Syria beat India to take 4 points → ‘2 points’ China slip to the brink of elimination

This is the Chinese national soccer team that needs a ticket to China.

China lost their final Group A match at the Qatar 2023 Asian Cup 0-1 against Qatar on Aug. 22 (KST), with Hassan Al Haidoz (Al Sadd) scoring the only goal of the match. With a 2-1 loss and two points, China slipped to third place as Tajikistan (4 points), who played Lebanon at the same time, pulled off a 2-1 upset to move into second place.

Public opinion in China has worsened. There were calls for Aleksandar Jankovic to resign as head coach, calling him colorless. The players fired back, saying they should swim to China.

Against Qatar 1.5, Wu Lei, Zhang Yuning, Tan Lung, and other available strikers were all brought in, but to no avail. Wu Lei is China’s leading striker, having played for Espanyol, a club with ties to Barcelona, Spain, but the scoreless draw was devastating.

It didn’t even secure a trip to China. The top four finishers in the six-team tournament qualify for the round of 16 as wild cards. Before the game, Group E’s Bahrain (3 points) and Group D’s Indonesia (3 points) had effectively booked their two spots in the round of 16. China, Syria, Oman, and Palestine (1 point or more) were in a bloodbath for the remaining two spots.

Coincidentally, the match between Syria and India took place on March 23 at Al Bait Stadium in Al Khor, Qatar. Syria and India were fighting for third place. With two losses, India needed a win to secure three points.

China watched the 90 minutes of the other game with their hands crossed. In this tournament, winner takes all, not goal difference, in case of a tie on points. For wild cards, the order is: points, winner, goal difference, aggregate, fair play, and draw. If there is a tie, check the warning number.

Syria received one warning in the first 26 minutes. It had the same total number of warnings as China. India received two. To avoid having to think about it, both teams simply needed to win. A draw would clinch third place for Syria, and we’d have to wait and see how the other countries fared.

The minutes ticked away. Both teams showed their determination to score with a series of passing mistakes, but it wasn’t easy. Set pieces, such as corners, didn’t work either. It was a series of uneventful shots.

But then the more experienced Syrians found the back of the net. In the 31st minute, Omar Krivin (Al Wahda), who previously played for Saudi Arabia’s prestigious Al Hilal, opened the scoring. He found the back of the net with a right-footed ground ball from the left side of the penalty area. They were tied with Uzbekistan on four points, but were third on goal difference.

For China, it was a goal of tears. Syria had taken the wild card. India pushed for an equalizer with a long pass, but Syria had already shown their intentions by dropping back and defending.

There were no more reversals after that, and Syria took their time and held on for the win. China fell into the elimination bracket. Palestine (1 point)-Hong Kong (0 points) in Pool C and Oman (1 point)-Kyrgyzstan (0 points) in Pool F will play each other. With a win or a loss, China must now head to Doha International Airport to get their tickets and pack their bags.


One thought on “Syria beat India to take 4 points → ‘2 points’ China slip to the brink of elimination

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