KUALA LUMPUR, July 10 (Reuters) - China stormed to an emphatic 5-1 victory over Asian Cup co-hosts Malaysia on Tuesday, putting on the most impressive display of the tournament so far as they cruised to victory in their Group C opener.
The 2004 runners-up became the first of the favoured teams
to score a victory in the tournament after Australia and
defending champions Japan were held to respective 1-1 draws by
Oman and Qatar in their opening group matches.
Despite enjoying home advantage, Malaysia failed to emulate
the performances of fellow southeast Asian co-hosts Vietnam and
Indonesia, both of whom scored surprise victories in their
Thailand are the other nation hosting the 16-team
tournament that culminates with the final in Jakarta on July
Although happy with the victory, China coach Zhu Guanghu
said his team lost their discipline in allowing Malaysia to
score after leading 4-0.
"I am concerned that Malaysia managed to fight back and
score against us," Zhu told reporters.
"Before that we were in control and were disciplined.
"We showed character to go out and score a fifth goal, but
we will certainly investigate why we allowed them to score and
try not to let it happen again."
China's goal rush began after just 15 minutes when striker
Han Peng headed in Wang Dong's high cross from the right after
Malaysia's defence was split open by some dynamic approach
Midfielder Shao Jiayi, who plays for Energie Cottbus in the
German Bundesliga, doubled the lead after 36 minutes with
another free header.
Any hopes of a Malaysian comeback were dashed six minutes
after the break when Wang made it 3-0 with a snap-shot from
outside the box that deflected in off defender Fauzie Nan.
Han made it 4-0 with his second goal of the match four
minutes later, when he turned in Mao Jianqing's cross from the
Malaysia scored a consolation goal in the 73rd minute when
substitute Indra Putra beat Li Leilei with a low shot from the
edge of the penalty area, but Wang restored Chinas four-goal
advantage with a looping header in the final minute.
China play their next match on Sunday against Iran, who
open their Group C campaign against Uzbekistan on Wednesday.