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China suffer first defeat at Algarve Cup

ALBUFEIRA, Portugal, March 8 (Xinhua) — Two-time champions China suffered a 5-0 drubbing by the United States in a crucial Group B clash of the Algarve Cup women’s soccer tournament on Friday.

China, who drew Sweden 1-1 in the opening battle, took the upper hand in the early period with more open chances.

Veteran captain Pu Wei sent a sharp through pass to clear the field in the Americans’ box after 12 minutes, but her teammate failed to capitalize on the one-to-one chance, which was China’s best opportunity in 90 minutes.

The United States, triple Olympic champions, created their first chance one minute later and scored. Leroux Sydney beat her opponent in the left flank and ran to the area before delivering an angled low shot.

China’s keeper Zhang Yue failed to clear a high cross in the 32nd minute and left her goal open. Ali Krieger’s easy finish made it 2-0.

After the restart, the heavy rain stopped to make both sides play with normal pace.

The Americans dominated the rest of game with three more goals to seal the second victory in a row and top Group B.

China, though fielding their former ace striker Ma Xiaoxu, found it hard to seize foothold in the midfield with an offensive 4-1-2-3 formation, totalling four shots compared to more than 20 by the opponents.

Algarve Cup, the annually global invitational tournament since 1994, is one of the most famous women’s soccer events and features 12 teams divided into three groups for the 2013 edition.

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