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在线翻译:
szdaily -> Sports
China loses 2018 spot despite win
    2017-September-7  08:53    Shenzhen Daily

CHINA defeated Qatar 2-1 in Doha on Tuesday night in the last round of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Asian preliminaries, but failed to qualify for next year’s finals in Russia.

China needed a win over Qatar and the other two games’ results to go its way in order to clinch the resultant playoff spot.

Results elsewhere though meant that China failed to qualify for Russia, as the side is one point away from a playoff position.

China finished fifth with 12 points in Group A as Uzbekistan tied South Korea 0-0 and Syria drew with Iran 2-2.

Syria earned a playoff spot as the third-placed team with 13 points while Uzbekistan finished fourth.

Group leader Iran and second-placed South Korea received automatic tickets to Russia 2018.

But despite being knocked out, China’s coach Marcello Lippi said his team had made real progress for the future after taking 11 points from their last six games.

“When I was first appointed nobody told me to get to the World Cup,” said the Italian at a press conference afterwards.

“They asked me to build up a very strong team.

“We were unlucky, we didn’t get the results we deserved,” added Lippi, who received applause from Chinese journalists as he left the press room.

Chinese players began the match brightly.

They dominated early on and should have scored as early as the second minute when Xiao Zhi missed a free header from just six meters.

They squandered several other chances before Qatar made any impression, but the game remained goalless at half-time.

However, the deadlock was broken immediately in the second half and against the run of play, it was Qatar that took the lead.

Striker Akrim Afif sidefooted home in the 46th minute, after good work from Ali Al-Moez.

The game became more stretched as China pushed men forward for an equalizer and Afif should have scored a second soon after, but was denied by goalkeeper Zeng Cheng.

The visitors equalized in the 74th minute when Xiao Zhi powered home from close range, to give China a glimmer of hope.

That appeared to end just six minutes later however when Zheng Zhi was red-carded after he fouled Afif, who was clean through on China’s goal.

But just two minutes later substitute Wu Lei scored to give China the lead and set up a dramatic finale.

While Lippi remained confident about China’s future, it was another sobering night for the side’s ambitious rival, Qatar.

Defeat meant the side finished bottom of the group, a desperate end for a country anxious to qualify for its first World Cup finals before the side hosts in 2022.

The match was also played in a near-empty Khalifa stadium, the first international to be played in one of the revamped venues that will be used during the 2022 tournament.

Despite the sad end to the tournament, coach Felix Sanchez said there were enough young players coming through to give Qatar hope.

“We have a lot of very young players, we will keep working with them,” he said.

(SD-Agencies)

 

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