Tools: Save | Print | " target="_blank" class="style1">E-mail | Most Read
Overseas Trio Hope to Give China Boost
Adjust font size:

China's overseas football stars Shao Jiayi, Li Tie and Dong Fangzhuo are expected to start in today's Asian Cup qualifying match against Singapore in Tianjin.

But news was not all positive after it was confirmed that injury ruled out Manchester City defender Sun Jihai.

The trio's participation comes as a shot in the arm for China, which has been struggling with injuries to centre back Du Wei and national champions Shandong Luneng's forward Han Peng.

Han and club partner Li Jinyu, China Super League's top scorer, impressed in recent club matches and in last week's 4-0 friendly win against Thailand, meaning they were likely to pair up again this evening.

Han's last-minute withdrawal through injury leaves the starting position to Dong, who has flown over from Belgian club Royal Antwerp.

Shao, who plays for Bundesliga side Energie Cottbus, is another player fighting jet lag and exhaustion as he arrived at Tianjin yesterday after appearing against Borussia Moenchengladbach on Saturday.

However, with Zheng Zhi still serving a three-match suspension from international fixtures for verbally abusing and spitting at a referee, pressure will be on Shao to provide attacking thrust from midfield.

Li Tie, who moved to Sheffield United from Everton this season, will anchor the midfield alongside Zhao Junzhe.

China currently top Group E on goal difference, but following a shock 2-1 defeat by Iraq, a win against Singapore is essential. Palestine face off against Iraq today, with the game being played in Jordan capital Amman due to security officials.

The group is finely poised with all four teams currently on three points from two games, with four remaining. The top two go through to the tournament in 2007 in Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia and Viet Nam. In 2004, China hosted the tournament, losing in the final to rivals Japan.

Teamwork concerns

Head coach Zhu Guanghu is still concerned a lack of time for players to train together is making it hard for his team to gel. As well as Europe-based stars, players from Dalian Shide and Shandong Luneng are also having problems implementing the coach's tactics during training.

Dalian travelled to South Korea and Japan for the A3 Champions Cup earlier this month and then had a domestic cup match, while Shandong is also coming off a FA Cup match.

"Singapore are not as weak as we thought. We have to play our own tempo. So it is important for players to communicate on the pitch," said Zhu, who appeared in the stands last Saturday at Singapore's warm-up match against Hong Kong.

"Singapore tempted a number of foreign talents to join their national team. Some are tall and strong. I do not think it is easy to beat their defence solely by headers. We have to stick to team tactics.

"But we are playing at home and we have to win and score as many as possible," Zhu said.

(China Daily August 16, 2006)

Tools: Save | Print | " target="_blank" class="style1">E-mail | Most Read

Related Stories
Loss Hastens Appointment of Foreign Coach
Soccer: China Crush Thailand 4-0 in Asian Cup Warmup
Soccer: Terry Named England Captain
Int'l Juvenile Soccer Tounament
Soccer: China vs Thailand 4-0 (Aug.11)
Soccer: Selection Headache for Zhu Guanghu
SiteMap | About Us | RSS | Newsletter | Feedback

Copyright © All Rights Reserved E-mail: Tel: 86-10-88828000 京ICP证 040089号