Belgium leave hosts on the brink
© Foto-net

China stand on the cusp of crashing out of the Men's Olympic Tournament after going down to a 2-0 defeat to Belgium in which two of their players were sent off.

With another two Chinese representatives receiving their second yellow cards of the competition, the team's under-pressure coaches now face a major selection headache ahead of their make-or-break clash with Brazil.

Belgium, meanwhile - unfortunate to lose to Ronaldinho et al in their Group C opener - are now in prime position to join the Auriverde in the quarter-finals, with the Red Devils now two points better off than both China and New Zealand.

Spurred on by a passionate home support, China began this match at a frenetic pace and could have taken the lead inside two minutes, Gao Lin missing the target when it appeared easier to score. This profligacy persisted in the Chinese play throughout the match, in fact, and they were left chasing the game from the eighth minute onwards when Belgium broke the headlock.

A terrific goal it was too, Tom de Mul producing some fine approach play before laying the ball inside to Moussa Dembele, who dribbled past four defenders before smashing the ball home from 25 yards.

With their fans temporarily stunned into silence, China successfully set about re-establishing their monopoly on possession, but time and again came undone in and around Belgium's 18-yard box.

The half-time introduction of Fangzhou Dong might have been expected to bring some much-needed penetration, but the Manchester United striker's chances of making an impact suffered a major blow in 52 minutes when team-mate Tan Wangson received his marching orders for a crude challenge on Sebastien Pocognoli.

Within 12 minutes, China's task became all but impossible when captain Zheng Zhi followed Tan Wangsong for an early bath after picking up a red card for an elbow on Jan Vertonghen.

The numerical advantage left Belgium able to pick off their hosts on the counter-attack, and with 10 minutes remaining the points were secured when Kevin Mirallas found time and space to fire home from distance.