GUANGZHOU, Nov. 10 (Xinhua) -- Serbia beat China 2-0 in an international football friendly here on Friday.
China, failing to earn the World Cup finals ticket, has started its preparation for the East Asian Football Championship, which will start next month.
In October, Serbia secured a place in football's premier international tournament by finishing first in Group D, qualifying for the FIFA World Cup 2018 with 21 points out of 10 matches, including six victories.
Though Nemanja Matic of Manchester United quit the match for a rest, the team of Serbia, spearheaded by Branislav Ivanovic and Aleksandar Kolarov, proved to be too strong for China as they fully controlled the rhythm.
Serbia won three opportunities in a row inside the area in 20th minute, and Adem Ljajic eventually broke the deadlock by striking a strong shot.
China tried to pull the game back with an equalizer, but Serbia displayed a solid defense to keep its clean sheet in the first half.
Both sides played open after the break. Wu Lei and Gao Lin should have netted for China at the beginning of the second half but they wasted the glorious chances. Serbia's Aleksandar Mitrovic then increased the lead by swinging in a header off a cross from Andrija Zivkovic in 69th minute.
"It's a pity that we didn't score in the match," said China national team coach Marcello Lippi, "This match is important for us to test our squad. The opponents of the two friendly we arrange are both World Cup finalists. We have predicted the match would be difficult. I was not satisfied with the first half, our players lack of creativity, but in the second we played what we want."
Four days later, China will play Colombia in Chongqing. Colombia also makes it to the World Cup by finishing fourth in South America's CONMEBOL qualifying tournament.