Saturday, January 19, 2019 | ePaper
Lippi says China facing striker crisis
Marcello Lippi said an influx of foreign forwards had decimated China's striking stocks and could damage their Asian Cup campaign after an unconvincing start in the United Arab Emirates.
China's threadbare options up front were underlined when makeshift forward Yu Dabao grabbed the winner in Monday's 2-1 win over debutants Kyrgyzstan, which also left key attacker Wu Lei nursing a suspected collarbone injury.
Yu played as a defender last season for Beijing Guoan and Lippi said the overseas forwards flooding the cashed-up Chinese Super League have squeezed out Chinese players.
"This shows our situation in China. In China, nearly all the foreign players are forwards," said Lippi, who led his native Italy to the 2006 World Cup title.
"It means for our attack, I have to pick a player who spent the season in central defence."
China's attacking play was far from convincing against Kyrgyzstan, who led at half-time and should have grabbed at least a draw if not for a bungling own goal by their goalkeeper.