Hosts China held 0-0 by Qatar but perform well under Lippi

Xinhua | 2016-11-16 10:28

Hosts China held 0-0 by Qatar but perform well under Lippi

China's Zhang Yuning (2nd R) vies for the ball with Qatar's Luiz Junior during their Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification match in Kunming, Southwest China's Yunnan province, Nov 15, 2016. The match ended in a 0-0 draw. [Photo/Xinhua]

KUNMING, China - Newly-appointed coach Marcello Lippi improved China's performance but failed to bring the team a desperately-needed win over Qatar in the last stage of the 2018 World Cup Asian Zone qualifiers on Tuesday.

The goalless tie left China lamenting for squandered chances and with only 2 points from five games. They are locked at the bottom of the 6-team Group A which includes South Korea, Iran, Uzbekistan, Qatar and Syria.

The top two of the group will advance to Russia 2018 directly after a home-and-away round-robin, and the third finisher will have a playoff against its counterpart in Group B.

"Before the match, I've already known that we have slim hope to go to Russia 2018 and now it's even harder," Lippi told a post-game press conference. "But I want to tell the players that they are no worse than any opponents in the group, which was proved tonight."

"We played better than Qatar but just lacked a bit luck. We deserved to win. We still have the chance and we'll fight to the end." the 68-year-old added.

The hosts, boasting 67 percent ball possession, dominated the game from the beginning with Wu Lei, Jiang Zhipeng and Zhang Yuning testing goalkeeper Saad Al Sheeb consecutively.

But they neither converted opportunities into goals nor gave their new Italian coach a jubilant debut.

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