CHINA TOPIX

Updated 11:29 AM EDT, Tue, Jun 16, 2020

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2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers: China Beats South Korea, 1-0, to Revive World Cup Hopes

China PR striker Yu Dabao

(Photo : Getty Images) Yu Dabao scores the winning goal in China's 1-0 win over South Korea on Thursday.

China's World Cup hopes were revived after Team Dragon defeated the favorite South Korea, 1-0, in a 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying match held at the Helong Stadium in Changsha, China on Thursday.

Beijing Guoan striker Yu Dabao was the hero of the match for China as he scored the winning goal of the contest in the 34th minute with a header off a corner kick by Wang Yongpo. It was the first win of the Chinese after six games in the third round of qualifiers.

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It was a notable match for head coach Marcelo Lippi, the former Juventus, Italy national team, and Guangzhou Evergrande manager, who was appointed as China PR boss in October of last year. The World Cup-winning head coach had replaced Gao Hongbo, who resigned a month earlier after four consecutive winless performances in the qualifiers.

Lippi is currently undefeated in two games as China PR head coach as he led the team to a 0-0 draw against Qatar in his debut last October.

"Before the match, we knew the importance to win this match. And we worked hard to get the three points we must get. But it is not enough to win a ticket to World Cup. We need to continue this momentum and win the following matches," said Lippi, via Xinhuanet.

Meanwhile, Yu admitted that the team was "under great pressure" to win in front of their home fans against perhaps the strongest team in the region.

"We were under great pressure before the game and now we have laid a good foundation with the three points," Yu said. "It has always been crucial to grasp whatever chances you have and thank the coach so much for believing in me."

The Koreans controlled ball possession most of the match, but they were unable to score a goal amidst a tough and effective Chinese defense, as per ESPN. China goalkeeper Zeng Cheng had a remarkable performance in the second half to help the team pull off the clean sheet.

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