The Chinese players display banner thanking Sharjah.
Gulf Today, Staff Reporter
The Chinese football players and fans thanked Sharjah for hosting the Group A matches of the Asian Qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup China 2023.
Seven matches in Group A, which comprises Syria, China, Philippines, Maldives and Guam, were held at the Sharjah Stadium.
Second half goals from Wu Lei and Zhang Yuning earned China a 3-1 victory over Group A winners Syria as Li Tie’s side confirmed their progress to the final round of the World Cup 2022 qualifiers as one of the best runners-up on Tuesday.
After their match, the Chinese players carried the banners displaying a message of thanks and for Sharjah written on it.
The fans were also holding banners in Chinese language bearing the message of thanks for the emirate.
Jerry Huang, Deputy Director of the National Teams Department of the Chinese Football Association, lauded the great role played by the Sharjah Sports Council, represented by Issa Hilal, Chairman of the Council, and Abdullah Al Ajla, President of the Sharjah Football Company, for their support, perfect facilities and ideal way of hosting the matches.
“When we proposed to the Asian Football Confederation that the UAE would be the host of the Group A matches, we had great confidence in the success of what we knew from it in hosting such major sporting events,” Jerry said.
“The way Sharjah has hosted the matches within such a short lead time is testament to their spirit of understanding and organisational excellence. AFC Champions League (West) matches held in Sharjah in April also showcased the capabilities of Sharjah UAE in staging world-class competitions.
The qualifiers, originally set for the eastern city of Suzhou, had to be relocated after the Chinese Football Association reported that two of their Group A rivals, Maldives and Syria, had positive Covid-19 results in their respective camps.
"The response and organization of matches in Sharjah in such a short period is remarkable,” he added.
Jerry praised the performance of his country. “Coach Li Tai led the China team to the final round of the Asian qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.
“Game against Syria was not an easy game, but I’m satisfied with the players’ fighting spirit and mental willpower,” he said.
Goals from Zhang Xizhe, Wu Lei and Zhang Yuning earned Li’s side a 3-1 win over Nabil Maaloul’s Group A winners to claim one of the best runners-up berths available in the AFC Asian Qualifiers – Road to Qatar for next year’s finals.
Li Tie has overseen a significant uptick in China’s fortunes in the qualifying campaign since taking over as the long-term successor to Lippi, who stood down from the role in November 2019 after a 2-1 loss to the Syrians in their previous meeting.
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