China beats Qatar, fails to bag World Cup ticket

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Doha, Sep 6 (IANS) China football team defeated Qatar 2-1 here in the last round of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Asian preliminaries, but failed to earn the WC finals ticket.

China needs the win over Qatar and hopes other two games’ results go its way in order to clinch the resultant play-off spot, reports Xinhua news agency.

Zheng Zhi could have put China ahead in the 6th minute, but his powerful long shot was denied by Qatar’s goalkeeper. Gao Lin almost broke the deadlock in the 12th minute, but his shot was punched out by Saad Alsheed too.

Qatar and China both missed several chances in the first half, which ended 0-0.

Akram Afif’s attempt found the net two minutes after the break. The 20-year-old challenged Chinese goalkeeper Zeng Cheng again in the 53rd minute, but Zeng’s brilliant save beat Afif this time.

Xiao Zhi helped Marcello Lippi’s side equalise the score in the 74th minute, as his sliding shot in the close range kept China alive.

China’s captain Zheng was shown the red card in the 80th minute, while Wu Lei’s following shot turned the table three minutes after it.

China finished fifth with 12 points in the group as Uzbekistan tied South Korea 0-0 and Syria drew with Iran 2-2. Syria earned a spot of play-offs as the third-placed team with 13 points while Uzbekistan finished fourth.

Group leaders Iran and second-placed South Korea received automatic tickets to Russia 2018.

–IANS

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