Jose Antonio Camacho could not have expected the start to his tenure with the China national team to have been so nerve wracking, but in the end the Spaniard was left relieved as his side overcame Singapore to make a winning start to the third round of Asia's World Cup qualifying tournament.
Goals from Zheng Zhi and Yu Hai in the last quarter of the game gave China a 2-1 win over a determined Singaporean side that took the lead through Aleksandar Duric in the 33rd minute on an atrocious pitch that prevented either team from playing their normal game.
A missed penalty by Qu Bo just before the hour mark and a string of missed chances - including hitting the woodwork on two occasions - threatened to leave Camacho and his team frustrated and embarrassed until substitute Zheng slotted home and Yu sealed the deal 18 minutes from time. 'We weren't too lucky today and Singapore did well, but our players did well too,' said Camacho (pictured). 'We were just missing a little bit of luck and we didn't defend very well against Duric.
'Each game is different and today in the second half Singapore were becoming more defensive and we were playing slower in the second half as well, so that's something we need to look at. Our players did well, they didn't give up.'
China pushed and prodded but came up short until Zheng - who had replaced Huang Bowen just two minutes earlier - was given the task to restoring parity from the penalty spot and he succeeded where Qu had failed 10 minutes earlier.
Camacho's team went for the win and when a close-range attempt by another substitute, Yu Dabao, was parried by goalkeeper Lionel Lewis, Yu Hai was on hand to claim the winner.