JINAN, China, Sept. 3 (Xinhua) — Hosts China earned a goalless tie with DPR Korea here on Saturday night in the London Olympic women’s soccer qualifier, getting only two points from two matches in the six-team round-robin tournament.
The top two finishers in Asia will get the Olympic berths, and China’s hope is dim as they also tied South Korea 0-0 in their opener here on Thursday.
However, China head coach Li Xiaopeng showed his satisfaction to his players’ performance. "I said that I’m not satisfied with my players’ performance last match since they were not motivated on pitch. But today I saw an over-motivated squad here," Li said.
"I said before the tournament kicked off that every match could be tough and every minute on pitch will count.
China’s Xu Yuan (C) breaks through during the match against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) at the Asian women’s football qualifier for the 2012 London Olympics in Jinan, east China’s Shandong Province, Sept. 3, 2011.
"There’re not so many world-class scorers. I think they performed 100 percent of their own and just missed the win," Li noted.
China’s veteran striker Han Duan became a starter tonight, but the Chinese attacking line failed to create more brilliant chances.
China’s best chance came in the 12th minute when forward Xu Yuan got a through pass from Han Duan and shook off the defence around the spot. But her low shot went just wide off the left post.
Ten minutes later, DPR Korea squandered a clear chance when skipper Jo Yun Mi’s powerful shot flew a little higher of the bar.
After a balanced first half, DPR Korea gradually controlled the game from the start of the second half. Substitute Kim Myong Gum forced Chinese goalie Zhang Yanru to a dangrous mistake in the 56th minute, and Ra Un Sim’s scoring attempt on 59 minutes and assisting in the 83rd minute both could have changed the result.
China’s only chance after the break came in the 70th minute when winger Ma Jun’s left-footed shot narrowly missed the goal.
The not-so-fluent game was made even more lackluster as the Ukrainian referee blew at every tiny counter action between the two sides’ players.
DPR Korea coach Sin Ui Gun gave his both thumbs up for the Chinese girls while expressing unsatisfactory to his own side.
"I think the Chinese team did very well. They did more than expected," said the new coach who just took charge in July after DPR Korea’s disappointing World Cup campaign in Germany.
Also on Saturday, world champions Japan beat South Korea 2-1, and Asian Cup winners Australia crushed Thailand 5-1.
After the second round, Japan led the tournament with six points, followed by DPR Korea with four points, Australia three points, China two points, South Korea one point, and Thailand nil.
In the next round of play, China will take on minnows Thailand on Monday, which could be the best chance for the hosts to gain some advantage.