China and Lebanon settle for 0-0 draw to leave Asian Cup progress in the balance

China and Lebanon settle for 0-0 draw to leave Asian Cup progress in the balance
The draw means both teams, along with group member Tajikistan, still have a chance of entering the next round.
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China and Lebanon drew 0-0 in the match, with China set to face defending champions Qatar in its final game [Photo by Zhizhao Wu/Getty Images]

After back-to-back draws at the start of the Asian Cup, China likely needs at least a point against host and defending champion Qatar to have a chance of advancing to the knockout stage.

A 0-0 draw with Lebanon on Tuesday left both nations' hopes of reaching the round of 16 in the balance.

While China is second in Group A on two points, it has the daunting task of facing Qatar in its final game, knowing defeat could see it overtaken by Lebanon or Tajikistan.

"We know that we depend on ourselves and that is something that every team would like to be in that position before the last game," China coach Aleksandar Jankovic said. "So we depend on ourselves. No matter [if] we play against a host country... Qatar with their World Cup experience, we still depend on ourselves and I always like to be in this kind of situation."

Lebanon hit the bar twice and China saw an effort cleared off the line as they had to share the points at Al Thumama Stadium.

Lebanon lost 3-0 to Qatar in its opening game and is bottom of the group with one point, but it could still advance.

"It's a very important point for us especially after a tough defeat against Qatar," coach Miodrag Radulovic said. "We hit two posts, but unfortunately we didn't score again. I'm satisfied with this point because we are still in the game to the end for the next round."

Hassan Maatouk and Hasan Srour hitting the bar for Lebanon either side of halftime.

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Wu Lei thought he'd broken the deadlock for China in the 65th minute, but his close-range range shot was hooked off the line.

China, a quarterfinalist in each of the last two Asian Cups, went into this game knowing its chances of advancing were in jeopardy after a 0-0 draw with Tajikistan in its opening match.

It likely needs at least a point against Qatar to have a chance of advancing as runner-up or one of the best third-placed teams.

Qatar leads Group A with three points and it was facing Tajikistan on Wednesday with the chance to secure its place in the round of 16. Third-placed Tajikistan also has one point.

China came close to scoring in the first half when Lebanon goalkeeper Mostafa Matar twice denied Zhang Yuning in one threatening attack.

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Substitute Lin Liangming should have been more clinical late in the match, but headed wide when unmarked right in front of goal.