China aims to get off to winning start in AFC U-23 Championship
By Hu Shichen
Chinese football will be looking to get off to a winning start as the host nation of the AFC under-23 Championship. Chinese youngsters take on Oman Tuesday afternoon, hoping to impress first team coach Marcello Lippi who will be watching from the stands in Changzhou City, east China's Jiangsu Province.
The decorated Italian has been assisting boss Massimiliano Maddaloni in preparation for the tournament and will be keeping a keen eye on the likes of Beijing Guoan striker Wei Shihao and defender Deng Hanwen of Guangzhou Evergrande, both of whom have received recent call ups. 
Qatar and Uzbekistan round out China's Group A opponents in the 32 team tournament. Liu Ruofan of Shanghai Shenhua is the youngest member of the squad at 18 years of age with Evergrande's Deng the oldest as the only player at 23. If they are to progress, the hosts will be in quarter-final action on Jan. 19, and the final will be a week later.
Lippi (L) talks with Maddaloni. /VCG Photo

Lippi (L) talks with Maddaloni. /VCG Photo

"There are 28 players who have been taking part in the training process and the line-up will be selected from them according to their physical condition. Although we are in a tough group, I believe we will do our best and put on an exciting game for our home fans," said Massimiliano Maddaloni, coach of China U23 team.
China's opponent, the Hamad Al Azzani-coached Oman, defeated Iran 2-0 in their final Group A match in Kyrgyzstan. The result helped Oman, who had earlier defeated hosts Kyrgyzstan 5-1, to top the group and clinch a direct berth into the Asian Championship. 
The Sultanate's squad will face Qatar Friday before completing their group engagements against Uzbekistan on Monday.