The Chinese Super League topscorer Wu Lei grabbed a superb brace to earn China a comfortable 3-0 victory over the Philippines in the AFC Asian Cup Group C here on Friday.
The win has guaranteed a round of 16 berth for China who beat Kyrgyzstan 2-1 in their first group match. China remain topping Group C with 6 points and will take on South Korea in the final group match.
"This is a positive result for us, we created many chances to score and I hope we can play like this in every match. I am happy we have Wu Lei in our team, he should have a hat-trick tonight," China coach Marcello Lippi said.
During the match against the Philippines, Wu Lei, who scored 27 times to win the Golden Boot of the Chinese Super League last season, lifted China to 1-0 lead with a brilliant curling before the break. The 27-year-old had a brace with a volley in the 65th minute on Hao Junmin's free kick.
"We knew how important this match was for the qualification. I suffered a shoulder injury after last match, but I really want to give everything I have to my team," said Wu.
China dominated possession but the Philippines were a persistent threat until Wu unleashed the ball to the top left corner in the 40th minute. The Philippines came close to equalising before the half break before Kevin Ingreso's shot from long range was saved by keeper Yan Junling.
Wu, the Shanghai SIPG star, could have a hat-trick but his right-footed shot from the centre of the box was denied by Philippines' goalkeeper Falkesgaard.
Substitute Yu Dabao, who scored the winning goal for China in the Kyrgyzstan game, added a third just moments after leaving the bench with a header from close range in the 80th minute.
"I am really proud of our team even if we lost 0-3. We proved that we can play football in last two matches," said Philippines coach Sven-Goran Eriksson, "I have told my players the most dangerous players in the Chinese team, but we failed to defend Wu Lei and he punished us with two great goals."
(ASIA PACIFIC DAILY)