The second day’s action in the Asian Cup seemed to have a little more quality to it then the competition opener. Although the result could have been different it was the “Red Machine” that eventually triumphed.

From the start China’s #10 Deng Zhuoxiang stood out as a player with quality, spraying some excellent passes from his dangerous left foot, it would come back to punish the Kuwaitis in the second half.

Early on the underdogs Kuwait should have had a penalty. Quite fitting that five years ago China’s Captain Du Wei was making his debut for Celtic against Clyde in the Scottish Cup, and it was the very same player that without getting anywhere near the ball swiped Bader Al Mutwa’s legs from underneath him. A clear penalty but the referee gave nothing. If only Du Wei had the same luck that day at Broadwood Stadium.

China’s next chance came when Zhao Xuri played a fantastic ball over the top to Qu Bo and the experienced strikers shot troubled Yaqoub Al Taher but the keeper did well to turn it round the post. The scores would be level at the break, but Kuwait would go in outnumbered.

Mesad Nada was shown a red card after he got into a tangle with Yang Xu, the Kuwait player was dismissed for stamping into Yang’s chest but after replays it looked harsh and just a tangle of legs. Harsh on Kuwait.

Again Kuwait nearly took the lead in the second half Al Mutwa took a free-kick wide on the left, it was dangerously whipped in, although keeper Yang Zhi just managed to keep it up, it was very close to going over the line. Raising questions over the stopper’s ability.

On the hour mark China took the lead, after a corner was half cleared Zhang Linpeng had a swing at the ball, and after a wicked deflection they could only watch as the ball slowly rolled into the corner. Even the Chinese were delayed in their celebrations.

10 minutes later it was 2-0, substitute and Schalke star Hao Junmin was taken down on the edge of the box by Jarah Al Ateeqi and China had a free-kick in a dangerous area. The forementioned Deng Zhouxiang stepped up and even with the goalie covering the right of the wall, Deng was still deadly enough to find the bottom corner.

Again questions over the keeper’s ability but a superb strike from the impressive number 10. It could have been 3-0 late on when Deng slipped in Rong Hao but his shot was saved.

China picking up an important win as they go joint top of the group with Uzbekistan, both teams now favourites to advance to the next round. Coach Gao Hungbo was pleased with the team’s performance.

“I am very happy to win this game because the first match is very tough,” he said.

“All the Chinese players wanted to win the game but after one of their players was sent off we controlled the match more than them.”

Kuwait coach Goran Tufegdzic tried to find the positives despite the defeat.

“This game was very important for us and before the dismissal of Neda we were the better team and controlled the match,” said the Serbian.

“I think you saw at the end of the first half my team still played very well without 11 players, same at 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 we played with one less player.”

Kuwait take on Uzbekistan on the 12th of January anything but a win could see them eliminated. China take on Qatar on the same day, a win for the Chinese would put them in pole position to advance in the competition.


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