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AFC Asian Cup Day 7 Recap: Wu Lei puts in a magical display as China coast past Philippines

Written by: Uttiyo Sarkar

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In the other two fixtures, Australia comfortably defeated Palestine, and Korea edged past Kyrgyz Republic.

One-sided encounters were the flavour of the day in the AFC Asian Cup. It all started when Australia finally kicked off their campaign in a high-flying manner, thrashing Palestine 3-0 at the Rashid Stadium, Dubai. Strikes from Jamie Maclaren, Awer Mabil and Apostolos Giannou were enough for the defending champions to finally get three points on board.

Watch: Palestine 0-3 Australia, Goals and Highlights

For the Socceroos, the question remains on whether they can sustain this momentum to go far into the tournament? Probably. The team finally looks gelled together and their young, speedy attack consisting of MacLaren, Mabil and Tomas Rogic is finally working wonders. A dominance display as this proved why the Aussies are a force to be reckoned with and having hit their stride, they won’t be stopping anytime soon.

The question for Palestine will be is this the end of their journey? Most probably. It doesn’t seem like they have enough firepower to defeat Jordan, who should top the group. However, Palestine gave a bright showing for themselves. The Fedayeen will also question whether poor finishing killed the game for them. It definitely did, as constant misses from promising positions did no good in downing the morale of the players.

China put on an absolute clinical display, defeating Philippines 3-0 at the Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi. The match was lit up by the brilliance of striker Wu Lei and one added from Yu Dabao in the late stages. Lei came up with moments of utter magic with his breathtaking finishing. The striker scored a sensational brace, including two goals which one can only watch in awe.

Watch: Philippines 0-3 China, Goals and Highlights

For Marcelo Lippi and his men, the question remains on whether they will hit top form? Maybe. There are still some improvements which can be made defensively and Team Dragon need to be more clinical against stronger opponents going forward. There’s also the question of whether Wu Lei's brilliance can rally them forward? It definitely can. The striker looks set to make his mark this time and his brilliant goals, one a beautiful finish and another a brilliant volley, proved a man high in confidence.


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Philippines fans will question whether they could’ve been better defensively? Probably. Their defenders couldn’t mark Wei and others properly and that third goal was conceded too cheaply. However, this being their first ever AFC Asian Cup, it serves as a learning experience for them. They did all they could in containing stronger oppositions, but the lack of big-match experience cost the Azkals.

In the final game, South Korea piped Kyrgyz Republic 1-0 at the Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium, Al Ain, in what should’ve been a rout. Korea created many chances, with their attackers missing shockingly from close range. However, a header from Kim Min-Jae was enough to give them all three points and qualify for the Round of 16.

Watch: Kyrgyz Republic 0-1 South Korea, Goals and Highlights

Kyrgyz Republic will ask whether they deserved more for fighting bravely in two games? Maybe. They were pretty good against China but dug their own grave in letting them come-back. They weren’t at all prolific against Korea and deserved to lose. There’s also a question on whether they can win their final match to finish the tournament brightly? Probably. Philippines are still awe-struck as newcomers and Kyrgyz Republic’s fighting ability could get them all three points against the Azkals.

For Korea, the question remains on whether shocking finishing could be their undoing against China? Definitely. If Lee Chung-Yong, Hwang Hee-Chan and even Hwang Ui-Jo keep on missing easy opportunities, China will make them pay dearly. There’s also the question on whether Heung-Min Son’s clinical edge is missing? Quite clearly. Son’s not only the most stylish player for Korea, but he makes sure to finish the chances the other attackers fluffed. Today’s game proved how Korea desperately need their star-man to come and glitter up their game.

Published: Sat Jan 12, 2019 12:45 AM IST

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