The sleeping giant awakens

China PR has booked its place in the AFC Asian Cup quarter-finals with a 2-1 victory over Uzbekistan in Brisbane on Wednesday night.

Odil Ahmedov put the Uzbeks ahead midway through the first half in the Group B clash at Suncorp Stadium.

But second-half goals from Wu Xi and Sun Ke saw Alain Perrin's men to victory, sealing their place in the last eight.

China top the group on six points ahead of a clash against winless North Korea, with Saudi Arabia and Uzbekistan (both three points) to do battle in the pool's other remaining match.

Perrin's men dominated possession in the early stages, but their creativity was limited to hopeful crosses.

It meant Uzbekistan goalkeeper Ignatiy Nesterov was tested aerially, and he endured a couple of nervy moments before settling.

Somewhat against the run of play, Mirjalol Qosimov's men went ahead midway through the first half.

Ahmedov worked his way inside and shot from 25 yards, with the effort aided by a huge deflection to beat goalkeeper Wang Dalei and find the bottom-rightcorner.

Uzbekistan had a good chance to double their lead 10 minutes before the break.

Server Djeparov was fouled just outside the area, but Ahmedov smashed the resulting free-kick into the wall.

China struggled to break down Uzbekistan, who sat deep with numbers behind the ball for large parts.

But the equaliser came via Wu in the 55th minute, thanks to yet another teasing cross.

Nesterov came for the cross and failed to get anywhere near it, leading to Gao Lin flicking a pass into a dangerous area.

Wu was near the penalty spot and, with Nesterov stranded, he volleyed in to draw China level.

Substitute Sardor Rashidov tested Wang with a strike from a narrow angle in the 66th minute as both teams searched for a winning goal.

But just two minutes later China were ahead thanks to a fine strike from Sun.

The substitute ran at the Uzbek defence before curling a right-footed effort into the bottom-right corner from 20 yards, thanks to a slight deflection.

Zhang Linpeng had a chance to seal the points for China, but volleyed over from inside the area in the 75th minute.

China continued to look the more likely to score again as they held on for a deserved three points, ensuring they reach the quarter-finals for the first time since finishing as runners-up in 2004.