China PR kept alive their flickering hopes of reaching the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ with a thumping 4-0 win over Singapore today. Yu Hai broke the deadlock in the 41st minute, before Li Weifeng struck in the second half and Zheng Zheng added a late double, even after Jose Camacho's visitors went a man down for a straight red card to Huang Bowen.
China needed two wins from their last two games, and a vastly improved goal difference, to stand any chance of reaching the final qualifying round, and they gave themselves the best possible chance at the Jalan Besar Stadium.
The Chinese showed their intent when they went close in the first minute, and on 23 minutes Hao Junmin had a glorious chance to open their account, but his vicious shot hurtled just over the bar.
Singapore had another close shave four minutes later when Yu ran clear of the defenders, but the midfielder's low effort was deflected out of play by goalkeeper Lionel Lewis.
Aleksandar Duric nearly shocked China in the 34th minute in one of Singapore's rare attacks, but he could not connect with a low rifle of a cross which skimmed just beyond his reach right in front of China's goal.
But China went 1-0 up before half-time after some nifty passing found Yu in a Singapore penalty box packed with defenders, and he made no mistake from close range.
Singapore started the second half more aggressively and were unlucky not to equalise in the 53rd minute when the unmarked Duric, picked out by a cross into the Chinese box, saw his shot strike the woodwork. But two minutes later, the visitors doubled their advantage as defender Li headed into the Singapore net from an inswinging corner.
Singapore keeper Lewis denied midfielder Hao in the 61st minute, and five minutes later China's evening was blemished with Huang's red card for aiming a punch at Mustafic Fahrudin over a crunching tackle.
Despite going down to ten men, China were determined to up their goal count, and Zheng outran his markers and slotted the ball past a diving Lewis in the 72nd minute. And Zheng struck again in the 81st minute with a sweet strike which beat Lewis and buried itself in the right of Singapore's goal.
However, China's good work will be for nothing if 2007 Asian champions Iraq can take one point from their last two games, against already qualified Jordan later today and eliminated Singapore on 29 February.