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
95' BEEP BEEP BEEP! China have done it. Thai players drop to their knees, heartbreak for them. They had a great first half but China stamped their authority on the second half and scored two quick goals in succession to secure their place in the quarters.
92' Chance Thailand! Xiaoting Feng strikes a volley from distance and it almost sailed into the top corner, but it's a great save by Junling Yan. What drama that would have been!
85' China have already had 11 shots in this half, compared with three in the first half. Thailand, who were the better side in the first half, have just disappeared since the teams came back out after the break.
82' Cross whipped into from the left for China, and Wu Lei is on the end of it yet again! But he heads it wide..... He's just having one of those days.
78' Lei Wu is released again in the box, but his shot is blocked. Will that goal ever come for the number 7?
75' Lei Wu shoots from distance, but he's pulled that well wide. He's been poor with the final ball today.
73' China have put the ball in the back of the net again! But it's been deemed offside. Thailand are falling apart here, as they did against India in the first game.
71' GOAALLLL CHINA! Thailand give away a penalty pick, which Lin Gao hammers into top left corner. Thailand's brave resistance has finally fallen.
67' GOAALLL CHINA! Substitute Zhi Xiao's intial header from a cross on the right is well saved by teh Thai keeper. But he can't hold onto it and Zhi Xiao pounces on it and drives it into the net.
64' Dabao Yu makes way for Zhi Xiao
63' Goalscorer Supachai comes off. He's worked hard today. One comes Chayanan Pombuppha
60' Yu Dabao shoots from almost point-blank range but the Thai keeper makes an incredible stop with his leg. China have got themselves into plenty of goalscoring positions but they just can't put the ball in the net.
58' Xiaoting Feng delivers a lovely long ball into the box, which finds Lei Wu, but his shot is blocked. China are creating plenty of chances but they just lacking the ability to capitalise on those chances.
53' Wu Lei is released inside the penalty area again. But he totally misses the ball as goes to hit it.
50' China have come out all guns blazing at Thailand here. Whatever Lippi said at half time seems to have got through.
48' Chance China! Lin Gao is released down the left side of the box and he pulls it back to Lei Wu, unmarked by the penalty spot, but he completely scuffs his shot. He should have done better.
47' Supachai clips Ke Shi and he was lucky not to receive a card there. He has one booking already. He will have to be careful because China can't afford to lose him.
46' Thailand get the second half underway.
If Thailan can hang on here, it would be their first victory over China since 1990.
China could only manage three shots (one on target) to Thailand's six, two of which have been on target.
47' The ref blows the whistle and that's the end of the first half. Unexpectedly, Thailand running in with the advantage at the break. Just when China looked like they were getting into their stride, Thailand turned the game around in their favour and began to stamp their authority on the game. Goalscorer Supachai has been causing plenty of problems for the Chinese defence.
47' Chinese defender Yang Liu strikes from distance but he blasts towards Row Z. Wasteful.
44' Cross comes in and Yu Dabao, 10 yards out, jumps high and makes good connection with his head, but it's wide. Best chance China have had for a while.
41' After some lovely link-up play from Thailand and Chanatip is taken down in the box as tries to get on the end of short pass into the box. But the ref has called for a free kick to China for an earlier incident.
36' Goalscorer Supachai shoots from distance on the left, but it sails wide of the left post. Yet another chance for the striker. China on the backfoot here against the underdogs.
35' Thailand have been on top here. They have another chance with a free kick on the left. The cross is a bit overcooked though and goes wide.
30' GOALLLL THAILAND! Supachai, hovering around the six-yard area, gets on the end of it, as the initial shot from the corner is blocked. And the striker puts it passed the keeper with ease.
30' Thailand threatening here and they are awarded with another corner.
27' Thailand respond quickly with a chance of their own. Supathai tries to curl a low shot past the keeper to his left post, but it's wide. Decent chance for the War Elephants.
27' China's best chance of the game! Wu Lei is one on one with theSiwarak Tedsungnoen, he tries to dink it over him, but the keeper blocks it down.
23' Wu Lei is released down the right and puts a low cross into the box. But he fails to pick out a team mate.
23' Theerathorn has almostcurled a free kick into the goal from by the touchline! Looked like he was intending to cross it but it's almost gone in.
22' China trying to build something here, but Thailand are organised and doing well to defend their lines.
18' Great cross into the box, but Gao Lin mistimes his jump and flies over his head. Better from China.
17' Thailand put in a cross form the corner, but it's headed away by the defence.
14' Thailand enjoying some possession finally in China's third, but they are unable to put together anything meaningfully threatening.
10' First real chance for China. Wu Lei gets on the end of cross into the box. He lets it bounce once and then launches a volley.towards goal, but it's straight at the keeper Siwarak Tedsungnoen.
9' Thitipan Puangchan of Thailanad is booked.
7' Xiaoting Feng plays a lovely long ball into the the path of Lei Wu, but it's just too far ahead of him.
6' Wu Xi is first to the cross from the corner and tries to angle a volley towards goal from a difficult position. But it's wide.
5' China have the first corner of the game.
4' Thailand pressing China incredibly high as Team Dragon try to work it out of their third.
2' China put a long ball into the Thai box, but the defence clear it away.
1' China, in all red, get the game underway.
Almost ready to go here.
"From my experience, you don't have to practise penalties because it depends on the moment, it depends on the player, his character, his mood, if he's strong enough to handle the pressure" - China coach Marcello Lippi revealed he doesn't use training time to practice penalties.
Spiderman supposedly routing for Thailand today...
Thailand starting XI: Siwarak Tedsungnoen, Theerathorn Bunmathan, Chalermpong Kerdkaew, Pansa Hemviboon, Mika Chunuonsee, Songkrasin, Thitipan Puangchan, Tanaboon Kesarat, Tanaboon Kesarat, Teerasil Dangda, Tristan Do
China starting XI: Junling Yan, Xiaoting Feng, Linpeng Zhang, Ke Shi, Yang Liu, Zhi Zheng, Xi Wu, Junmin Hao, Dabao Yu, Lei Wu, Lin Gao
China's star man Lei Wu returns to action after missing the South Korea game through injury. He is currently the Chinese Super League's top scorer with 27 goals in 29 games.
China have won the last 3 games on the trot against Thailand, with an aggregate score of 10-1. So they are expected to comfortably win this game. If Thailand can pull off an unlikely victory over Team Dragon, it would be the first time they have done in 28 years.
These two teams have only met twice in the Asian cup. The last time was in 1992 at the group stages in a game that finished 0-0. 1988 was the first and only other time, China won that one 5-0.
Thailand fired their coach Milovan Rajevac just hours after losing 4-1 to India in their opening fixture, with assistant Sirisak Yodyardthai taking over on an interim basis. Yodyardthai is so far unbeaten after two games, and an unlikely victory over China will surely warrant his consideration for the permanent job.
China's coach Marcelo Lippi will be remembered for leading Italy to World Cup glory in 2006. He would love to add an Asian Cup title to his CV, although China are far from favourites and have never won the tournament. Their best showing came in 2004 when they reached the final, which they lost to Japan 3-1.
Hello and welcome to our coverage of the last-16 Asian Cup tie between Thailand and China. The game kicks off the Hazza bin Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi at the local time of 6pm. Until then you can follow the build up here with us, followed by minute-by-minute updates when the match gets underway in an hour.
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.