Surprise, surprise: Wu Xi makes amends and China win Asian Cup group by stunning Uzbekistan

Wu Xi deflected Uzbekistan's opener into net but scored the equaliser and substitute Sun Ke fired a sensational winner for China in a 2-1 victory at the Asian Cup on Wednesday.

China's Wu Xi celebrates scoring the equaliser against Uzbekistan in his side's 2-1 Asian Cup victory on Wednesday in Brisbane, Australia. Edgar Su / Reuters / January 14, 2015
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China scored twice in 13 minutes to come from behind and upset Uzbekistan 2-1 at the Asian Cup on Wednesday to book themselves a spot in the quarter-finals.

China started the tournament as an outsider for the title but after winning their first two Group B matches in dramatic fashion, they are now assured of finishing top of their pool with a game to spare.

Trailing 1-0 at half-time against the group favourites, China drew level after 55 minutes when Wu Xi scored then snatched the lead with a spectacular solo strike from substitute Sun Ke.

Uzbekistan, who took an early lead through an opportunist goal from Odil Ahmedov, could not find a late equaliser and now face Saudi Arabia in their final group game in Melbourne on Sunday to decide the pool runners-up.

As Group B winners, China will play the runners-up in Group A, either Australia or South Korea. The Group B runners-up will play the Group A winners.

The Saudis, beaten 1-0 by China on the weekend, stayed in the hunt earlier in the day with a 4-1 win over North Korea, who were eliminated.

Ahmedov gave Uzbekistan the lead after 22 minutes with a goal against the run of play. The central midfielder took a speculative long-range shot from outside the box that took a wicked deflection off the legs of the Chinese defensive midfielder Wu.

The Chinese goalkeeper Wang Dalei, who saved a penalty in the win over the Saudis, was helpless to stop the ball from flying into the top corner of the net.

Wu made amends by scoring the equaliser in the second half after Jiang Zhipeng’s cross from the left floated over the head of Uzbekistan goalkeeper Ignatiy Nesterov, who over-committed, leaving the goal open.

Zhang Chengdong and Gao Lin played the ball back in for the unmarked Wu to blast it into the back of the net.

Less than a quarter of an hour later, China scored again, when Sun, who had come off the bench a few minutes earlier, got the ball inside the Uzbekistan half and dribbled downfield.

He got as far as the edge of the box before unleashing a ferocious shot that curled past the outstretched arms of Nesterov and decided the match.

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