Debutante hits winner
Late goal lifts host China over U.S. women 1-0 in friendly
BEIJING (AP) -- A last-minute goal by substitute Han Duan gave China a 1-0 win over the United States in a women's international soccer friendly Thursday.
Han, playing her first match for the national side, came on at halftime and scored with a 22-yard (20-meter) shot. Both sides were missing veterans and fielded younger players for the match before 10,000 fans at the Yingdong stadium in Panyu, south China.
China's Bai Jie also missed a penalty in the second half, hitting the right post.
"We were fortunate to win the game," China coach Ma Yaunan said. "We have played the USA many times and have lost most of the games, but today we were lucky. We, too, learn much from the USA as far as their aggression and fighting spirit."
China fielded seven players who faced the United States in the first round of the 2000 Olympic Games, while the U.S. team had just five who played in the 1-1 tie in Melbourne, Australia.
The two teams face each other again in another friendly Sunday.
"That was an Olympic type crowd out there in that they made so much noise out there that the players can't hear each other," said U.S. head coach April Heinrichs. "But that's a great environment for our younger players to step into.
"I'm thrilled for these players and this team," said Heinrichs, who captained the U.S. team its first-ever Women's World Cup match on this same field in 1991 against Sweden. "They played inspiring soccer. They went after China and we were under a great deal of pressure, but still found a way to be zero-zero with one minute left.
"In some ways, that made it more difficult to lose because we really were getting better during the course of the game. We made some adjustments at halftime and I was very pleased with the improvement."
"The Chinese played magnificent soccer," added Heinrichs. "They send runners from everywhere and their ability to control the ball is phenomenal. It is wonderful to watch and something that we try to learn from."
China: Han Wenxia; Ye Shimin (Xie Huilin, 67th), Fan Yunjie (Zhang Ouying, 78th), Li Jie, Wang Liping, Zhao Lihong, Liu Ying, Pan Lina (Shi Mengyu, 83rd), Pu Wei (Xie Caixia, 70th), Bai Jie, Bai Lili (Han Duan, 46th).
United States: Jaime Pagliarulo, Thori Bryan (Keri Raygor, 46th), Kate Sobrero, Christie Pearce, Michelle French (Jenny Benson, 69th), Lorrie Fair, Nikki Serlenga (Aleisha Cramer, 64th), Mary-Frances Monroe (Jennifer Lalor, 46th), Jena Kluegel, Meredith Florance (Stephanie Rigamat, 75th), Tiffeny Milbrett.