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India vs China International Friendly: As It Happened | October 14, 2018, 9:50 AM IST
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Follow all the live action from the match between India and China in Suzhou on News18 Sports' live blog, as India aim to upset their neighbours in the first clash between the two teams on Chinese soil.

Billion-plus populations but laggards in a truly global sport -- India and China will go head to head in a football friendly for the first time in 21 years on Saturday with the home team a firm favourite despite poor recent form.
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Oct 13, 2018 7:00 pm (IST)

They rode their luck on many occasions, but in the end it's the result that matters. India will be happy with their performance here.

Oct 13, 2018 6:59 pm (IST)

On the other end, China get a chance now. It's getting frantic here, but India hold on! The referee blows his whistle, and the match has ended 0-0. The Indian team has given a very good account of themselves here, and secured a draw against a much fancied opponent.

Oct 13, 2018 6:57 pm (IST)

Corner for India after a one on one chance for Farrukh Choudhary! That was India's chance to win it! And the corner is cleared away by the Chinese defence. They have defended extremely well here, and could have gone on and won it.

Oct 13, 2018 6:56 pm (IST)

India are minutes away from securing a big draw over here. Just about three minutes left.

Oct 13, 2018 6:54 pm (IST)

Anirudh Thapa is coming off for Rowlin Borges here.

Oct 13, 2018 6:53 pm (IST)

One of the many close calls that India had today.

Oct 13, 2018 6:50 pm (IST)

Gurpreet employs all of his six foot five frame yet again to tip the ball over the frame. He has been massive in the match so far, and India deal with the subsequent corner.

Oct 13, 2018 6:48 pm (IST)

Udanta Singh's chance from earlier in the match.

Oct 13, 2018 6:47 pm (IST)

About seven and a half minutes of regulation time are left here, and India are still in this. Midfielder Vinit Rai is being brought on for Pronay Haldar. Fresh legs needed in the midfield here for India. China have another corner, and his first involvement will be to mark his man efficiently in the box.

Oct 13, 2018 6:45 pm (IST)

Farrukh Choudhary has come on the pitch here for Jeje Lalpekhlua.

Oct 13, 2018 6:42 pm (IST)

What drama here! A melee in front of the goal after China's third consecutive corner ends up with Sunil Chhetri running the length of the pitch and earning India a corner at the other end. Everybody was flinging themselves at the ball and it somehow does not manage to go in. How have India escaped here? It just seems like one of those days for China.

Oct 13, 2018 6:39 pm (IST)

What a save by Gurpreet Singh Sandhu! A free header sailing into the top corner is tipped over the bar. He couldn't be more at full-stretch there.

Oct 13, 2018 6:36 pm (IST)

Wu Lei makes a surging run trying to get on to a through ball between the two Indian centre-backs. Anad Edathodika does well to clear it in time.

Oct 13, 2018 6:34 pm (IST)

China come close to scoring yet again! India have survived for the second time courtesy the crossbar. Wu Lei seemed to have connected extremely well with a cushioned header that was played back to him across the box, but he can only hit the crossbar.

Oct 13, 2018 6:30 pm (IST)

Nikhil Poojary is also on the pitch now, for Udanta Singh who was tireless throughout the first half and for the duration of the second.

Oct 13, 2018 6:27 pm (IST)

Anas Edathodika, who didn't start the game today is now coming on to the pitch, being replaced by Narayan Das. Subhasish Bose is expected to now go to left back.

Oct 13, 2018 6:24 pm (IST)

Gao Lin's first touch fails him massively and the ball rolls out for a goal-kick, as he punches the air in frustration after he tried to control a long ball over the Indian defence.

Oct 13, 2018 6:23 pm (IST)

Gurpreet Singh Sandhu is decisive with a Chinese cross and he comes out to claim the ball. Immediately, he looks for the early release to Udanta and Chhetri but it finds the head of a Chinese centre-back.

Oct 13, 2018 6:21 pm (IST)
Oct 13, 2018 6:21 pm (IST)

CHANCE FOR INDIA! Udanta Singh finds himself with time and space on the right and he unleashes a shot which goes sailing over the bar. That's the third great chance that India have had in the match. 

Oct 13, 2018 6:17 pm (IST)

The striker could have had the 21st international goal of his career, and China get another good chance. Gurpreet does enough to put the striker off, and the ball goes for a corner which is cleared by the Indian defence. The tough spell for the Indian defence continues, and Gao Lin goes in for a diving header which skims over the bar.

