Mon, Oct 29, 2007 - Page 20 News List

Chinese cruise past Myanmar to reach next round

AGENCIES , BANGKOK AND KUALA LUMPUR

China reached the next round of the Asian World Cup qualifying campaign yesterday after they routed Myanmar 4-0.

The Chinese scored all four of their goals in the first half to condemn Myanmar to yet another early World Cup exit.

Asian Cup qualifiers Oman beat Nepal 2-0 for a 4-0 aggregate win in Kathmandu and Southeast Asian champions Singapore qualified easily after a 3-0 win at home to Palestine, taking the two-leg score to 7-0.

After a shaky first-leg draw with lowly Bangladesh, Tajikistan hit five past the visitors in the second leg to guarantee their place in the next round along with Hong Kong, who thrashed East Timor 8-1.

Iraq and Pakistan drew 0-0 in Aleppo, Syria, which means the Iraqis qualified 7-0 on aggregate.

China went all out from the start and took the lead through Wu Wei'an in the 13th minute.

Jian Liu scored the second only a minute later, Zheng Jin made it three on 35 minutes and Zhang Yaokun rounded off the victory with a 39th-minute penalty.

The match was played on neutral ground in Kuala Lumpur because of last month's violent crackdown by Myanmar's military rulers.

China's regional ranking of 10th allows them to leapfrog the second round into the third, where the top five countries -- Japan, South Korea, Iran, Saudi Arabia and newcomers Australia -- will join the competition.

Of yesterday's 19 qualifiers, the top 11 ranked teams go through to the first group phase in round three. The remaining eight qualifiers must play another home and away match in round two.

Hong Kong's Siu Ki Chan scored a hat-trick to ensure there was no repeat of last week's embarrassing first-leg tussle with strugglers East Timor, who have never won an international match.

Numondzhon Khakimov bagged three goals to see off Bangladesh in Dushanbe.

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