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Asian Cup: China beats Uzbeks, secures quarterfinal spot

China secures Asian Cup quarterfinal spot with 2-1 comeback win over Uzbekistan in Group B

Asian Cup: China beats Uzbeks, secures quarterfinal spot

BRISBANE, Australia (AP) -- China secured an Asian Cup quarterfinal spot when it beat Uzbekistan 2-1 on Wednesday.

The Chinese top Group B with six points from two games and, with Uzbekistan and Saudi Arabia each on three points and meeting in the last of the preliminaries, are assured of making the knockout stage.

Uzbekistan opened the scoring against the run of play midway through the first half, when Odil Ahmedov cut in from the left, steadied, and fired in a right-foot shot from 25 yards which deflected off China defender Wu Xi and looped inside the far past.

Wu made up for it when he equalized 10 minutes into the second half, and Sun Ke, who went on in the 66th, made an angled run from the left two minutes later and struck from the edge of the area to seal the comeback win.

China plays the winless North Koreans in Canberra on Sunday, when 2011 semifinalist Uzbekistan and three-time champion Saudi Arabia will be playing in Melbourne for the group's other quarterfinal slot.

Ahmedov had the opportunity to give Uzbekistan a 2-0 lead in the first half after his captain Server Djeparov was dragged down inches outside the area by China defender Ren Hang, but he drilled the resulting free kick left and into the shins of a Chinese defender on the edge of the wall.

China had four shots on target in the first half, but Uzbek goalkeeper Ignatiy Nesterov was fearless, coming off his line twice to defuse dangerous crosses from the flanks.

He also had no trouble stopping Wu's shot from close range minutes into the new half, but had no chance against the Chinese midfielder in the 55th.

Wu finished off an attacking move that started with Jiang Zhipeng's long, floated cross from the left flank to the right, just out of Nesterov's range, that was flicked into the area by Gao Lin.

Replacement Uzbekistan midfielder Sardo Rashidov forced a save from Wang Dalie in the 67th but China responded immediately at the other end through Sun.

China dominated the latter stages, and the best missed chance was Zhang Linpeng's volley over the crossbar in the 75th.

Both teams won their opening matches, with Uzbekistan edging North Korea 1-0 and China beating the Saudis by the same margin.

Saudi Arabia had a 4-1 win over North Korea earlier Wednesday, keeping its chances alive. After China's win, North Korea slumped out of contention.

Updated : 2021-09-26 00:36 GMT+08:00