GUANGZHOU, China (AFP) - Desperate China needed a dramatic winning goal in the fourth minute of injury time to keep their Asian Games hopes alive in a come-from-behind 2-1 win over Kyrgyzstan on Wednesday.
Wu Xi struck the decisive goal which secured the three points and set-up a winner takes all clash with Malaysia on Saturday to secure an automatic qualifying place alongside Group A rivals Japan.
The Japanese side made sure of their place in the next stage with a 2-0 win over the Malaysians earlier in the day.
North Korea also reached the second round with a 3-0 win over the Palestinian territories, a victory which kept up their 100-percent record in Group C.
China had lost 3-0 to Japan in their opening game and the team's state of siege was underlined by coach Sun Wei's decision to drop first choice goalkeeper Wang Dalei.
Wang had blasted the country's demanding fans as 'morons' after being widely attacked for his performance against Japan.
However, his replacement Zhang Shichang's first task was to pick the ball out of the net after just five minutes when Pavel Sidorenko scored.
China were on top for the rest of the game with Wang Xuanhong having a diving header saved by Maksim Akapov while Mozhapa Murehemaitijiang saw a neat chip come back off the crossbar.
China finally levelled seven minutes from time when substitute Lu Wenjun headed in a teasing left-wing cross from Murehemaitijiang.
They wasted a golden opportunity in stoppage time when Zhang Yuan hit the post with Li Kai pushing the rebound onto the crossbar.
But Wu's 25-yard strike in the fourth minute of stoppage time gave China the three points before Lu Peng's controversial red card dampened the celebrations.
"We have taken the edge off the defeat in the last match against Japan," said relieved captain Zhang Linpeng.
"Although we met some troubles in this match, fortunately we won.
"We will go step by step," he added. "I think we will do better in the next match if we avoid anxiety and calm down."
Japan had to work hard against a plucky Malaysia but goals from Kensuke Nagai and Hotaru Yamaguchi were enough to hand them the win.
"We have won two matches. Now I hope the boys have the confidence to win every match and make fewer mistakes in the future," said Japan coach Takashi Sekizuka.
In Group C, South Korea made amends for their upset defeat to neighbours North Korea by thrashing Jordan 4-0.
Koo Ja-Cheol got the ball rolling on 24 minutes with a fine strike and they went to the break two-up after he got another in the dying seconds.
Kim Bo-Kyung and Cho Young-Cheol added two more goals in the second half.
South Korea coach Hong Myung-Bo praised Monaco striker Park Chu-Young, who only joined the team after the French club made a last minute decision to release him.
"Park came back into the team and created many chances for the young players," said Hong.
North Korea, who have brought 10 players to Guangzhou who featured at the World Cup in South Africa, were too good for the Palestinian territories with Kim Kuk-Jin, Choe Kum-Chol and Pak Kwang-Ryon all on target.
In Group B, 2002 champions Iran edged Bahrain 1-0 thanks to a late first-half goal from Karim Ansari to visrtally wrap-up a second round spot.
Turkmenistan romped to a 6-2 win over Vietnam in the day's other game.
|Real Madrid 2 San Lorenzo 0: Spanish giants complete triumphant 2014|
|McCoist: Departures sucking life out of Rangers|
|Hargreaves urges Sterling to stay put|
|Herediano 1 Deportivo Saprissa 1 (agg 3-5): Draw hands visitors consecutive titles|
|Tribulietx basks in Auckland City´s heroics|
|San Lorenzo´s Bauza applauds Ancelotti|
|Wenger: Sanchez a Footballer of the Year candidate|
|Chelsea like United´s treble-winning team - Hargreaves|
|Ancelotti: Copa del Rey victory inspired Real´s stunning run|
|La Liga Review: Catalan clubs triumph|
|Milan on right track - Inzaghi|
|Estoril 1 Vitoria Guimaraes 0: Kleber checks visitors´ momentum|
|Eredivisie Review: PSV in Eagles demolition, AZ downed at home|
|Garcia fumes at missed handball|
|Serie A Review: 10-man Milan frustrate Roma, Cesena rescue point|
|Roma 0 Milan 0: Hosts denied despite Armero red|
|Ligue 1 Review: PSG held at home, Monaco claim fourth win in a row|
|Bundesliga Review: Bremen off bottom with Dortmund win, Augsburg beat Gladbach|
|Blanc frustrated after drab stalemate|
|League Two Review: Moore´s Hartlepool tenure begins with draw|
|Championship Review: Blackpool hit for six, Middlesbrough slip up|
|Luis Enrique enjoying Pedro´s resurgence|
|Scottish Premiership Review: Aberdeen move to second, St Mirren misery continues|
|Koeman delighted with clinical Southampton|
|Pochettino tips in-form Kane for England call-up|
|Dortmund are ´idiots´ - Klopp|
