Australia beat China in FIFA World Cup qualifier

Source: Xinhua| 2021-09-03 09:04:19|Editor: huaxia

Australia's Awer Mabil (R) and China's Zhang Xizhe vie for the ball during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Asian qualification football match in Doha, Qatar, Sept. 2, 2021. (Photo by Nikku/Xinhua)

DOHA, Sept. 2 (Xinhua) -- China conceded two goals in two minutes to lose 3-0 to Australia in their opening match of the final round of FIFA World Cup Asian qualifiers here on Thursday.

"We couldn't control the ball well and our defense was not in a good formation when our opponents were attacking," China head coach Li Tie said after the game.

"Australia played a European style of football, they moved fast and played with high intensity. That's what we need to improve on. I hope my players can learn from the match and grow. We need to adjust quickly to prepare for the next match," he added.

China executed a high press from the front in the first 20 minutes, but Australia then controled the midfield and took command of the rest of the match. China had no shots on target throughout the game, while Australia had 10 shots on target from 21 attempts.

In the 24th minute, Awer Mabil had an one-on-one chance after receiving a long pass from midfield, but his effort was denied by Chinese goalkeeper Yan Junling. However, the Chinese defenders couldn't clear the ball as Adam Taggart sent a cross from the right for Mabil to break the deadlock for Australia.

The Socceroos doubled their lead only two minutes later, when Tom Rogic assisted Martin Boyle to score from a counter attack with a shot outside the box.

China tried to bounce back but had few threats to the Australian defense. In the 70th minute, Yan Junling saved an effort from Mabil, but couldn't stop Mitchell Duke's follow-up shot as Australia sealed a 3-0 victory.

"I am very proud of the performance of my players considering we only had one and a half training sessions before the match. I can see so many improvements in our team, and I believe we will be better and better as we play more games," said Australia head coach Graham Arnold. "The Chinese team worked very hard. We had the gameplan to expose a few of their weaknesses in terms of defense. We played very well tonight, it was difficult for China."

China is drawn against Japan, Australia, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam and Oman in Group B of the final round of the Asian qualifying tournament. The top two teams will qualify directly, with the third-place finishers in each group entering a play-off.

In the other two Group B games on Thursday, Oman surprisingly won 1-0 away at Japan, while Saudi Arabia beat Vietnam 3-1.

China will play against Japan in their next match in Doha next Tuesday. "It's very surprising that Japan lost its first game at home. But it doesn't mean anything for Tuesday's match. It's another tough test for my players to challenge the best team in Asia," Li noted.

"We need to be brave if we want to go further in the World Cup qualifiers," he added. Enditem

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KEY WORDS: Sports,Soccer,World Cup qualifiers