Mao Jianqing (C) of China competes during the match between China and Iceland at 2017 China Cup International Football Championship in Nanning, capital of south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, on Jan. 10, 2017. (Xinhua/Guo Yong)
NANNING, China, Jan. 10 (Xinhua) -- Iceland scored two goals in the second half to beat host China 2-0 in the curtain-raiser of the 2017 Gree China Cup International Football Championship here on Tuesday.
In the 64th minute, Kjartan Finnbogasson kicked in the rebound after Bjorn Sverrisson's shot was blocked by Chinese goalkeeper Chi Wenyi. With two minutes remaining in the regular time, Aron Sigurdarson doubled the lead for the visitors from a counter-attack with a curled effort into the bottom corner.
"The Chinese team played better in the first half. We seemed to be losing control of the game before halftime. Luckily we got the match back in the second half. We tried to slow the game down in the second half. We defended deep to give the Chinese team less space to play," said Heimir Hallfrimsson, head coach of Iceland.
"It worked. We made it easy for us to counter-attack and both goals came from counter-attacks. I always think before the match that which team scored first will win the game and I'm glad that it was us," said Hallfrimsson.
The first half saw both sides waste their chances. A header off Chinese captain Cai Huikang was saved by Iceland goalkeeper Hannes Halldorsson at the line in the 20th minute, and Yin Hongbo missed his one-on-one occasion in the 33rd minute against the goalie.
"Our players are not in their best form and most of them are making their debuts for the national team. They are much less-experienced than the Iceland players," said Marcello Lippi, head coach of the Chinese team.
"Some of them played quite nervous in the match and forgot to save their energy for the entire match. But overall, they have given out all what we asked for."
China, who had its last victory, a 4-2 win over Trinidad and Tobago in a friendly on June 3, 2016, will play the loser between Croatia and Chile for the third place of the inaugural China Cup on Saturday.