Guangzhou (AFP) – Veteran striker Yang Xu made four goals in 25 minutes during China’s 7-0 blitz of Guam while Australia easily bested a struggling Nepal in Thursday’s World Cup qualifiers.
China struggled to keep up the pressure and would have gone scoreless in the second half without a sudden strike by Brazil-born Elkeson, who in August became the first player without Chinese heritage to be named in the national squad.
Yang found his first in the sixth minute off a cross from Wang Gang but Guam looked like levelling soon after with some gaping holes in the hosts’ defence.
Winger Wu Lei’s feint around Travis Nicklaw into goal from the penalty line checked the brief burst of momentum from the visitors and Yang’s second moments later kept the hosts on the front foot for the rest of the half.
Yang made his fourth at the 31st minute and shook off a tumble soon after that saw a yellow card for Nicklaw, while Yu Xi’s header brought China to six.
With the other scorers benched after the break, Yang’s best shot at a fifth was flagged offside.
Elkeson stepped up in the 75th minute but missed his chance at matching the double he made on debut against the Maldives last month in the final shortly before the whistle.
– Maclaren hat-trick –
Meanwhile Jamie Maclaren made a hat-trick in Australia’s 5-0 thrashing of Nepal during Thursday’s World Cup qualifier in Canberra.
The Socceroos missed several opportunities against their 161st-ranked visitors but maintained a tight defence and dominated possession through the match.
Their opponents were flagging by half-time, with a dogged showing by keeper Kiran Chemjong avoiding a bigger blowout.
“We created a lot of chances, but we got a bit more ruthless when it counts,” said Australia coach Graham Arnold after his side’s biggest home win in three years. “Overall, I’m very happy.”
Melbourne City’s Maclaren opened scoring in the sixth minute when Chemjong lost his grip on a drive from the top of the box.
He doubled the lead in the 18th with a header off Rhyan Grant.
International debutant Harry Souttar followed five minutes later with his own nod into goal, but a potential fourth by Mathew Leckie seconds before the break was controversially ruled offside.
By then the Aussies had made 16 shots on goal against a solitary attempt by the visitors — a 44th minute Hail Mary from Abhishek Rijal from near the half-way line.