Tuesday June 4th, 2002
China vs Costa Rica in Gwangju
China and Costa Rica.... the teacher and the pupil.... Bora
Milutinovic and former understudy Alexandre Guimares.... both with a Manchester City
player in their team.... Sun Jihai for China and Paulo Wanchope for Costa Rica.
In the early stages China hardly came out of their own half and when
they did Costa Rica succeeded in pushing them back or bringing them down.
Considering there were supposed to 40,000 Chinese fans making the
journey, they weren't making a lot of noise..... apart from what seemed like someone
banging on a saucepan.
600 Million people were said to be watching this game on television in
China.... for once the roads were probably quieter than this game.
Seven minutes before the end of the half, Paulo Wanchope created space
in the Chinese area and cut the ball back, more in the hope that someone was running on
rather than seeing any movement.
China on counter-attacks didn't really have the pace to get past the
last defender, or the power to shoot from outside the area and beat Erick Lonnis; between
the posts for Costa Rica.
That was really the story of this first half.... two underdogs without
Half-time: China 0 - Costa Rica 0
At the start of the second-half China tried to push up a little more
and even forced Erick Lonnis to palm away a dangerous cross.
China's number 10, Hao Haidong, had trouble beating Mauricio Wright on
the left, his little legs not fast enough to gain the final yard. Ma Mingyu tried to run
through the middle and release the ball to his left but once again the attack broke down.
Hao Haidong switched to the right flank yet was shadowed and
dispossessed by Mauricio Wright again.
Just before the hour, Costa Rica brought on Hernan Medford for Rolando
Fonseca in attempt to spice up the attacking options and it soon paid off.
Stalemate broken around the hour mark as Rónald Gómez pounced on a loose ball in the
area, after approach work from Paulo Wanchope, to fire home his 18th international goal.
Four minutes later, Mauricio Wright headed in after Gomez received a short corner and
turned it around his marker and towards the goal.
China tried to get back in the game but couldn't take advantage of
confusion in the Costa Rica area twenty minutes from the end.
Ten minutes later, Paulo Wanchope was withdrawn with Wilmer López
taking his place.
And right before thwe whistle, Rónald Gómez should have made as he
ran rings around Jiang Jin, only to have see his final shot cleared off the line.
At the end, Costa Rica proved a little richer than China and the
Chinese fans don't have so far to go home.
Costa Rica 2
Man of the Match:
Rónald Gómez - Produced some good runs on the left, scored a goal and set one up.
Luis Marín (15 mins)
Mauricio Solis (17 mins)
Li Tie (60 mins)
Xu Yunlong (72 mins)
Rónald Gómez (79 mins)
Wálter Centeno (85 mins)
Li Xiaopeng (90 mins)
22 Jiang Jin; 4 Wu Chengying, 5 Fan Zhiyi (11 Yu Genwei - 74 mins), 7 Sun Jihai (16 Qu Bo
- 26 mins), 14 Li Weifeng, 21 Xu Yunlong; 8 Li Tie, 9 Ma Mingyu, 18 Li Xiaopeng; 10 Hao
Haidong, 20 Chen Yang (12 Su Maozhen - 66 mins).
1 Erick Lonnis; 3 Luis Marín, 4 Mauricio Wright, 5 Gilberto Martínez, 15 Harold Wallace
(16 Steven Bryce - 70 mins), 22 Carlos Castro; 7 Rolando Fonseca (17 Hernan Medford - 57
mins), 8 Mauricio Solis, 10 Wálter Centeno; 9 Paulo Wanchope (6 Wilmer López - 80 mins),
11 Rónald Gómez.
Referee: Kyros Vassaras
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