China fought off tenacious challenge from Ghana as they won their first match 1-0 at the fourth Women's World Cup in Carson, California, on Sunday.
China, who crushed Ghana 7-0 in the last World Cup, found their African rivals a different side, who played with spirit, determination and character.
But China proved a better side in front of the goal, getting the only goal through captain Sun Wen with a header.
Whenever China pushes forward, the tenacious Africans quickly closed down on their water tight defense.
But China's Steel Rose constantly caused the Ghanaians trouble and created chances, but they could not turn chances into goals for a lack of precesion in front of the goal.
In the 18th minute, captain Sun Wen's brilliant pass found an on-rushing Liu Ying but the Ghana 'keeper Memunatu Sulemana got a hand to the ball. And then Pu Wei drove the ball from 20 meters but her effort was wide off the target
The Africans gradually settled and put pressure on the Chinese, especiall their midfield, who failed to send enought accurate passes forward and were dispossessed too easily.
But China finally took advantage on the 29th minute thanks to afine combination effort by veterans Bai Jie and Sun.
Bai, who was moved back from up front to the left back position, arched a wicked dipping cross, which was misjudged by Sulemana. Sun rose well to head the ball into an empty net.
Despite the goal, China can still struggling to regain their feet in midfield. Fortunately, their striking force, commanded by Sun and Bai, were too strong. Sun still showed she is one of the best performers in the world and Bai, pacy and agile, was also a thorn in Ghana's side.
A defensive blunder by Ghana defender Elizabeth Baidu left Bai to go face to face with Sulemana, who dove and tipped the ball into safety.
China now stayed second in Group D behind Russia on goal difference. The European team surprised Australia 2-1 in the day's first match at the Home Depot center.
China: Zhao Yan, Fan Yunjie, Li Jie, Zhao Lihong (Ren Liping 8th), BaiJie, Sun Wen (c), Liu Ying, Pu Wei, Pan Lina (Qu Feifei 36th), HanDuan (Liu Yali 59th), Wang Liping.