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Chi can improve to keep 2018 WC dream alive: Lippi

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  24 March 2017 12:00 AM GMT

Changsha, March 23: Chi's Italian head coach Marcello Lippi believes his team can improve to keep alive their hopes of qualifying for 2018 football World Cup after Team Dragon clinched a 1-0 home win over South Korea here on Thursday.
In the capacity He Long stadium, Yu Dabao headed in the Wang Yongpo corner in the 34th minute to give Chi their first win in six matches at the third phase of the World Cup Asian Zone qualifiers, reports Xinhua news agency.
"Before the match, we knew the importance to win this match. And we worked hard to get the three points we must get. But it is not enough to win a ticket to World Cup. We need to continue this momentum and win the following matches, " said Lippi, who will lead Chi to visit Iran on March 28.
The victory temporarily moved Chi out of the bottom of the six-team Group A where Iran stands atop with 11 points from five matches, ahead of South Korea on 10. Uzbekistan sits in third with nine and Syria is fourth with eight. Qatar lies bottom of group after five matches.
"We still have space to improve. We didn't play the same level as we did in the last match against Qatar," said Lippi.
"In the first half, we played too defensively in front of the opponent's pressure. I don't want to see the same 45 minutes in the following matches any more," he said.
"In second half, my team was well organised in defence and created several chances to score. We sill have much work to do."
Chi took the lead after 34 minutes when Wang's inward curving corner found Yu at the near post, where the Beijing Guo'an striker glanced a precise header into the bottom-right corner.
"Yu's goal from Wang's corner was what we trained lots of times in the past week," said Lippi.
"Due to the injury and fatigue of several key players, we couldn't field our best lineup onto the pitch. It was not our best form. We can do better in the next match," he added.
For South Korea, this was a bitter loss to swallow considering.
"I'm responsible for it. I feel regretted for our fans and jourlists following us that we failed to bring at least one point home," said German head coach Uli Stielike.
"We did expect from the first minute that Chi will play aggressively. We have little ball possession in the first 20 minutes. From then on we took control but just at that time Chi scored, which changed the momentum of the match."
"In the second half, obviously we had to push line front to look for the goal. This gave the counter-attack chance for Chi. But obviously we can go to Russia World Cup. We should not make any mistakes in the four games left," he added. IANS

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