October 13, 2018 / 3:26 PM / 2 months ago

Soccer: Lippi's China held scoreless by India in 'Earth Derby'

HONG KONG (Reuters) - China’s struggles in the build-up to January’s Asian Cup finals continued on Saturday when Italian coach Marcello Lippi’s side were held to a 0-0 home draw by India in a friendly in Suzhou.

It was the first meeting between the countries in more than two decades and has been dubbed ‘The Earth Derby’ as it features nations that are home to a third of the world’s population.

However, for the third match in a row Lippi’s team failed to break down their opponents, with India holding on for a draw thanks to their Bengaluru goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh.

The two teams are preparing for the finals of next year’s continental championships in the United Arab Emirates.

Stephen Constantine’s India face hosts the UAE, Thailand and Bahrain in the Asian Cup, which kicks off on Jan. 5, while China meet South Korea, the Philippines and Kyrgyzstan in the group phase as they aim to win the title for the first time.

Reporting by Michael Church; Editing by Ken Ferris

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