Philippines stalwart Javier Patino the toast of China after his World Cup qualifier helping hand
Filipino Javier Patino has always been a popular member of his team, Super League club Henan Jianye as their Asian foreign player, but he suddenly became the toast of all China after the Philippines’ stunning upset of North Korea in their World Cup qualifier on Tuesday.
Patino received a hero’s welcome on his return to his mainland club. The speedy 28-year-old striker made two assists as the Philippines, who had no hope of qualifying, shocked the Koreans 3-2, a result that helped China, unexpected 2-0 winners over Qatar, finish as one of the four best runners-up in the group stage and now live to fight another day in the next round of qualifiers.
“I did not watch the China-Qatar match because it clashed with our game but felt very excited after finding out later our victory had helped China,” said Patino when he returned to Zhengzhou, where the team are based. “Soccer is always like this with a lot of uncertainties. North Korea are much stronger than us but we didn’t think too much before the match and just tried to play our best.
“It was an exciting match as we came from behind to win. The Koreans must feel sorry for their whole life after losing to us.”
Patino, born in Spain of a Filipino mother , was with Thailand Premier League club Buriram United before moving to China last season, when he scored 11 goals in 27 appearances for Henan.
His impressive performances continued as Patino had another assist when they defeated Shanghai SIPG in their opening match of the season earlier this month.
Henan have another overseas player, Australian Ryan McGowan, who was an unused substitute when his country thrashed Jordn 5-1 in another World Cup qualifying match on Tuesday. Jordan were also competing with China for one of the four best second-placed teams for the next round but lost out.