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China beat Kuwait 2-0 to open Asia Cup campaign

0 CommentsPrint E-mail CNTV, January 10, 2011
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China, up against Kuwait in the Group A opener for both nations in Doha.

Kuwait made a confident start. An unmarked Walied Ali was given far too much room by the Chinese defence, but the midfielder's shot flew over the crossbar.

The turning point in an evenly-matched first half came in the 36th minute after Kuwaiti defender Mesaed Nada got in a tangle with Chinese forward Yang Xu. Nada lashed out with his right foot and became the first player in the tournament to be shown a red card.

10-man Kuwait still threatened after the half-time break and Bader Al Mutawa came very close to scoring when keeper Yang Zhi fumbled his curling free kick.

It may have crossed the line, but Kuwaiti calls for a goal went unheard.

China eventually broke the goalless deadlock in the 58th minute.

Zhang Linpeng's volley appeared to be well covered, but a deflection off defender Hussain Fadhel sent the ball into the corner of the net.

Coach Gao Hongbo's young side dominated the remainder of the match. They were rewarded with a second goal when Deng Zhuoxiang's perfectly struck free kick found the target in the 67th minute. China's 2-0 victory gives them three points to top Group A alongside Uzbekistan, who beat hosts Qatar on Friday.

Gao said, "As the head coach of the Chinese team, I am very pleased to see our team winning the game because everybody knows the first match is always the toughest one to play. Talking about the game, I think the Kuwait team gave a very good performance in the first 30 minutes. However, our team had great defence on the Kuwaiti attacks and gradually controlled the pace of the match."

Goran Tufegdzic, Kuwait Coach, said, "I have to say we were taking the Chinese National team. I think you saw the reflection our team early received a score and at the end of the first half my team still played very well without 11 players, same as the start of the second half. When you concede a goal and you are without a player, it is very difficult to combat this. But generally I am satisfied with how our players played without one player."

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