PRC whips Indonesia 5-1 in qualifier

KUNMING, Mainland China, AP

Defender Li Weifeng sparked a second half rally that helped mainland China down rival Indonesia 5-1 on Sunday in a World Cup qualifying Group 9 match. Mainland China and Indonesia each have 12 points in the group standings, with China leading on goal differential. Maldives and Cambodia are also in the group, but both teams have been eliminated. In other Asian qualifying matches Sunday, Lebanon topped Pakistan 6-0 and Thailand beat Sri Lanka 4-2. The top team in each of the 10 Asian groups advances to the final qualifying round. Two or three teams from Asia will qualify for the 2002 World Cup finals in South Korea and Japan. South Korea and Japan qualify as hosts. Indonesia, which has played five matches, will get another chance at China, which has played four matches, on May 27 in Jakarta. China also hosts Cambodia next Sunday. Indonesia took a first-half lead when Kurniawan Yulianto broke free to score from outside the penalty box in the 40th minute. Li evened the score five minutes into the second half and striker Yang Chen skirted Indonesian defenders 12 minutes later to put the home team ahead. Xie Hui sealed the game in the 71st minute and added a second goal in the 90th. Qi Hong scored the fourth goal for China in the 82nd minute. In Beirut, Lebanon, Haitham Zein scored three goals as Lebanon trounced Pakistan 6-0 in Group 5. Zein opened the scoring five minutes into the match, played at the Municipal Stadium in the Lebanese capital, and made it 2-0 in the 31st minute. Moussa Hjeij scored Lebanon’s third goal with a 49th-minute strike. Gilberto Dos Santos scored Lebanon’s fourth goal from the penalty spot in the 51st minute and Zein scored again in the 87th minute. Rida Antar netted the match’s final goal with a 91st-minute strike seconds before the game’s end. Lebanon and Thailand lead the group after one match with three points apiece, with Lebanon leading on goal differential. Sri Lanka and Pakistan have yet to secure a point. In the earlier match, Thailand scored three goals in the second half to beat Sri Lanka 4-2. Sri Lanka’s Imthyas Raheem opened the scoring in the 20th minute of the match, giving the team a 1-0 lead at the half. Kiatisuk Senamuang of Thailand equalized in first-half injury time. Raheem also scored his team’s second goal with a 50th-minute strike, but Thai strikers Senamuang (51st), Therdsak Chaiman (53rd) and Thawatchai Damrong-Ongtrakul (84th) scored three more goals. Thailand will next play Pakistan on Tuesday and Lebanon on Thursday, while Sri Lanka will play Lebanon on Tuesday and Pakistan on Thursday. All matches will be played in Beirut.