Wed, August 06, 2008
Sports > Soccer

China beats Sweden 2-1 in Olympic women's soccer

2008-08-06 14:16:24 GMT2008-08-06 22:16:24 (Beijing Time) Xinhua English

Zhou Gaoping (L) of China vies with Solveig Gulbrandsen of Sweden during the Beijing Olympic Games women's football Group E first round match in Tianjin, Olympic co-host city in north China, Aug. 6, 2008. (Xinhua/Yang Zongyou)

Pu Wei (L) of China fights for the ball with Sara Thunebro of Sweden during the Beijing Olympic Games women's football Group E first round match in Tianjin, Olympic co-host city in north China, Aug. 6, 2008. China beated Sweden 2-1. (Xinhua/Yang Zongyou)

Chinese women's football players pose for photos before the Beijing Olympic Games women's football Group E first round match against Sweden in Tianjin, Olympic co-host city in north China, Aug. 6, 2008. (Xinhua/Yang Zongyou)

TIANJIN, North China, Aug. 6 (Xinhua) -- China edged European powerhouse Sweden 2-1 in front of some 38,000 home fans in their opening match of the Olympic women's soccer tournament here on Wednesday.

The Chinese Steel Roses opened the scoring in the 6th minute when striker Xu Yuan steered the ball into the empty net after midfielder Zhang Na's powerful long shot bounced off the left post.

Sweden equalized in the 38th minute when striker Lotta Schelin beat Chinese goalkeeper Zhang Yanru in a counterattack and dominated the second half with their physical advantage.

However, striker Han Duan scored in the 71st minute to seal the victory for China. The 25-year-old sent a powerful shot at the edge of the box off a pass from striking parter Xu.

China started with its traditional 4-4-2 formation, attacking the opponents mainly from the wings. Coach Shang Rihua put Han and Xu on front line, with Bi Yan supporting attacks in midfield.

The Steel Roses needed to control the ball better, making low and short passes as many as possible, while Sweden counted on its strong fitness and fast pace by launching long-pass attacks.

The Chinese defenders paid much attention to Sweden's ace striker Lotta Schelin from the beginning and tried hard to give her little space to play.

After Han scored China's second goal, the Scandinavians had a few chances for equalizing, but their efforts were denied by goalkeeper Zhang with excellent saves.

The Chinese lost two key players to injuries just before the match. Star forward Ma Xiaoxu injured her left knee in a warm-up against the United States, and midfielder Qu Feifei broke her leg in a tune-up with New Zealand.

China will take on Canada in its second match of Group E on Aug. 9 while Sweden will face underdog Argentina.

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