AFC U20 Asian Cup: China surprise Saudi to take group qualification to the wire

March 7 – China turned the form book and Group D of the AFC U20 Asian Cup upside down with a 2-0 win over reigning champions Saudi Arabia to keep themselves in with a chance of qualifying for the quarter finals going into the last group game later this week.

China have to overcome the Kyrgyz Republic who are bottom of the group, to go to six points while Saudi Arabia have to be beat group leaders Japan by a good margin if they are to secure six points and guarantee qualification on goal difference.

China secured their win against the Saudis with two second-half goals at the Bunyodkor Stadium in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

With the score level at half time, the Chinese took the lead 20 minutes into the second half when China captain Aifeierding Aisikaer cut inside from the left and whipped a ball into the box for half-time substitute Mutellip Iminqari to score the opener.

Six minutes later China to hit the Saudis on the counter with Iminqari turning provider when he squared for Xu Bin to sweep home the second.

China’s coach Antonio Puche highlighted the youth in his team and a positive future for China, saying “today we finished our game with seven players born in 2004 and 2005; this is fantastic news for China.”

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