|Cristian Andal |||Mar 22, 2017 10:47 PM EDT|
(Photo : Getty Images) China will host South Korea at the Helong Stadium on Thursday in a 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying match.
China is set to face South Korea for the second time in the third round of the 2018 AFC FIFA World Cup qualifying tournament. The match will be held at the Helong Stadium in the Hunan province capital of Changsa on Thursday.
The Korea Republic nipped China PR, 3-2, during the two national squads' first third-round meeting at the Seoul World Cup Stadium in the South Korean capital in September of last year. The Taegeuk Warriors scored the first three goals of the match before Team Dragon was able to net two late in the game to come short of a comeback.
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China team captain Zheng Zhi netted an unfortunate own goal in the 21st minute to give South Korea a 1-0 lead at the halftime break. Lee Chung-yong and Koo Ja-cheol scored a goal each in the 63rd and 66th minutes to make it a 3-0 affair before Yu Hai and Hao Junmin found the back of the net in the 74th and 77th for the final count.
This second match is reportedly a "tense" game as security is tightened for the match. Off the pitch, there are rising tensions between the two nations after South Korea came to an agreement with the United States to install an anti-missile system in the country. South Korea said that it was aimed to function as a defensive measure against North Korea, but Chinese officials deemed it as a security risk to China.
Meanwhile, China is parading a new head coach in former Juventus and Italy national team manager Marcelo Lippi. The World Cup-winning head coach, who had also coached Guangzhou Evergrande, was appointed as the Chinese team manager in October of last year.
"Tomorrow's game is the most important and our mentality is crucial," said Lippi, via Channel New Asia. "I have repeated that very often to the players since day one and they have to forget about all the pressure and fear."
South Korea boss Uli Stielike is expecting a tough fight from the Chinese and a different style of play now with Lippi at the helm.
"We saw how the match went in September in Seoul. It's going to be a fierce, close game tomorrow," Stielike said, as per Yonhap News. "After the coaching change, there's a difference in China's play style and squad. The match will be played differently than our first meeting in September, so we'll prepare thoroughly."
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