzbekistan, who finished fourth in the 2011 edition, after coming back from a goal down to score twice through midfielders Wu Xi and Sun Ke in a 2-1 victory that saw them top the group with a game to spare.
DPR Korea, meanwhile, lost against both sides to leave themselves rooted at the bottom of the group and unable to improve their position even with a win in Canberra.
China’s coach, however, will not countenance any slacking off from his side.
“As professional football players we must always be ready to face the challenges, so for our team tomorrow (Sunday) we will try our best to play the game and get the three points,” said Perrin.
“They (DPR Korea) are a very strong team and cause opponents trouble. They are aggressive and attack a lot in search of a goal. We must be very concentrated for the match.
“We are focused on this match against DPR Korea; I tell my players even in the friendly matches we must try our best to win.”
However, with the comfort of knowing that the team is already assured of a quarter-final place as group winners, with Saudi Arabia and Uzbekistan battling it out for the runners-up spot in the day’s other game in Melbourne, the former Lyon and Portsmouth coach admitted that he may use the occasion to rotate his line-up.
“I think this match is a very good opportunity for the players, and for us, to have more players feature in this tournament,” said Perrin.
“I’m very happy for the first two matches; we’ve had 17 players play. As I always mentioned, football is not only for 11 players we must have more players involved.
“We only have one player (defender Ren Hang) suspended for the next match so I think all of our players will do their best during our training (to play in the match).”
Over 21,000 supporters are expected at Canberra Stadium, which would be the largest crowd so far at the venue in Australia’s capital, and China forward Gao Lin praised the reception the side had received so far.
“I’m very happy because we always have a lot of supporters no matter if the team’s result is good or not and they always support us by watching television or coming to the stadium,” said the Guangzhou Evergrande striker.
“This time we won the first matches and we brought a lot of joy to our fans. For the next matches we will try our best so that (the China supporters) will be happy.
“We do wish more Chinese football fans come to the stadium to support us. We will all be together and see this Chinese team grow close and become a stronger team.”