DOHA, Jan. 16 (Xinhua) -- China drew with a strong Uzbekistan side 2-2 at the third round Group A match to be eliminated from the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2011 here on Sunday.
Uzbekistan qualified as Group A winners with 7 points. Host Qatar, who beat Kuwait 3-0 in the last game, also advance to last eight with 6 points. China ranks the third with 4 points, and has to leave the tournament with the bare-handed Kuwaits.
Midfielder Yu Hai opened the scoring with a deflected header following Yang Hao's corner in the 6th minute. Odil Akhmedov levelled on 28 minutes with a cool one-on-one shot after receiving Server Djeparov's inch-perfect throught ball from the edge of the box.
The Uzbekis took the lead one minute into the second half when Alexander Geynrikh smashed a 30-meter diagnol shot from the right flank to beat keeper Yang Zhi, before Shalke 04 player Hao Junmin equalized for the Chinese with a well-curved free-kick into the upper corner of the net on 56 minutes.
China, who have to win by at least two goals to secure a last eight place, showed strong desire in attacking throughout the game and created several clear chances, but the finishing touches were not accurate enough.
Striker Gao Lin missed three golden opportunities, two of them were denied by the focused keeper Ignatiy Nesterov and one header went wide of the post. Hao Junmin, Li Xuepeng both had good chances, but squandered them.
The Uzbekis also squandered some good chances with Djeparov's talented assists, but a draw was enough to send them through to the next stage.
Chinese coach Gao Hongbo was sent off in the 88th minute for protesting the referee.