Abu Dhabi (AFP)
Star striker Wu Lei fired a brilliant double as China beat the
Philippines 3-0 on Friday to virtually assure their place in the
last 16 of the Asian Cup.
Marcello Lippi emerged victorious against old foe Sven-Goran
Eriksson in a heavyweight coaching clash despite spirited early
resistance from the Filipino 'Street Dogs' in Abu Dhabi.
China, runners-up in 1984 and 2004, improved to six points from
two games in Group C after beating Kyrgyzstan 2-1 in their
They should have led after 32 minutes when Wu Xi headed
wastefully wide from point-blank range.
But Wu Lei provided the spark five minutes before half-time,
turning on the edge of the box and whipping a right-foot shot
into the far corner.
His second was even better as he swivelled to slam a Hao Junmin
free kick past goalkeeper Michael Falkesgaard on the volley after
66 minutes to effectively finish the tie.
Substitute Yu Dabao added a third with his first touch 10 minutes
Pulverised 8-1 the last time the teams met in 2017, the
Philippines gave China more of a game this time, having lost 1-0
to South Korea on their Asian Cup debut earlier this week.
Kevin Ingreso forced a fingertip save from China goalkeeper Yan
Junling in first-half stoppage time but Eriksson's faded badly
after the break.
A victory for South Korea over Kyrgyzstan later on Friday would
guarantee China's progress as they look to improve on a
quarter-final finish in 2015.