Noor Sabri Abbas (L), goalkeeper of Iraq goes for the ball during the 2015 AFC Asian Cup qualifier football match between China and Iraq in Changsha, capital of central China's Hunan Province, March 22, 2013. China won 1-0. (Xinhua/Guo Yong)
CHANGSHA, Hunan Province, March 22 (Xinhua) -- Substitute Yu Dabao scored in stoppage time to hand China a 1-0 victory over 10-man Iraq in Group C of the 2015 AFC Asian Cup qualifying here on Friday night.
In rain-soaked conditions at the Changsha Helong Sports Center, Yu, who came off the bench in the 70th minute, lashed the ball into the net following a goalmouth scramble in the 93rd minute.
"It is a bit lucky for us to win the match, the rain was too heavy for us to make any ground teamwork, I even couldn't see clearly when I hit the ball, but finally we got the victory, which is precious for us," Yu said.
Iraq were down to 10 men after defender Ali Adnan Kadhim was sent off for a second bookable offence just before halftime.
The home side struggled for 90 minutes for a goal, but their efforts were all in vain in the midst of downpour until Yu Dabao's late winner.
The win boosts China's hopes of reaching the Asian Cup finals in Australia in 2015.
"We are still alive in this group of death, it is an award to all of our players, who never gave up until the final whistle," China coach Jose Camacho said after the match.
Camacho came into Friday's match under tremendous pressure following a miserable run of results, and there were rumors that the former Real Madrid and Spain boss would be replaced by Chinese Super League champions Guangzhou Evergrande coach Marcello Lippi.
"I will fight to the final minutes, but the decision will be made by the Chinese FA," said the 57-year old Spaniard.