China was the first Asian Cup participant to finish the second game, but China has yet to score or lose any points. The only comfort is that China ranks second in the group with two points. However, it seems difficult to maintain this ranking until the end and advance to the round of 16. This is because the last schedule of the group stage is Qatar, the host country. Wu Lei, China’s flagship goal scorer, had a golden opportunity to score the winning goal in front of the empty goal in the second half, but failed to cross the goal line.
The Chinese men’s soccer team, led by Aleksandar Jankovic (Serbia), drew 0-0 with Lebanon in the second Group A game of the 2023 AFC Asian Cup at Al Thumama Stadium in Doha, Qatar, at 8:30 p.m. on the 17th (Korea time).
Lebanon has twice had bad luck with the goal
Both teams desperately needed three points to advance to the round of 16 strongest teams, but ended up accepting the disappointing result. Around the end of the first half, both teams had good chances, which was almost like a goal, but they couldn’t laugh. I thought China was scoring a goal first at the 44th minute. Goalkeeper Zhang Winning aimed a superb left-footed kick to the corner of Lebanon’s goal, but Lebanon’s goalkeeper Mostafa Matar, who flew away without giving up the ball that seemed to be sucked in by the defender’s foot, ended up losing his super save.
The most breathtaking moment of the game came in the 65th minute. China aimed for the goal with a sharp early cross from the right side, but it was hit by the glove of Lebanon goalkeeper Mostafa Matar and flowed backward. Lebanon’s defender Khalil Kamis, who thought Wu Lei was scoring the final goal of the right-footed change as the goal was empty, fired himself over the goal line and kicked the ball away with his left foot. Kamis’ body rolled over the goal line but the ball failed to cross the goal line.
Consequently, the Chinese players couldn’t raise their heads when they heard the closing whistle of Korean referee Ko Hyung-jin. At the Qatar-Tajikistan game held an hour later at Al Bayt Stadium in Al-Kor, host country Qatar won the game 1-0, boosted by best duo Akram Afif (right foot goal) and Almoez Ali (right foot assist). Akram Afif is the lone top scorer with three goals.
China, ranked second in Group A, will meet Qatar, the host country who was the first to reach the round of 16 tournament at 12 p.m. on the 22nd at Khalifa International Stadium in Doha, and Lebanon, which is on the verge of elimination in fourth place, will also meet Tajikistan, ranked third, at Jasim bin Hamad Stadium at the same time and play everything to qualify for the round of 16.