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China beat Philippines 2-0 in AFC U23 Championship 2018 qualifiers

Xinhua | Updated: 2017-07-22 16:44

China beat Philippines 2-0 in AFC U23 Championship 2018 qualifiers

China's Tang Shi reacts in Group J of the 2018 Asian U-23 soccer championship qualifiers in Phnom Penh, capital of Cambodia, July 21, 2017. [Photo/VCG] 

PHNOM PENH - China rebounded from their opening day disappointment to record a 2-0 win over the Philippines on Friday in Group J of the 2018 Asian U-23 soccer championship qualifiers.

After drawing 0-0 with Cambodia on Wednesday, the victory takes China, who have already qualified for next year's continental event as hosts, to second in the group with one game to play. They are two points behind Japan who beat the Cambodians 2-0 later in the day, while the Philippines are anchored to the foot of the table following their second successive defeat.

China captain He Chao opened the scoring in the 15th minute when, from a Tang Shi free-kick, he was allowed for too much time and space by Filipino defenders Jordan Jarvis and Jeremiah Rocha before bundling the ball home.

With the Philippines rarely troubling China goalkeeper Zhou Yuchen, who was a spectator for large swathes of the match, Zhang Xiuwei dully doubled the Chinese lead, the substitute latching onto a pinpoint Tang pass and firing home an unstoppable shot to effectively end the game as a contest.

China will now face Japan in an intriguing encounter on Sunday, while the Philippines are set to play Cambodia on the same day.

"I am happy with the win today. It was not going to be easy because in their last match the Philippines lost 8-0 to Japan and of course they didn't want a repeat of that, so this match they played with a lot of heart and desire," said China coach Massimiliano Maddaloni.

"My players played well and created a lot of chances and shots on goal. Maybe two goals is a little less than expected but I am happy with my team," he added.

The AFC U23 Championship was first held in Oman in 2014. China will be the host for the 2018 edition.

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