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China, Italy power past rivals in women's soccer invitational tourney
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08:10, July 05, 2007

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China beat Mexico1-0 to extend their winning streak to two on Wednesday at the 2007International Women's Soccer Invitational Tournament, while Italy shook off the down form to beat Thailand 5-0 at the newly completed Wulihe Stadium.

After two matches for each team, the four-nation event, co-hosted by Qinhuangdao and Shenyang, both the cities with the soccer venues for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, came close to the end as China topped the table on six points and Italy followedon four.

Each team has one match left back to Qinhuangdao on Saturday before the best two setting up the final against each other on Tuesday in Shenyang, while the other two settling for a third place.

Wednesday's victory marked a revenge from the hosts after Mexico drew China 1-1 in the last and crucial group match to stop the 1999 World Cuprunners-up from qualifying for the knockout stage of the Athens Olympic Games soccer tournament in 2004.

Also it boosted a lot for the reviving Chinese side, who are trying to harvest some confidence after a decade in losing jinx while preparingfor the upcoming World Cup this September to be held in five cities of China.

Han Duan, whose double helped the hosts whitewash Thailand 4-0 on Sunday in Qinhuangdao, scored the only goal for China after veteran striker Zhang Ouying's second attempt on goal was again bounced back by Mexican defenders after seven minutes into the second half.

The hosts took control of the match right into it with a well-organized midfield, while the 31-year-old Zhang Ouying, who rejoined the Chinesenational squad after having retired from soccer in 2005, lingeringon the right wing to seek for scoring opportunities and Han Duan runningtirelessly to cover full stretch in front.

However, the first half ended up on 0-0 with China making sevenshots against Mexico's two, each having one on goal, two corner kicks against the rival's none, but 12 fouls while only three fromthe South Americans after a full 45-minutes plus two minutes injury stoppage time.

The situation repeated itself in the second half, when Chinese players created a lot of scoring opportunities but declined to convert them into goals, until the hosts' attacking duo finally enhanced their chances in front of the mouth.

In the other game played Wednesday evening, Italy finally showed their real teeth after being held by Mexico three days ago in Qinhuangdao,breezing past Asian underdogs Thailand 5-0 to keep their hope alive of making the final.

The Azzurri, ranked 13th in FIFA's world standings, just two positions behind the Chinese, opened scoring in the 19th minute with captain PatriziaPanico, 32, was picked by the ball leaked out of the hand of Thailand's goalie Waraporn Boonsing who tried to save an attack inearlier seconds butran too far from the mouth.

Midfield Tatiana Zorri added the second on penalty for Italy just three minutes into the second half, before Panico improved herself to a doublescoring in the 75th mintue after a superb solo run.

It's far from the end of Italy's attacking show. Substitute Silvia Fuselli, who was brought in by head coach Pietro Ghedin on 59 minute to take the place of Melania Gabbiadini, broke through on goal from right of the box after being picked out by a lovely cross ball from the other side.

Just a minute later, Sukunya Peangthem's own goal awarded Italya 5-0 victory.

Source: Xinhua

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