BY ZULHILMI ZAINAL Follow on Twitter
China U-23 cruised past minnows Laos U-23 in their first match in Group J of the 2020 AFC U-23 Championship qualifiers on Friday. A goal by Shan Huanhuan and two by Yang Liyu in the first half, and one each by Lin Liangming and Cao Yongjing in the second half added time helped them record the comfortable win.
Predictably, China asked most of the questions in the first 10 minutes of the encounter, with their closest chance coming from Hu Jinghang's eighth-minute curler that beat goalkeeper Keo Oudone, but not the crossbar.
A collision between Huanhuan and the goalkeeper in the Laos penalty box in the 24th minute left him with the ball with Oudone floored, but the forward only managed to hit the ball across the goalmouth.
Laos in the meantime were comfortable only sitting back to absorb the pressure from their superior opponents, only going on counter attacks when a chance presented itself.
But the constant pressure succeeded in the end, when the referee pointed to the spot for a handball in the 29th minute. Liyu coolly slotted the spot kick to break the deadlock.
Three minutes from halftime, Huanhuan made it 2-0 for China, pouncing on the loose ball that fell into his path by slotting it past the goalkeeper, following a brief melee in the Laos box.
But just before the halftime whistle was blown, Liyu connected well with a cross from the right whipped in by Li Shenyuan, heading the ball into the back of net to extend their lead to three.
Laos tried coming back in the match after the break, but their attacks were broken up rather too easily by the Chinese every team.
China too were happy to take their foot off the pedal, rarely creating significant chances, while head coach Guus Hiddink introduced new players early on to give them playing minutes. Nevertheless, substitutes Liangming and Yongjing managed to add their fourth and fifth goals in injury time.
The match ended in a 5-0 win to China.
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A post shared by Goal Malaysia (@goal_malaysia) on Mar 19, 2019 at 8:36pm PDT