|Allardyce hails ´outstanding´ Downing|
|Young admitted fault after Agbonlahor dismissal, says Lambert|
|Pearson not concerned with speculation|
|Bruce: Hull simply not good enough|
|Everton must improve - Martinez|
|Irvine rues sloppy defending|
|Cruz Azul 1 Auckland City 1 (2-4 on pens): Plucky New Zealanders claim third|
|Austin an example for young strikers - Redknapp|
|Dyche takes pride in White Hart Lane defeat|
|Arabian Gulf League Review: Al Shabab strike late to sink Al Dhafra, top two win|
|Swansea win vindicated changes, says Monk|
|Van Gaal frustrated by dropped points at Villa|
|Paris Saint-Germain 0 Montpellier 0: Champions frustrated by Courbis´ men|
|League One Review: Wilson gains landmark win as Bristol City and Swindon falter|
|Hull City 0 Swansea City 1: Monk´s men celebrate rare away win|
|Southampton 3 Everton 0: Koeman´s side back to winning ways|
|Aston Villa 1 Manchester United 1: Visitors held despite Agbonlahor dismissal|
|QPR 3 West Brom 2: Austin treble lifts hosts out of drop zone|
|Barcelona 5 Cordoba 0: Suarez opens Liga account in emphatic win|
|Tottenham 2 Burnley 1: Lamela stunner wins it for Spurs|
|West Ham 2 Leicester City 0: Carroll, Downing seal the points|
|Werder Bremen 2 Borussia Dortmund 1: Hosts off the bottom by adding to Klopp´s woes|
|Kerala Blasters 0 Atletico de Kolkata 1: Last-gasp Rafique seals inaugural title|
|Warnock fumes over disallowed goal|
|Pellegrini hails Silva quality|
|Betis announce Mel return|
|Huntelaar signs Schalke extension|
|Juventus v Napoli: Allegri backs Tevez to make difference|
|Stoke City v Chelsea: Mourinho calls for adaptability|
|Manchester City 3 Crystal Palace 0: Silva strikes twice as champions go joint-top|
|A-League Review: City snatch Melbourne derby honours, Glory pull further clear|
|Mancini: Inter can finish third|
|Sterling revels in Golden Boy award|
|Pellegrini: You never win a title in December|
|Rodgers bemoans Sanchez snub|
|Ayew confident Marseille can beat title rivals|
|Mercier: San Lorenzo won´t roll over to Real Madrid|
|Lukaku: I´m still 21|
|Mainz bemoan ´tragic´ loss to Bayern|
|Rojo ruled out for Villa trip|
|Lopetegui thrilled with Porto response|
|Guardiola pays tribute to battling Mainz|
|Orlando City sign Shea|
|Porto 4 Vitoria Setubal 0: Brahimi inspires late drama|
|League Two Review: Burton held, Cambridge snatch late point|
|Millwall 0 Bolton Wanderers 1: Pratley nets winner for visitors|
|Lens 2 Nice 0: Cyprien and Coulibaly lift hosts|
|Celta Vigo 0 Almeria 1: Nolito miss proves costly|
|Heerenveen 0 ADO Den Haag 0: Visitors´ winless streak extended|
|Mainz 1 Bayern Munich 2: Guardiola´s men break Christmas points record|
|Blanc unconcerned by league placing|
|United targeting title - Carrick|
|Soldado ´ashamed´ at not performing for Spurs|
|Ramos to wait and see on fitness for final|
|Garcia wins appeal against two-match ban|
|Hart signs new City contract|
|Hereford United wound up|
|Pearson given touchline ban for fan row|
|FIFA confirms third-party ownership ban|
|Inter v Lazio: Ranocchia wants to build momentum|
|Rodgers hits out at Sterling criticism|
|Pardew backs Colback to shine against Sunderland|
|Minimal recovery time a concern for Bauza|
|Liverpool v Arsenal: Wenger out to avoid repeat performance|
|Newcastle United v Sunderland: Pardew calls for a derby day show|
|Adebayor available for Burnley clash|
|Athletic Bilbao v Atletico Madrid: Simeone´s men eye fitting response|
|Targett commits to Southampton|
|Garcia vows to attack Milan|
|City still without strike trio for Palace test|
|Courtois set for return at Stoke|
|Di Maria set for possible United return at Villa|
|Neymar in frame for Cordoba match|
|FIFA to publish Garcia report|
|Liverpool will not appeal Balotelli ban|
|A-League: Newcastle Jets 2 Adelaide United 1|
|Fournier eyes Fekir stay and attacking reinforcements|
|Abidal announces retirement ahead of potential Barca return|
|Redknapp: Crouch deal not possible|
|Klaassen laments Ajax ´off-day´|
|Wenger not fearful of another Anfield nightmare|
|Whelan wants to extend Stoke stay|
|Kalou eyes Hertha exit|
|Fellaini: Belief growing of title tilt at United|
|Benteke: Villa transfer request was a mistake|
|Gerrard urges Sterling to stay put|
|Pardew calls for calm ahead of derby clash|
|Kerala Blasters v Atletico de Kolkata: Luis Garcia talks up team ahead of final|
|Monk wants three new Swansea signings|
|Koeman plays down Sneijder link|
|Howard targets another World Cup|
|Inzaghi prepared for Stadio Olimpico atmosphere|
|Toronto expect Defoe to return|
|Rodriguez suffers injury setback|
|Klopp denies Dortmund departure plans|
|Copa del Rey Review: Bilbao and Elche edge through, Madrid derby beckons|