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Wednesday October 16, 2013 MYT 12:05:00 AM
Wednesday October 16, 2013 MYT 12:05:38 AM
SINGAPORE: Boaz Solossa’s thunderous equaliser rocked China’s bid to reach an 11th straight Asian Cup when they were held to a 1-1 draw by Indonesia on Tuesday.
China, under caretaker manager Fu Bo after Juan Antonio Camacho was sacked in June, went ahead through Wu Xi in the first half at Jakarta’s cavernous Gelora Bung Karno Stadium.
But Solossa’s strike from the edge of the box denied China a valuable win as they compete with former champions Iraq and Saudi Arabia for the two automatic qualifying spots in a tough Group C.
China are provisionally second in the group at the halfway stage with Iraq, one point behind, due to host table-toppers Saudi Arabia later. Indonesia are bottom with one point.
Elsewhere, Singapore got their first points with a 2-1 win over war-torn Syria, which lifts them off the bottom of Group A as they seek to reach the 2015 Asian Cup in Australia.
And Ali Ahmed Mabkhout scored a hat-trick as Group E leaders United Arab Emirates maintained their 100% record with a 4-0 away thrashing of Hong Kong.
In Jakarta, China were on top in the early stages and lone striker Yu Dabao twice went close before midfielder Wu broke the deadlock in the 36th minute.
Feng Xiaoting hit the crossbar on the hour-mark, and the miss was to prove costly when Indonesia equalised on 68 minutes with Solossa’s first-time strike from the edge of the box.
Meanwhile, at Singapore’s Jalan Besar Stadium, striker Khairul Amri put the home side ahead after half-time when Hafiz Sujad cut in and crossed for an easy scoring opportunity.
And Gabriel Quak, moments after coming on, had the home crowd in raptures when he burst into the box from the right and planted his shot for a 2-0 lead in the 81st minute.
Reja Rafe’s raking strike with two minutes to go gave Syria hope, but Singapore held on for what were their first points of qualifying.
Before Tuesday’s game, Hong Kong were second in Group E behind UAE, but they were brought down to earth by their big 4-0 defeat to the pool leaders at home.
Mabkhout sent the visitors on their way on the half-hour, and he added two more in the second period before Walid Abbas grabbed UAE’s fourth deep in injury time. – AFP
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