China have secured a 2-1 victory against Kyrgyzstan in their first match on Monday at the 2019 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup’s Group C match.
China managed to claim a difficult win because of an own goal by the opponent’s goalkeeper Pavel Matiash and the other by striker Yu Dabao.
Kyrgyzstani players did not appear to suffer from stage fright by playing in open offense with China in their first Asian Cup appearance. In most data including possession, passes, and free kicks, they equally matched China and even led in corner kicks (2-0) and shots (7-3). Kyrgyzstan’s efforts paid off in the 42nd minute when Akhlidin Israilov scored his country’s first goal at the Asian Cup and take the lead 1-0.
China in the first half had the same problem as they always did in the offense: players failed to create goal opportunity when they drove close to the box. In defense, players did not pay enough attention to Kyrgyzstan’s penetrating pass. The lost goal was the result of five Chinese players standing in almost the same line, leaving too much space for Israilov to take a comfortable shot.
China in the second half enhanced closing down in the opposing half. However, Kyrgyzstan goalkeeper Matiash gave China a gift in the 50th minute by beating China’s corner kick into the goal he was supposed to protect. Thanks to the lucky surprise, China tied the score 1-1 early in the second half.
As time went on, Kyrgyzstan players’ movement began to slow down resulted by growing weariness and the pressure from China’s closing down. China took the chance to take on stronger offense, which translated into their lead in shooting (6-3) and free kicks (6-3). In the 78th minute, Gao Lin passed the ball with a header to Yu Dabao who then first calmly dodged the pouncing goalkeeper before scoring to help China gain the 2-1 lead.
Thanks to the fourth straight win in their first match at the AFC Asian Cup, China should be able to guarantee a spot in the elimination if they beat the Philippines on Friday.