While hosts Canada were busy drawing their way to the top spot in Group A at the 2015 Women’s World Cup, China and New Zealand were locked in what turned out to be one of the wilder and wackier games of the tournament thus far.
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Not only did China come back from a goal down, go a goal ahead themselves and then concede a semi-late equalizer, but this game also featured one of the worst refereeing decisions of the tournament — a dubious penalty decision for a non-handball — and silly sideline shenanigans between the two managers.
Rebekah Stott scored New Zealand’s first goal of the World Cup and put the Football Ferns ahead after 28 minutes, when she hammered home a loose ball following a corner kick. Wang Lisi equalized from the penalty four minutes before halftime, though replays strongly suggest the ball hit the defender’s chest and not an arm or hand.
Wang Shanshan put the Chinese ahead right on the hour mark, when she went up and bravely headed home from close range with the outrushing goalkeeper closing in quickly. The lead was short-lived, though, as Hannah Wilkinson’s side-volley from inside the six-yard box won New Zealand their second point of group stage, and more importantly, kept China (4 points) from topping Canada (5 points) for the top spot in Group A.
During the game’s final minutes, Chinese manager Hao Wei appeared to make contact with an opposing player on the sideline, which did not sit well with his opposite number, Tony Readings, who after the game refused to shake the hand of Hao Wei, who was shown a red card off for his failed time-wasting tactic.