Oct 13, 2018 6:13 pm (IST)

CHINA ALMOST IN FRONT! Gurpreet's goalpost shudders with the strike of the ball as another cross found the chinese forward with acres of space inside the box. Gao Lin unleashes a shot but it only hits the post. Lucky escape for India.

Oct 13, 2018 6:12 pm (IST)

There seem to have been some strong words said at half-time from Marcelo Lippi. It is in India's best interests to let the scoreline remain 0-0 for as long as possible, and China know that. The goal needs to come soon for the hosts, but it won't be easy with a resolute Indian defence so far as Subhasish Bose clears a low cross from the right flank.

Oct 13, 2018 6:11 pm (IST)

China have started the second half brightly. Two early chances present themselves, the first one thanks to left back Narayan Das misreading the aerial ball from the right flank and the second a long range effort.

Oct 13, 2018 6:08 pm (IST)

The second half has started here at the Shinzhou Sports Olympic Centre.

Oct 13, 2018 6:06 pm (IST)
Oct 13, 2018 5:54 pm (IST)
Oct 13, 2018 5:53 pm (IST)

And that's half-time here. Marcelo Lippi will not be happy with his side's performance here. 0-0 as both teams go into the break. India will no doubt be the happier of the two sides. The more they stay in the game, the more they have a chance to take something away from the match.

Oct 13, 2018 5:51 pm (IST)

It's going to be an important couple of minutes for India as half-time is just two minutes away now. They need to make sure they don't concede any goals before the break, so they can continue with the same strategy in the second half.

Oct 13, 2018 5:48 pm (IST)

Lucky for Sandesh Jhingan earlier in the 11th minute, eh?

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India vs China International Friendly: As It Happened
Image: @IndianFootball/Twitter

The Indian team is playing an international match for the first time in China though their senior sides have faced each other 17 times in the past. China have played in India seven times, all of them in the invitational tournament Nehru Cup.

India will be led by star defender Sandesh Jhingan, coach Stephen Constantine revealed in the pre-match press conference in Suzhou.

"I think he is going to be one of the leaders for India going forward. Keeping the magnitude of the game in mind, I believe he deserves to lead the team," Constantine said.

India has not won a single match out of the 17 while China has come out trumps 12 on occasions. Five matches have ended in draws. The senior teams of India and China last played in the 1997 Nehru Cup in Kochi which the 'Red Dragons' won 2-1.

Saturday's match at Suzhou, around 100 km from Shanghai, has attracted a lot of interest among the football fans and the media in the backdrop of the competition between the two countries in several spheres as well as the fact that they are playing a football match for the first time after 1997.

Neighbours India and China account for one-third of the world's population and they are the fastest growing and competing global economies but they have remained "sleeping giants" with nothing much to show at the world stage.

This is more true for India as the country has not featured in a single FIFA World Cup while China has done so once -- in 2002 when they exited from the group stages after losing all their three matches.

Despite being a lesser force on the global stage, China, nonetheless, is one of the established football countries in Asia. The 'Red Dragons' have been consistently among the top-10 in Asia and in the top-100 in the world.

The country is now 76th in FIFA rankings and seventh in Asia. China has played 11 times in the Asian Cup, the continent's top-flight competition and has finished runners-up twice and third as many times.

India, on the other hand, has played only thrice in the Asian Cup (1964 runners-up; 1984 and 2011) and recently broke into the top 100 in the FIFA rankings after a long time. The country is now 97th in FIFA rankings and 15th in Asia.

It is a bold move on India's part to play against China as they have not played in the recent past against a top side in the continent except in the Asian Cup or the World Cup qualifiers and it is also fraught with consequences.

The match, being played by both sides in the FIFA international friendly window as part of preparations for the AFC Asian Cup in January next month, will test India's 'real' progress and its stake as a country hoping to be among the Asian elite.

"We are fully aware that China are a big side in the region. They will be a very difficult side. They want to play possession football, attacking football," Constantine said.

"We will go all out for a win. But if we lose, we will try to find out the positive aspects."

Lead striker and regular skipper Sunil Chhetri, who will take the field as the country's lead striker, wondered just why it took so long for the two countries to play each other.

"We should not afford them much space. At the same time, whenever we find a little room of opportunity, we have to construct the moves and counter them," said Chhetri.

China are the favourites to win tomorrow's match but the home side would know that it cannot be complacent as it has been struggling of late after a 0-1 loss to an inexperienced Qatar last month and then a 0-0 stalemate with Bahrain.

The home team's 2006 World Cup winning Italian coach Marcello Lippi cannot afford to anything other than a win on Saturday with less than three months left for the Asian Cup, which will be his last tournament with the Chinese national side.
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