Thailand were well in charge of the first half and went in at half-time leading thanks to a goal from Supachai Jaided, but China came back to win thanks to two goals in quick succession in 67' and 71'.
Thailand vs China match report
It took Marcello Lippi's men a while, but China finally got into their stride in the second half against Thailand, scoring two goals in quick succession to seal a victory that looked incredibly uncertain at the break.
After some early pressure from China, Thailand turned things in their favour and opened the scoring through Supachai in the 30th minute, when the 20-year-old, who created plenty of problems for the Chinese defence in the first 45, latched onto the end of deflected shot to drive one home from six yards out. The War Elephants continued to control the rest of the half and went in at the break the better side and seemingly well positioned to record their first victory over their opponents since 1990.
But whatever coach Marcello Lippi said to his players at half time seemed to get through, as China came out all guns blazing after, creating wave after wave of attack in the first fifteen minutes. But despite getting themselves into several goal scoring positions, they just could not find a way past Thai keeper Siwarak Tedsungnoen, who made an incredible stop with his leg in the 61st minute to deny Yu Dabao from almost point-blank range.
Just six minutes later, he made an equally impressive save to stop Zhi Xiao’s header, but this time he could not hold onto it and Zhi Xiao was quickest to react, slotting it past the Thai keeper to get China back on level terms. After having staved off the rampant Chinese attack for more than 20 minutes, Thailand’s resistance finally fell.
Team Dragon’s second goal followed just four minutes later after Thailand conceded a penalty kick, which Lin Gao hammered into the top right corner, leaving Siwarak with no chance. Lippi’s side continued to dominate the rest of the game as they went in search of a third to kill off the their wounded opponents. The third never came, but in the end, the two goals were enough to see China through to the quarters, where they will face either Iran or Oman.
Thailand vs China: live updates
Thailand vs China: match preview
China and Thailand meet in the last 16 of the Asian Cup, with a quarter final clash with either Iran or Oman awaiting the winners.
Thailand will be particularly wary of Wu Lei, who was the man who scored both goals in the 2-0 victory for China the last time these two sides met last year in Bangkok. But with a new coach and new playing style, Lippi is expecting a different game this time out. After a 4-1 drubbing by India in their opening game, Sirisak Yodyardthai’s men went on to beat Bahrain (1-0) and draw with hosts the UAE (1-1), which was enough to see them through to the knock-out stages for the first time since 1972, the year they reached the semi-finals.
The War Elephants will be without midfielder Sanrawat Dechmitr, who misses the rest of tournament because of a back injury. China, meanwhile, can count on all their player’s being fit for a game they will be expected to win comfortably.
Team Dragon will be hoping to redeem themselves after their 2-0 defeat in the last group game against South Korea. Although the result did not stop them getting through to this phase, thanks to previous victories over Kyrgyz Republic (2-1) and the Philippines (3-0). Coach Marcello Lippi will be delighted that star man Wu Lei is fit to play after recovering from a shoulder injury which side-lined him for the match against Korea on Wednesday.