AFC Asian Cup: China’s Marcello Lippi unhappy as they scrape opening group win against Kyrgyzstan

  • China struggle to opening group victory
  • Horrendous goalkeeping error gifted Lippi’s side the equaliser
PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 08 January, 2019, 12:59pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 08 January, 2019, 12:59pm

China’s manager Marcello Lippi questioned the attitude of his team after they came from behind to scrape a 2-1 victory over Kyrgyzstan thanks to an own goal and Yu Dabao’s late strike in their AFC Asian Cup opener on Monday.

Kyrgyzstan goalkeeper Pavel Matiash pushed the ball into his own net five minutes into the second half to cancel out Akhlidin Israilov’s first-half opener before Yu secured the points for China with a calm finish 12 minutes from time.

With South Korea winning 1-0 against a defiant Philippines, who like Kyrgyzstan are tournament debutants, with a goal by Hwang Ui-jo, the east Asian nations are the group C pacesetters but Lippi was not happy with China’s performance.

“I’ve been in China for two years now and it’s not the first time (we’ve been) in this situation,” Lippi said of his side’s disjointed display in the opening period.

“There were a few times when the team couldn’t play well in the first half and then, after I got angry and I pushed my players, I got the reaction I wanted from the first minute.

“Maybe it’s the characteristics of the players from China.”

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Lippi’s side were outplayed in the first half by the Central Asian side and it came as little surprise when Israilov put Kyrgyzstan in front three minutes before the break with a volley from the edge of the area.

Matiash’s horrendous mistake, however, gifted the Chinese an equaliser when he palmed a seemingly harmless looping header from Zhang Linpeng into his own goal.

The goal lifted the Chinese and Beijing Guoan’s Yu slotted home late on to give Lippi’s team a winning start to the continental championship.