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Sydney to host virus-hit China’s Olympic football qualifier

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By Agence France-Presse

China will play the “home” second leg of their Olympic women’s football qualifier against South Korea in Sydney, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) said Friday, after the deadly coronavirus made it impossible to hold the match in China.

This file photo taken on October 10, 2019 shows a fan waving the Chinese national flag as others cheer during the World Cup 2022 qualifier football match between China and Guam in Guangzhou. (Photo by STR / AFP)

This file photo taken on October 10, 2019, shows a fan waving the Chinese national flag as others cheer during the World Cup 2022 qualifier football match between China and Guam in Guangzhou. (Photo by STR / AFP)

The game, which will decide qualification for the Tokyo Olympics, will be staged at Campbelltown Stadium on March 11, with the first leg in South Korea on March 6.

“The winners of the two-legged playoff will seal their place in the Tokyo Olympics alongside hosts Japan and winners from the other play-off match, which sees Australia take on Vietnam on the same dates,” the AFC said in a statement.

Sports in China have ground to a halt because of the coronavirus, which emerged in the central city of Wuhan in December and has killed more than 2,200 people, mostly in China.

China’s women’s team reached the playoffs after coming through undefeated in three matches in a qualifying tournament in Australia this month, having first spent a week in quarantine in Brisbane.

The competition was initially scheduled to be held in Wuhan.

A raft of sports tournaments have been postponed or cancelled in China, the most prominent being Shanghai’s Formula One Grand Prix on April 19.

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