China draw with Singapore in FIFA World Cup Qualifiers


Agency :
China squandered a 2-0 lead to ultimately draw 2-2 with Singapore away in Group C of the FIFA World Cup Asian Qualifiers second stage in Singapore on Thursday.

Both teams changed head coaches recently. Before this game, China sat third in Group C with one victory and one defeat, while Singapore lost two consecutive matches.

China broke the deadlock in the 10th minute with a glancing header from veteran striker Wu Lei in the box following a cross from midfielder Wang Shangyuan.

In the 31st minute, Wu won a penalty for China, but his sloppy shot was saved by Singaporean goalkeeper Hassan Sunny.

China extended the lead to 2-0 in stoppage time of the first half as Wu netted in a rebound shot after a long-distance strike from attacking midfielder Xie Pengfei.

“I told my players at the halftime that 2-0 is dangerous. Sadly, we did not do well in the second half,” China coach Branko Ivankovic told the post-match press conference.

The momentum of the match changed dramatically in the second half, with Faris Ramli pulled one goal back for the home team in the 53rd minute, after a Chinese defender deflected his shot, leaving goalkeeper Yan Junling hapless.

In the 81st minute, China Captain and defender Zhang Linpeng missed a critical clearance and gave Singaporean substitute Jacob Mahler an open goal opportunity in the penalty area to score the equalizer.


“We should improve the efficiency to goal in the coming game and have a lot to correct. The team needs to do all the efforts to win the next game,” Ivankovic said.

After the disappointing draw, China still ranks third in the group, trailing the group leader South Korea by three points and on par with Thailand but behind on goal difference.

In the other match of Group C on Thursday, South Korea was held by Thailand 1-1 at home.

China will play back-to-back match against Singapore at home in Tianjin next Tuesday.

Wu Lei told the media that his individual performance held no significance if the team failed.

“I don’t care who scores the goals but winning the second match matters.

That’s all I’m thinking about,” Wu noted.