Australia Pegged Back By China As World Cup Qualifying Battle Intensifies

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Australia was held to a draw by China in their qualifier in Sharjah, adding to their woes on the route to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

Mitch Duke’s first-half headed finish had put the Socceroos on course for three crucial points, but a VAR-awarded penalty with 20 minutes to go gave China a share of the spoils. After Japan’s 1-0 win over Oman, Australia has now lost its last three qualifiers and has dropped out of the automatic qualifying spots in Group B.

Graham Arnold made two changes from the lineup that drew 0-0 with group leaders Saudi Arabia in Sydney last Thursday, with Milos Degenek replacing the injured Harry Souttar and in-form Duke replacing Awer Mabil at the start.

Duke nodded home his third goal in Asian qualification in the 38th minute after getting on the end of a Martin Boyle pass. Just as Mathew Leckie was about to score Adjin Hrustic’s brilliant cross, China goalkeeper Yan Junling reacted fast to stop the Melbourne City forward at the far post.

source : Guardian sport

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