China opens Asian Cup with 2-1 victory over Kyrgyzstan
Lippi, who won the World Cup with Italy in 2006, is trying to win another title in what is likely to be his last major tournament. But it won’t be easy in the United Arab Emirates.
In Group D, another favorite, Iran, routed Yemen 5-0.
Akhlidin Israilov gave Kyrgyzstan the lead with a low left-foot shot from outside the box just before halftime.
But five minutes into the second half, Kyrgyzstan goalkeeper Pavel Matiash jumped to handle what seemed to be an easy catch following a corner kick. He was under no pressure with two of his teammates around him, but the ball went into the net off his gloves.
Yu Dabao then angled in a left-footer in the 78th minute to ensure the fourth straight victory for China in its Asian Cup opening game and improve its record against Kyrgyzstan to 3-0.
A runner-up in 1984 and 2004, China faces the Philippines and South Korea in its remaining group games.
In Dubai, the Philippines had only 18 percent possession against the 2015 Asian Cup runner-up but managed to hold firm until the 67th minute.
With forward Son Heung-min absent, Hwang Ui-jo scored the lone goal for South Korea.
The in-form Son is still with his Tottenham club for one more English Premier League match against Manchester United on Sunday before joining South Korea. He could be away for up to five of Tottenham’s matches in all competitions if South Korea reaches the final on Feb. 1 in Abu Dhabi.
South Korea reached the final at the previous Asian Cup.
In Abu Dhabi, two first-half goals from Mehdi Taremi helped Iran ease past Yemen.