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Thursday, 25 May, 2000, 19:29 GMT 20:29 UK
Yugoslavia beat China
Darko Kovacevic
Darko Kovacevic made it 2-0 against China
Yugoslavia started their build-up to Euro 2000 with a 2-0 win against China at Beijing's Workers Stadium on Thursday.

The game was the first of a four-match tour to Asia before Yugoslavia's first European Championship game against Slovenia on 13 June.

Partizan Belgrade's Mateja Kezman broke the deadlock midway through the first half and Darko Kovacevic, once of Sheffield Wednesday now at Juventus, made it 2-0 in the second half.

Yugoslavia now move on to Seoul for a double header against South Korea on Sunday and Tuesday.

Despite the two-goal margin, the Yugoslavs had goalkeeper Zeljko Cicovic to thank for keeping them in the game against a lively Chinese side.
Mateja Kezman
Mateja Kezman broke the deadlock

Coached by globetrotting Yugoslav Bora Milutinovic, China played some neat football and their pacy forwards, particularly captain Hao Haidong, troubled the visitors throughout.

The Yugoslavs took time to settle on the bobbly pitch, but their opening goal arrived on 22 minutes, when Kezman pounced on some sloppy defending in the Chinese penalty area and poked home from six yards.

But China continued to create chances and Cicovic twice had to save smartly from Hao.

Key changes

At the interval Yugoslavia made a string of substitutions which were to prove crucial. Real Zaragoza striker Savo Milosevic and Kezman were replaced with Fiorentina's Pedrag Mijatovic and Inter's Kovacevic.

Initially the second half followed the same pattern as the first, with China enjoying much the better of the early exchanges.

But the Chinese fell a further goal behind on 75 minutes, when Kovacevic latched onto a ball from midfield before firing past goalkeeper Li Wei with a crisp shot from the edge of the area.

From then on the Chinese challenge faded, and the Yugoslavs - with Mijatovic increasingly influential - enjoyed more of the play.

Thursday's match was the second meeting between the two side this year. Yugoslavia won a friendly in Belgrade 1-0 earlier this year.

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See also:

22 May 00 | Yugoslavia
Boskov looks to overseas stars
20 May 00 | Yugoslavia
Dudic signs for Benfica
16 May 00 | Yugoslavia
Boskov feels the heat
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