Wang Shuang of Chinese women's football team in action. (File photo: VCG)
China's women's team held South Korea to a goalless draw in a lackluster and mistake-ridden opening match in the EAFF E-1 Football Championship on Tuesday.
China's best chance came at the 46th minute when unmarked striker Yang Li, who came on after the break, seized a rare defensive lapse of the hosts to face their goalkeeper Yoon Younggeul, only to see her shot hit the post and bounced off.
Yang and her striking partner Li Ying, who scored China's sole goal at this year's FIFA Women's World Cup, were benched for the first half as Zhang Xin and Pang Fengyue took their places.
Prior to the match, China's team head coach Jia Xiuquan said he saw this tournament as a chance to experiment his new team in preparation for the Tokyo Olympics qualifiers, which will be played next May.
Obviously, his new line-up did not deliver as they failed to produce dangerous attack from field play.
To make things even worse, Wang Shuang, the linchpin of the Chinese side, got her left ankle injured before the break. The former Paris Saint-Germain player was carried off on a team doctor's back with her ankle bandaged.
South Korea did not make much trouble either. They only scared China at the 26th minute when the Chinese goalkeeper Peng Shimeng was forced to stretch herself and fingertip over the bar a free kick by midfielder Jane Chang.
China is scheduled to face Japan while South Korea will meet Chinese Taipei on Saturday.