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        China upset by Thailand in China Cup opener

        0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China.org.cn, March 22, 2019
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        A first half strike from Chanathip Songkrasin secured Thailand a 1-0 win over China in the 2019 China Cup semi-final on Thursday.

        Thailand will meet the winners of the second semi-final tie between Uzbekistan and Uruguay, while China will play in the third-place play-off on Monday.

        China began brightly despite playing without ace striker Wu Lei but Thailand showed resilience as the game saw an aggressive start by both teams.

        Thailand had a star striker of their own in Chanathip, and he displayed tremendous skill when dribbled past the Chinese defence in the 14th minute but the Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo forward shot straight into the arms of goalkeeper Yan Junling.

        China, who are now under the charge of recently appointed head coach Fabio Cannavaro, were aiming to impress in front of their home crowd at the Guangxi Sports Center, but failed to keep their efforts on target with Thai 'keeper Siwarak Tedsungnoen hardly tested.

        In the 33rd minute, China were heavily punished when their defence was caught off guard after a failed run into the final third, with Thailand launching into a swift counter-attack that saw a long cross finding captain Adisak Kraisorn.

        Adisak then sent a brilliant through pass to the surging Thitipan Puangchan, who made it into the box before setting up Chanathip with a back pass, and the 25-year-old made no mistake as he hit home to break the deadlock. 

        China responded by barraging the penalty box with crosses from the flanks but the Thai backline easily dealt with the danger.

        Team Dragon did come close to finding the equaliser in the 61st minute but Dong Xuesheng couldn't keep his header down.

        Wei Shao had two golden opportunities on 88 minutes but his header was off the mark and volley safely caught by Siwarak.

        In the end, it was not to be for China as Thailand sealed a deserved win. 

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