Wed, 07 Jun 2023

WELLINGTON, March 26 (Xinhua) -- The Chinese national team lost 2-1 to New Zealand in their second friendly encounter this week held at the Sky Stadium here on Sunday.

China was held to a goalless tie by 10-man New Zealand in their previous game on Thursday, which was Serbian head coach Aleksandar Jankovic's debut in China's dugout.

The first half saw the All Whites dominate the field. Their efforts were rewarded with a penalty in the 32nd minute after a rough tackle by Wu Shaocong in the box, but Alex Greive's shot was saved by Chinese goalkeeper Yan Junling. In the 43rd minute, Zhu Chenjie scored an own goal when defending a free kick from the All Whites.

At the beginning of the second half, China made several substitutions to strengthen its midfield, but couldn't stop New Zealand from doubling the lead in the 81st minute, as Matthew Garbett slotted home Joe Bell's chipped pass.

Substitute Ba Dun pulled one back for China with a header in the last minute, but he and his teammates were unable to turn around the game in injury time.

China's head coach Jankovic said after the match that China's performance in the first half could have been better and the intensity shown during the game needed to be increased. He admitted that because the physical condition of the Chinese players was not at its best, the scope for adjustment in the second half became limited.

"Ninety minutes, New Zealand deserved to win. We tried pushing, but the energy level was not good enough. For me, it is very important to see how the players can manage the high intensity of two games in three days," said Jankovic.

Jankovic believed that playing with the All Whites in high-intensity away games in New Zealand brought an ideal opportunity for the team.

"These games against New Zealand were extremely important, because one of the main targets was to respond to aggressivity and intensity. If you play against some physically weaker team, we can never see if we have problems or not," said Jankovic.

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