China advance to 12-team final round of FIFA World Cup Asian Zone qualifying tournament after beating Syria 3-1.
SHARJAH, United Arab Emirates, June 15 (Xinhua) -- China secured a spot in the final round of FIFA World Cup Asian zone Qualifiers after beating Syria 3-1 here on Tuesday.
Syria had qualified as Group A leader before the game, and China was given a favorable position to progress as its major competitor Jordan lost to Australia 1-0 before the kickoff whistle. The Chinese players showed good form under this situation and Espanyol striker Wu Lei proved to be the key man.
Wu set up for midfielder Zhang Xizhe to open the scoring with a diagonal shot in the 42nd minute. Syria levelled five minutes into the second half from a mistake of their rivals' defence when midfielder Aias Aosman netted home Alaa Al Dali's back pass inside the box.
Wu earned a crucial penalty with his speed on 67 minutes, and converted without problem to help China regain the lead. The in-form hitman had a one-on-one golden chance in the 80th minute, but his low drive facing an advancing keeper went wide of the near post.
Substitute striker Zhang Yuning made it 3-1 in the third minute of the injury time to seal victory and move China onto 19 points from eight games.
China's head coach Li Tie brought on the same 4-4-2 starting eleven as the game against the Philippines, and China had the upper hand throughout the match. Zhang Xizhe and Ai Kesen had three other good chances in the first half, including a small angle drive from Ai kesen that hit the crossbar.