SHARJAH, UAE, Oct. 8 (Xinhua) — China head coach Li Tie is looking forward to his side being able to play their FIFA World Cup qualifiers at home from November.
China beat Vietnam 3-2 thanks to an injury-time winner from Wu Lei on Thursday evening in Sharjah, the United Arab Emirates, in their second home match of the third and final round of Asian qualification.
The win, which snapped China’s losing streak and kept their faint hopes of qualification alive, was achieved at an empty stadium with only several Chinese team staff members cheering in the stands.
“In a sense, this is not our home game in a real sense,” Li said.
“My players have played two home games of their first three group games in West Asia. We are yearning to go back to China as soon as possible and play our home games at our stadiums,” he added.
Espanyol striker Wu, who scored a brace in the Vietnam game, said, “We were under huge pressure to play this home game behind closed doors. I hope we can play our home games in China in November.”
China is scheduled to return home next Wednesday, one day after they play Saudi Arabia.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, China moved their first two home games respectively to Doha, Qatar, where they lost to Japan 1-0 on September 7, and Sharjah.
They also lost their first group game against Australia 3-0 on September 2 in Doha, which was considered a home game for Australia.
China will play their next two fixtures at home, facing Oman on November 11 and then Australia five days later.
China currently sit six points behind Group B leaders Australia and Saudi Arabia, who both have the maximum nine points from their first three games.
The top two from both six-team groups qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar automatically. The two third-placed teams will then face each other in a two-legged playoff, with the winner of that tie entering an intercontinental playoff.