Sports / Soccer

Yu Dabao's double lifts China over Maldives at World Cup qualifier

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-09-09 10:28

SHENYANG, China - Yu Dabao hit the target in either side of the half on Tuesday night as China whitewashed the Maldives 3-0 to clinch the crucial three points at a 2018 World Cup Asian qualifier.

Yu Dabao's double lifts China over Maldives at World Cup qualifier

China's Yu Dabao celebrates after scoring against Maldives at a 2018 World Cup Asian qualifier game in Shenyang, China September 8, 2015. [Photo/Agencies] 

Yu's volley and header to the goal, which was followed by a near-post heading shot by Zhang Linpeng, helped China back onto the winning track after a frustrating 0-0 draw with the Hong Kong team five days ago.

The victory lifted China to the second place in Group C, where Qatar led the group with three successive wins after outscoring Hong Kong 3-2 on the same day.

However, the following away match in Qatar next month will be a real test for China as only the eight group winners and four best second placed teams can advance to Round Three in Asian zone qualifiers.

To top the group is the safest way to continue their journey to Russia 2018, which was listed as the top goal by Frenchman Alain Perrin, China's head coach.

Although China were namely the away team in this round, they enjoyed the strong home support at Shenyang Sports Center as the venue was switched from Male to Shenyang after the local pitch conditions of the Maldives failed to meet the standards.

China broke the deadlock just after eight minutes. Yu Dabao's lob shot in front of the area hit the inner part of the bar and bounced into the net.

Yu clearly lost balance before his strike but luck was on his side this time after China hit the woodwork four times in the last match against the Hong Kong team.

The winless Maldives were regarded as underdogs of the group. But they showed strong stamina to keep on the fight till the last minute.

The "home team" nearly stunned the Chinese fans 10 minutes after the break when they launched a fast counter-attack from the right flank but just shot wide in front of a helpless goalkeeper Wang Dalei.

Yu Dabao calmed the nerves for China two minutes later. The striker nodded in his second goal after he leapt up to meet the corner kick.

Zhang Linpeng, the right fullback who has received a bid from Premier League side Chelsea FC in summer transfer window, showed his value in the 66th minute, sealing the 3-0 victory with a powerful header on a corner.


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