It was yet another day to forget for the Chinese players and the fans as the national team crashed to a heavy defeat against the Czech Republic in the third-place playoff in the China Cup. They were heavily outplayed despite a bright start that saw them take the lead through Xiaodong Fan as early as the fifth minute.
It was a well-taken goal that saw the ball break through to Fan after calamitous defending on the part of the Czechs. But Fan had still all to do with the onrushing keeper who got a touch on to it but could not prevent it from disturbing his net.
But after the goal, it was all Czech as the European team laid siege to the Chinese goalposts. But for all of the Czech’s dominance, they failed to equalize before the half time whistle. Yan Junling made a couple of saves to preserve their lead. But the second half was a different story altogether as the Czech team came back roaring.
They were far more clinical and made most of their opportunities to race away with the match with a blitz that saw them score thrice in five minutes. The Chinese were left heartbroken. The Chinese team left their fans frustrated yet again as all four goals could have been stopped from going into the back of the net. With the centre-backs switching off simultaneously for the equalizer that saw Thomas Kalas score with a cheeky flick of his heel, though I doubt he intended that. The second goal for the Europeans saw Junling – who was solid for most of the game – spill a relatively easy shot from Jan Kopic straight into the feet of Patrik Schick who probably won’t score an easier goal for the rest of his career. The goal to give the Czechs the lead came about a minute after their equalizer. The goal broke the Chinese who had defended really well to keep the Europeans at bay, despite them enjoying a lion’s share of the ball.
The third goal for the Czech’s came just after the hour mark with Michael Krmencik pouncing on another defensive error from the hosts. It was game over at that point as no one expected the Chinese to have a legitimate attempt on goal let alone a goal.
It could have been even better for the Czech’s but Junling made a smart save to keep out Vladimir Darida’s penalty into the right bottom corner. But the fourth goal eventually came from the resulting corner as Pavel Kaderabek’s header beat the keeper.
It was all in all a very bitter and disappointing tournament for the hosts as they conceded to the tune of 10 goals and scored just once in two games. In the final of the 2018 China Cup, Uruguay defeated Wales courtesy a solitary goal in the second half from Edison Cavani. It was a step back for the Chinese as they failed to repeat their third-place finish from the previous edition of the China Cup.