China blanks Azkals, 3-0

Sun.Star Cebu - - PRIME SPORTS - AP

China and South Korea made it to the knock­out round of the Asian Cup on Fri­day, while de­fend­ing cham­pion Aus­tralia stayed alive by re­bound­ing from a stun­ning open­ing de­feat.

China se­cured a spot in the round of 16 with a com­fort­able 3-0 win over the Philip­pines in Group C, while South Korea ad­vanced in the same group by de­feat­ing Kyr­gyzs­tan 1-0.

Aus­tralia put its 1-0 open­ing loss to Jor­dan in the past by rout­ing Pales­tine 3-0 in Group B.

China star for­ward Wu Lei scored two su­perb goals — a curl­ing right-footed shot into the top cor­ner in the first half and a vol­ley in the se­cond — against a Philip­pines squad mak­ing its Asian Cup de­but.

Yu Dabao added the third with a header a few sec­onds after en­ter­ing the match late.

China had opened with a hard-fought 2-1 win against Kyr­gyzs­tan.

Paulo Bento’s South Korea picked up its se­cond straight win with a 41st-minute header by de­fender Kim Min-jae.

China and South Korea have six points, while Kyr­gyzs­tan and the Philip­pines have zero but have slim chances of ad­vanc­ing. China and South Korea will fight for the group win on Wed­nes­day in Abu Dhabi.

The top two teams in each group and the four best third-place teams ad­vance to the round of 16.

For Aus­tralia, Jamie Ma­claren and Awer Ma­bil scored two min­utes apart in the first half and sub­sti­tute Apos­to­los Gian­nou added an­other in the se­cond at Rashid Sta­dium.

Jor­dan, which has al­ready ad­vanced to the next round as the group win­ner, has six points, three more than the Soc­ceroos. Syria and Pales­tine have a point each from their open­ing draw and still have a chance of reach­ing the next stage.

Aus­tralia will try to se­cure its spot in the last 16 on Tues­day when it faces Syria. Pales­tine plays Jor­dan at the same time.

“We’re just get­ting started, it’s ex­cit­ing times ahead,” said Chris Ikono­midis, one of the three changes to the start­ing lineup made by Aus­tralia coach Gra­ham Arnold. /

AP FOTO

ONE-SIDED. Al­varo Silva of the Philip­pines tries to stop China’s for­ward Gao Lin dur­ing their AFC Asian Cup Group C match.

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