Fri, Jul 23, 2004 - Page 23 News List

China soars to top of Group A during Asian Cup action

AP , BEIJING AND JINAN, CHINA

China went top of Group A at the Asia Cup after thrashing Indonesia 5-0 Wednesday, while Bahrain and Qatar played to a 1-1 draw to stay bottom of the group.

Shao Jiayi scored twice as China moved closer to a quarterfinal berth. Indonesia dropped to second place, while Bahrain stayed third and Qatar fourth.

Playing at Beijing's Workers' Stadium, China benefited from the experience of veteran players that Dutch-born coach Arie Haan chose over youngsters who had appeared in the team's 2-2 tie against Bahrain in the opener Saturday.

Shao opened the scoring in the 25th minute, sliding in to bury a pass from Li Jinyu. Indonesia was reduced to 10 men four minutes later when Alexander Pulalo received his second yellow card for a dangerous challenge.

Shao, who plays for 1860 Munich in Germany, set up the second goal in the 40th minute, feeding an unmarked Hao Haidong who headed the ball home.

Li Ming was credited with a goal in the 66th minute when Indonesian goalkeeper Hendro Kartiko inadvertently tapped in his corner kick. Shao's second goal came in the 65th minute, a left footed drive from just outside the penalty box.

China's fifth came from Li Yi in the 80th minute, when he headed a pass from Li Jian into the upper left corner of the net.

Earlier Wednesday, substitute Mohamed Hubail scored a last minute goal to give Bahrain a 1-1 draw with Qatar.

Kuwait verus Jordan

Kuwait will battle on Friday for a Group B berth in the Asian Cup quarterfinals against tournament newcomer Jordan, which is emerging as a rising star in Asian soccer.

In the group's opening matches, the Jordanians held South Korea -- one of the favorites to win the tournament -- to a scoreless draw, while Kuwait trounced the UAE 3-1.

That left Kuwait in the lead with three points. Jordan and South Korea each have one, with UAE trailing without any points.

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