China lose to Ireland 1-0 in friendly
A late goal from substitute Clinton Morrison gave Ireland a 1-0 victory over China in a lacklustre friendly at Lansdowne Road on Tuesday. Morrison's well-taken lob from the edge of the penalty area in the 82nd minute was a rare bright spot in a match with few clear-cut chances for either side.
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"It was a very good finish - it was hard to get the ball in behind them with their 5-4-1 formation," Ireland manager Brian Kerr said.
"From where we were it took a while to come down and go in."
Ireland, showing six changes from the side which drew 1-1 with Israel in World Cup qualifier in Tel Aviv on Saturday, made most of the running in a forgettable first half but failed to make the most of their chances.
Stephen Elliott, winning his second cap in attack alongside Robbie Keane, had a shot blocked in the penalty area by Chinese skipper Li Weifeng, and midfielder Kevin Kilbane's header was saved by Li Leilei.
China, who lost 3-0 in Spain at the weekend, passed the ball neatly at times, but with Li Yi playing alone up front posed little attacking threat.
"They worked hard, and they defended quite well," said Kerr.
"I thought the game was all right. There were lots of misplaced passes and mistakes with the ball bobbling around."
There was less than 10 minutes remaining in the first period before the visitors threatened the Irish goal, but when it came it was the best chance of the half and goalkeeper Paddy Kenny did well to parry Zhao Junzhe's shot past his right hand post.
Just after the restart Liam Miller, a halftime replacement for Chelsea's Damien Duff, made a solo run through the Chinese defence, but could only manage a weak shot at the keeper.
Fullback Sun Xiang nearly put the visitors in front when he latched on to a long ball out of defence to shoot just wide.
The game appeared to be heading for stalemate when, with less than 10 minutes to go, Morrison received the ball on the edge of the penalty area and sweetly lobbed it over the goalkeeper.
Graham Kavanagh had a chance to double the advantage minutes later but his shot was tipped over the crossbar by Li Leilei, and at the other end Wang Liang's injury time freekick drew a smart save from Kenny.