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China defeat 10-man Kuwait at Asian Cup

China defender Zhang Linpeng, number 17, celebrates after scoring his team's opening goal against Kuwait on Saturday.
China defender Zhang Linpeng, number 17, celebrates after scoring his team's opening goal against Kuwait on Saturday.
  • Kuwait's Musaed Neda becomes first player to be sent off at 2011 Asian Cup
  • Defender's first-half dismissal helps China win 2-0 in the second match in Group A
  • Zhang Linpeng and Deng Zhuoxiang score in the second half in Qatar
  • Hosts beaten 2-0 by Uzbekistan in Friday's tournament-opening match

(CNN) -- China took advantage of a Kuwait sending-off to make a winning start to the 2011 Asian Cup on Saturday.

The 2-0 victory mirrored the result of Friday's tournament-opening match, leaving two teams on three points in Group A following Uzbekistan's surprise win over hosts Qatar.

Kuwait had to play for almost an hour with only 10 men at Al Gharafa Stadium after defender Musaed Neda was sent off in the 35th minute for kicking out at Yang Xu following a tussle for the ball.

Defender Zhang Linpeng put China ahead in the 58th minute when his shot took a big deflection to leave goalkeeper Nawaf Al Khaldi stranded, with Kuwait having failed to properly clear a corner.

Qatar welcomes half the world

Deng Zhuoxiang sealed victory eight minutes later with a curling freekick after substitute Hao Junmin was fouled just outside the penalty area.

The four teams in Group A are very close. We will have to wait until the last game to see who will qualify
--China coach Gao Hongbo
  • Asia
  • China
  • Kuwait
  • Qatar
  • Soccer

"I'm very happy to win this game," China coach Gao Hongbo told the AFP news agency. "The first match is always very tough, very hard.

"For the first 30 minutes the Kuwait team did very well, but after that our team controlled the match. The four teams in Group A are very close, so any result can help. We will have to wait until the last game to see who will qualify."

Kuwait's Serbian coach Goran Tufegdzic was unhappy that Australian referee Benjamin Williams did not award his team a penalty in the opening 20 minutes when China skipper Du Wei brought down Bader Al Mutawa.

Hosts Qatar shocked in Asian Cup opener

"I don't want to make comments about referees but lots of people said he made many, many mistakes," Tufegdzic told AFP. "I think the relevant commission will have to look at the match and give a punishment for this referee."

China next play Qatar on Wednesday, when Kuwait face Uzbekistan.

The Group B matches kick off on Sunday, with Japan playing Jordan and 2007 runners-up Saudi Arabia taking on Syria.

The 16-team tournament, played every four years, sees defending champions Iraq facing Iran in Group D on Tuesday.

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