Birmingham beat Beijing Guoan 1-0 at charity-oriented friendly

07:56, July 22, 2010      

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Zhu Yifan of Beijing Guoan FC shoots during a charity soccer match between Beijing Guoan FC and Birmingham City FC at the National Stadium or the Bird's Nest in Beijing, China, July 21, 2010. Birmingham City won 1-0. (Xinhua/Tao Xiyi)
English Premier League side Birmingham opened their charity-oriented China tour with a victory on Wednesday, defeating local team Beijing Guoan 1-0 in the Birds' Nest Chinese National Stadium.

The hosts Guoan, reigning champions of the Chinese Super League, took control of the first half, creating a bunch of shooting opportunities in front of a crowd of festive local fans. However, the best shooting chance of the half came from Serbian international Nikola Zigic from Birmingham in the 22nd minute, whose powerful header hit the bar.

Guoan also missed a chance 14 minutes into the second half. Xu Liang's freekick bounced back from the crossbar after goalie Ben Foster, former Mancheter United keeper, touched the ball with his fingers.

The deadlock was broken with seven minutes left. Assisted by Cameron Jerome, Birmingham forward Garry O'Conor scored the only goal of the match.

Before the clash between Birmingham and Guoan kicked off, two celebrity football teams from both the mainland and Hong Kong, China staged a warm-up match in the National Stadium.

Birmingham will have two friendly matches in their tour to China. They will travel to the city of Shenyang of Liaoning Province to face local team Hongyun on Saturday.

Players of both Birmingham and Guoan will also attend a charity banquet on Thursday in Beijing, and all the donations and auction incomes, as well as the ticket incomes from the two matches, will be donated to the China Foundation for Disabled Persons, an organization working to improve living conditions for the disabled in China.

Source: Xinhua

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