Home / Sports / News Tools: Save | Print | E-mail | Most Read | Comment
Asian Cup: China Hold Favorites Iran 2-2
Adjust font size:

China faced fierce favorites Iran on Sunday and acquitted themselves well by grinding out a 2-2 draw at the 2007 AFC Asian Cup in Kuala Lumpur.

China's Shao Jiayi (R) and Sun Jihai celebrate after Shao scored their first goal against Iran during their 2007 AFC Asian Cup Group C soccer match in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday, July 15, 2007.

Shao Jiayi gave China an unexpected early lead six minutes in by drifting a superb free-kick in, making China's fans leap with joy. Iran were stunned and China could be happy with putting the tournament favorites on the back foot.

China pressed on and their efforts paid off in the 33rd minute when left winger Mao Jianqing juked into the box and slammed the ball into the back of the net to make it 2-0.

However, this double blow seemed to awake the wrath of the doughty Iranians who launched a flurry of counter-attacks.

China held on doggedly but in the 45th minute, just before the break, Iranian midfielder Ferydoon Zandi directed a free kick past the flailing goalkeeper.

Iran came out stronger from the dressing room and asserted the control they felt was rightfully theirs. China were pushed back into their own half and Iran equalized in the 74th minute thanks to a header from Javad Nekounam.

Iranian coach Amir Ghalenoi said after the game that the result satisfied him and warned that China would face a tough time against Uzbekistan.

"We got one point and will face Malaysia in an easy match. China will not face a showdown for qualification against Uzbekistan, " Ghalenoi said at a news conference.

Though Galenoni settled for one point, he was critical of Iran's performance. "In the early part of the first half, we played very bad and China scored twice," he said.

"Ahead of the next match, we must resolve our uneven performances," he added.

Iran and China both have four points in hand although China top Group C on goal difference.

Iran will face Malaysia while China is to play against Uzbekistan on July 18 in the last round group matches. China will likely adopt a defensive strategy since a tie against Uzbekistan would see them go through.

China's goakeeper Li Leilei misses the ball for an Iran goal scored by Ferydoon Zandi (not in picture) during their 2007 Asian Cup Group C soccer match in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday, July 15, 2007.

Iran's Ali Karimi (R) is challenged by China's Zheng Zhi (L) and Sun Jihai during their 2007 AFC Asian Cup soccer tournament Group C match in Kuala Lumpur July 15, 2007. 

China's players pose for team photo before the AFC Asian Cup Group C soccer match against Iran in Kuala Lumpur, capital of Malaysia, July 15, 2007. The match ended 2-2.

(Xinhua News Agency July 16, 2007)

Tools: Save | Print | E-mail | Most Read

Pet Name
China Archives
Related >>
- Iran Battles Back to Beat Uzbekistan in Asian Cup
- Thailand Stun Oman 2-0 to Top Asian Cup Group A
- Iraq Claim Most Shocking Win over Favorite Australia
Most Viewed >>