Wed, 07 Jun 2023

PATTAYA, Thailand, March 21 (Xinhua) -- China advanced to the quarterfinals at the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Beach Soccer Asian Cup 2023 after a close 5-4 victory against Indonesia here on Tuesday.

Having lost their previous two group matches, Indonesia caught China off guard with a quick start and was leading 2-0 at the end of the first period.

"It was a little surprising how they fought in the first period," Chinese head coach Marcelo Mendes said after the match, recalling how he tried to encourage his team during the interval.

"I told them if we want to go to the quarterfinals and if we have the dream to go to the World Cup, we cannot play like that," he said.

China rebounded when Bai Fan scored a double to level the match before teammate Cai Weiming powered his way through the Indonesian defense to put China in the lead. China went on to score two more goals to lead 5-2 at the end of the second period.

But the match almost took another turn when Indonesia scored two goals before the final whistle. But China hung on to win 5-4.

"I think in the first match we did the same mistakes in the first period," said Mandes, adding that his team will need to improve their performance at the beginning of the match in the quarterfinals.

In the other group match, defending champions Japan beat Lebanon 9-3. China qualified for the quarterfinals as the group runners-up and will face Oman in the quarterfinals.

With a total of 16 teams, the AFC Beach Soccer Asian Cup 2023 also serves as the qualifiers for the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup 2023, which is scheduled to be played in November.

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