CHINA TOPIX

Updated 9:12 AM EST, Tue, Jan 05, 2021

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AFC 2018 World Cup Qualifying: South Korea nips China, 3-2, in high-scoring opener to their WC qualifiers campaign

China's Zheng Zhi (L) and South Korea's Son Heung-min competes for the ball

(Photo : Getty Images) South Korea escaped with a high-scoring 3-2 win over China PR to open their 2018 FIFA World Cup AFC qualifying tournament campaign at the Seoul World Cup Stadium on Thursday.

South Korea escaped with a high-scoring 3-2 win over China PR to open their 2018 FIFA World Cup AFC qualifying tournament campaign at the Seoul World Cup Stadium in the capital city of South Korea on Thursday.

In a scrappy showing from both sides during the first half of play, Guangzhou Evergrande captain Zheng Zhi's own goal at the 21st minute opened the scoring in the contest, which allowed the hosts to enter the halftime break with a 1-0 lead.

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Tottenham Hotspur winger Son Heung-min shot a free kick that was headed by Ji Dong-won, with the shot then hitting Zheng on the way towards the Chinese goal, as per Sportal.

China PR almost equalized before the half, though, but Shanghai SIPG winger Wu Lei missed two outstanding opportunities as the halftime whistle sounded.

The Taegeuk Warriors continued their attack in the second half as Crystal Palace winger Lee Chung-yong snapped his goalless international streak with a goal at the 63rd minute off an assist by Ji, doubling the hosts' lead to 2-0, Yonhap News reported.

FC Augsburg midfielder Koo Ja-cheol made it a 3-0 game three minutes later as the head coach Uli Stielike's side looked headed to a dominating victory in their World Cup qualifying opener.

However, the Chinese squad is far from finished as head coach Gao Hongbo unleashed a comeback attempt late in the match.

Shanghai SIPG midfielder Yu Hai cut the lead to 3-1 at the 74th with a brilliant individual move that found the back of Jung Sung-ryong's net. Just three minutes later, the advantage was down to one, 3-2, as Shandong Luneng winger Hao Junmin netted a goal after curling home a free kick.

China almost found the equalizer late in the match, but Jiangsu Suning defender Ren Hang's volley from the center box was effectively saved by Jung to snatch the three points away for the Red Devils.

South Korea will next face Syria at the Tuanku Abdul Rahman Stadium in Malaysia while China takes on Iran at home at the Shenyang Olympic Sports Center Stadium. Both games will be held on Sep. 6.

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