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China makes brave comeback but falls short against South Korea

(Xinhua/chinadaily.com.cn) Updated: 2016-09-01 22:47 Comments

China makes brave comeback but falls short against South Korea

Chinese head coach Gao Hongbo instructs the team during a 2018 Russia World Cup qualifier between China and South Korea in Seoul, South Korea, on Sept 1, 2016. [Photo/IC] 

"Facing next opponents Iran five days later, we need to keep our minds clear that Iran are quite powerful rivals. We need to learn from this match, especially on experience," said Gao.

"We reached the final phase of the World Cup qualifiers for the first time in 15 years, so it's not strange the players do not have enough experience and need a process to get used to this kind of match. But they impressed me with their confidence and mentality to pull two goals back despite the result of defeat."

China have a wretched record against South Korea, having won just twic against the nine-time World Cup qualifier in their previous 32 meets since 1978.

Japan's hopes of a revenge on the United Arab Emirates for last year's Asian Cup quarterfinal defeat were shattered as Vahid Halilhodzic's men crashed to a 2-1 defeat in their Group B opener.

Keisuke Honda made amends for missing his penalty in a 5-4 shootout defeat to the UAE in the Asian Cup quarters last year, when he opened the scoring with an 11th-minute header at Saitama Stadium.

But Ahmed Khalil leveled with a well-taken free kick before the striker put the visitors in front for good with a penalty kick nine minutes into the second half.

In another match in Group B, Australia were too good for Iraq, with Massimo Luongo and Tomi Juric netting to give the home team a 2-0 win.

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