Second half demolition seals victory for China

Second half demolition seals victory for China

By Zhang Bin - AFF Chinese correspondent

Team Dragon started their 2014 World Cup qualifying compaign with a 7-2 home win against Laos at Kunming’s Tuodong Stadium.

Yang Xu celebrates one of his three goals

Fans were not satisfied with the match as China conceded two early goals against one of the lowest ranked team in Asia, with the team not performing as well as predicted.

Laos was well organised in first half and played primarily on the counter-attack. Thirty-three minutes into the first half, the hosts found them 0-2 down. Vongchiengkham Soukaphone fired a powerful low shot in the fifth minute, before Visay Phaphouvanin, who is only 1.55m hight, doubled the advantage with a diving header after another counter attack.

Meanwhile, Team China tried to control the match with skill and attack down-the-middle, the tactic not working as expected against the short and skillful Laos players. Team China players were at a loss most of the time in the first half. Substitute striker Yang Xu, who came from the bench to take place of Gao Lin after 33 minutes, pulled one back with a sharp header in the injury time of the first half.

The coach made another important sub in second half, calling on Tianjin Teda player Chen Tao to replace Zheng Zhi, repaying the favour in the 51st minute with a calm finish before supplying the assist to Yang Xu two minutes later to give China a 3-2 lead.

Team Dragon then rediscovered their usual style of play. Yang Xu scored once more to complete his hat-trick after 71 minutes, followed by a powerful strike from Hao Junmin ten minutes later. Chen Tao’s sliced on 83 minutes, and a comfortable penalty taken by Hao Junmin sealed victory.

“Today’s first half is the worst one of my tenure, I will discuss the team’s performance in the first 45 minutes with the players and the coaching team,” said Chinese coach Gao Hongbo.

“Our players played hard on the pitch and, as the coach, I should take full responsibility for not being fully prepared with the details. We still have an away game coming up, and we will summarize this game as soon as possible to avoid getting into any bad situations like the first half of this game in the future.

“China failed to claim a berth in the final round of World Cup qualifying at the past two attempts, we do not deserve this result since the domestic leagues has been professional for so many years. This time we should not only make the last ten, but also advance further.”

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