Xiao Zhi makes history with 100th UAE 2019 goal
2019-01-21 09:34 CFA
Al Ain: Xiao Zhi's goal in China PR's come-from-behind 2-1 AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 last 16 win over Thailand earned the forward a slice of history on Sunday, as he netted the 100th goal of the competition.
Xiao Zhi was presented with a commemorative ball after the match from the AFC.
The 2019 edition of the tournament is the first to produce a century of goals, surpassing the previous record haul of 96, set at the 2004 AFC Asian Cup in China.
While Xiao's goal brought up a historic milestone, it was also crucial to keeping China PR's UAE 2019 campaign alive.
With Marcello Lippi's men facing a 1-0 deficit, and potential elimination from the competition, the Guangzhou R&F forward scored the equaliser in the 67th minute, just three minutes after being brought into the game as a substitute.
The breakthrough was followed, just four minutes later, with a second Chinese goal courtesy of Gao Lin from the penalty spot, as the East Asian side reached the last eight to equal their achievement from four years ago in Australia.
For 33-year-old Xiao, the goal is his first at a major tournament, and arguably the high point of an international career which began in 2017 - a full 14 years after he made his professional club debut.
Fittingly, the goal itself was also a reward for perseverance, with Xiao scoring from close range after following up from his own initial header, which was saved by Thailand goalkeeper Siwarak Tedsungnoen.