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Lippi says China facing striker crisis

AFP  |  Al-Ain (UAE) 

said an influx of foreign forwards had decimated China's striking stocks and could damage their Asian Cup campaign after an unconvincing start in the

China's threadbare options up front were underlined when makeshift forward grabbed the winner in Monday's 2-1 win over debutants Kyrgyzstan, which also left key attacker nursing a suspected

Yu played as a defender last season for and said the overseas forwards flooding the cashed-up have squeezed out Chinese players.

"This shows our situation in In China, nearly all the foreign players are forwards," said Lippi, who led his native to

"It means for our attack, I have to pick a who spent the season in central defence."

China's attacking play was far from convincing against Kyrgyzstan, who led at half-time and should have grabbed at least a draw if not for a bungling own goal by their

But Lippi's team had problems in defence too as they were continually picked apart by an inventive Kyrgyzstan, who dominated the first half and had chances for a late equaliser.

The did not improve for as the influential Wu, reportedly linked with outfit Wolverhampton Wanderers last year, was left in doubt for Friday's second Group C clash against the

"I really hope not," said Lippi, when asked if the was serious. "I hope he'll be available (against the Philippines) but it's not certain."

Alexandre Pato, Hulk and are among the well-paid foreign attacking players in China, where authorities have tried to clamp down on expensive new arrivals by imposing a heavy tax on transfer fees and a salary cap.

However, was also a beneficiary of the trend during his time at Guangzhou Evergrande, when the likes of Dario Conca, Elkeson and Muriqui inspired the club to four CSL titles and the 2013 Asian crown.

Goal-shy scored just five goals in their six friendlies since September and Lippi revealed he gave his players a half-time rocket after a typically slow start against

"It's not the first time. In the two-and-a-half years I've been the national team coach, it's happened many times that we've played a negative first half," he said.

"I start to get angry and push my players, and then I get the reaction that I wanted from the first minute. It seems like it's a characteristic of Chinese players.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, January 08 2019. 16:40 IST