Struggling to make a point

Stuttering Team China denied by VAR in goalless tie

By SHI FUTIAN | China Daily | Updated: 2024-01-15 09:24
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Team China's players leave the field dejected at the Abdullah bin Khalifa Stadium in Doha after only managing to claim a point in a goalless draw against Tajikistan in its Qatar 2023 AFC Asian Cup Group A match on Saturday. AFP

It's not the worst case scenario, but it's certainly no redemption for the beleaguered Team China.

After seeing its potential match-winner overturned by VAR for offside, the Chinese men's soccer team kicked off its Asian Cup with a 0-0 draw against Tajikistan on Saturday, meaning it now needs to put in two perfect shifts against Lebanon and Qatar if it's to achieve its goal of advancing to the knockout stages — and offer some much-needed succor to disgruntled Chinese soccer fans.

"We were a little bit tense in the first half, but we adjusted and delivered as much as possible in the second period. We deserved a victory, but we had a goal overturned by VAR," said Team China veteran defender Zhang Linpeng after the match.

"This is the first time for many of our young players to play at the Asian Cup, and I could feel that they were nervous. After the adjustment during halftime, we had better cooperation. The most important thing is that we can learn from the match and improve on it for our next challenge."

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