BANGKOK, Nov. 16 (Xinhua) -- China registered a morale-boosting victory as it came from behind to beat Thailand 2-1 in the 2026 World Cup qualifiers Round 2 here on Thursday.
Without key defender Jiang Guangtai, Chinese head coach Aleksandar Jankovic opted for Zhu Chenjie and Jiang Shenglong at the back-line, while Wu Lei led the trident upfront with Wu Xi pulling the string in the midfield.
Suphanat Mueanta's strike in the 5th minute was too weak to surprise China's goalkeeper Yan Junling, while at the other end Jiang's effort was wide of the post.
The host broke the deadlock in the 23rd minute through a counterattack, as Suphanat's attempt was denied by Yan, but he collected the loose ball and squared for Supachok Sarachat who laid it off for Sarach Yooyen to volley home.
China quickly got back on level terms minutes later as Wei Shihao charged forward and rolled across for Wu Lei to slide it in at the back post.
However, Wu Lei should have bagged a brace before the interval, as Wei sent him through, but he only saw his solo effort go wide.
Sarach'e twisting header was denied by Yan minutes after the break, and China completed the turnaround in the 74th minute with a combination of two substitutes as Xie Pengfei's lobbing pass found unmarked Wang Shangyuan who finished with a diving header undisturbed.
In a desperate bid to avoid a home defeat, Thailand poured forward in the dying minutes, but was still toothless to get back into it.
In an earlier fixture on Thursday, South Korea crushed Singapore 5-0. China will host South Korea on November 21.