Asian Games unable to muzzle soccer goalie

Associated Press
Two people walk past an Asian Games sign in Guangzhou, China, Wednesday, Nov. 10, 2010, ahead of  the Asian Games.(AP Photo/Rob Griffith)
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Asian Games organizers have planned meticulously, ordering cars off the road to improve air quality, bombarding citizens with crowd etiquette expectations and enforcing a rigorous anti-doping campaign to avoid scandals.

But somebody forgot to muzzle at least one soccer goalie.

Wang Dalei, widely regarded as the bad boy of Chinese soccer, launched an online tirade at his critics following a 3-0 loss to Japan in an Asian Games group match, describing them as "just a bunch of dogs" on his microblog.

"It would be flattery to call you fans," the 21-year-old Wang posted of his critics. "You bunch of morons are the main reason why Chinese football can't make progress. You throw in stones after a man has fallen into a well."

The outburst shocked some soccer fans, but wasn't entirely surprising to many who have lost interest in the sport after years of substandard performances from Chinese soccer players in the domestic and international arena.

The posts had been deleted by Wednesday, but Chinese officials were slow to sanction the young firebrand whose name translates to "big thunder."

Coach Sun Wei initially said Wang was just being emotional because "he felt bad about losing the match" on Monday.

But Wang was benched Wednesday for China's second group match, a tense 2-1 comeback win over Kyrgyzstan that kept alive its chances of advancing from Group A.

He was also suspended and "ordered to meditate on his action," the official Xinhua News Agency quoted Chinese delegation secretary-general Cai Jiadong as saying.

The length of the suspension was not released, but Cai said Wang had apologized if he "hurt the feelings of Chinese soccer fans and tarnished the image as a national soccer team player."

Kyrgyzstan went ahead in the 5th minute and held the lead until the 83rd, when Lu Wenjun equalized with a well-time header to Murehemaitijiang Mozhapa's floating cross from the left.

Midfielder Wu Xi scored the winner deep in added time with a powerful left-foot strike from the top of the area.

"I'm delighted to have scored this goal," Wu said. "I think we will get better results in the next matches."

Captain Zhang Linpeng said the win had "taken the edge off the defeat in the last match."

Japan booked a place in the second round with a 2-0 win over second-place Malaysia in Group A to move to six points with one group match to play.

In other matches Wednesday, North Korea ensured it progressed with a 3-0 win over the Palestinian team, Iran edged Bahrain 1-0, South Korea South Korea beat Jordan 4-0 and Turkmenistan defeated Vietnam 6-2.

The first gold medal of the games will be awarded Saturday, when full competition gets under way. The soccer tournament started this week.

On Wednesday, Guangzhou vice mayor and organizing committee official Xu Ruisheng had proudly listed how well this southern Chinese city had prepared for the games and how it would present the event "with a Cantonese charm."

Xu presented some impressive details, saying the 53 competition venues and 17 training stadiums were ready in Guangzhou well before Friday's opening ceremony. Test events had been completed in all 42 sports.

The bulk of the 10,000-plus athletes had already checked into the new athletes' village.

Four times in the past three weeks, the Guangzhou organizing committee held "simulation tests" at all venues to test timing and scoring systems and hold dry runs for the medal presentations at what will be the biggest Asian Games on record.

"I am glad to say that after these tests, we have greatly enhanced our operational abilities," Xu said through an interpreter.

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