China earn first win in World Cup qualifiers

China v South Korea

China picked up their first win in Group A of their 2018 Asian World Cup qualification campaign by defeating Korea Republic 1-0 at the Changsha Helong Sports Center in Changsha on Thursday.

The result has China on five points after six games in the group standings with their Korean opponents on 10 points with other matches in the group still to be completed today.  

Yu Dabao scored for China during the first half with a header.

The hosts started well inside the opening 10 minutes by pushing forward and looking threatening at their home stadium. 

The home side focused their attacks down their right but were caught offside often by the Korean defence early on.

In the 29th minute, China nearly scored when a cross by Wu Lei found Yu in the penalty area but he fired his shot directly at goalkeeper Kwoun Sun-tae.

The visitors also had a chance shortly afterwards when Nam Tae-hee's shot from the edge of the box curled narrowly wide past the post.

In the 34th minute, things changed as China took the lead when Yu scored with a glancing header from Wang Yongpo’s corner skidding into the bottom corner past Kwoun to make it 1-0.

Just before the half-time break the Korean's came close to grabbing the equaliser when Ji Dong-won's header went just wide for China to go in at the break leading 1-0.

During the second half, the Korean's played a lot better having a lot more possession but could not grab the equaliser, though they came close.

Zeng kept China ahead with a great save to deny Ji from scoring with his close-range header with 20 minutes to go.

Then a bit later Wu saved his side when he cleared a header off a corner by Hong Jeong-ho off the line at the near post.

In the end, the home side held out for the first win of the final round of qualifiers.