SONGKHLA, Thailand – China lost to the defending champion Uzbekistan 2-0 in the second round of Group C at the 2020 AFC U23 championship on Sunday. After suffering two consecutive defeats, China now has no chance of reaching the last eight in the tournament.
Considering that the tournament offers three Asian tickets to the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, China has now failed to enter the Olympic tournament.
Chinese rising star Zhang Yuning was absent because of his foot injury. Before the game, South Korea had pocketed two wins in the group and entered the knockout stage of the tournament.
China had to grab more points than its group competitor Uzbekistan and Iran, in order to secure its next period position.
Uzbekistan dominated from the beginning and almost took the lead in the 6th minute, but the goal was ruled out for Khusniddin Alikulov’s offside.
Before the half time break, Uzbekistan broke the deadlock through Islomajon Kobilov’s penalty kick. The goal pushed China to the brink of the tournament elimination.
Under the intervention of the VAR system, Uzbekistan got the second penalty chance of the match. But in the 66th minute, Chinese goalkeeper Chen Wei denied Kobilov’s attempt of enlarging his team’s advantage.
Chinese bench footballer Tian Xin almost equalized in the 75th minute, but his header went wide.
Five minutes later, Uzbekistan’s substitute Nurillo Tukhtasinov added the second from close range following Chinese defender Zhu Chenjie’s fatal error.
China failed to pull one back before the final whistle.
“We could have done better,” said Chen Wei after the failure.
“Many areas’ abilities need strengthening,” the 21-year-old added.