By Jonas Terrado
(Rashid Stadium, Dubai)
9:30 p.m. – Kyrgyzstan vs Philippines
Chinese Wu Lei scored two sensational goals and handed the Philippine Azkals a 3-0 beating in Friday’s AFC Asian Cup match at the Mohammad bin Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
Wu struck the opener in the 40th minute before adding a second with a brilliant volley off goalkeeper Michael Falkesgaard in the 67th to virtually deal the Azkals a second straight loss in their maiden appearance in the region’s biggest football competition.
Substitute Yu Dabao added a third goal in the 80th as China booked a spot in the round of 16 with its second consecutive victory following its 2-1 triumph over Kyrgyzstan last Monday.
The Azkals, meanwhile, face a must-win situation on Wednesday against Kyrgyzstan in Dubai to keep their slim hopes of becoming one of the four best placers after the group stage.
Kyrgyzstan was playing South Korea as of presstime.
Coach Sven Goran-Eriksson’s side entered the match coming off a gritty display in a 1-0 defeat to South Korea in Dubai, but Wu capitalized on every defensive gaps by the Azkals to set the tone for China’s strong showing.
Wu’s floated a one-touch attempt into the far corner to break the ice, but his second was even more impressive when he volleyed a free kick past Falkesgaard.
The Azkals had little chances to score, with Javier Patino’s attempt off a counterattack was blocked by a Chinese defender. Kevin Ingreso tried to equalize before halftime but his shot was deflected.
Eriksson lost in the match against China coach and good friend Marcelo Lippi, who guided Italy to the World Cup title in 2006.