China beat South Korea 1:0 at a World Cup qualifier in the Chinese city of Changsha on Thursday night under heavy security, sending the stadium and the whole country into jubilance.
The victory means China has kept 2018 World Cup hopes alive.
More than 10,000 police officers were dispatched to guarantee the safety of the group match of the World Cup Asian qualifiers between China and South Korea in Changsha, capital of Central China’s Hunan Province.
Over 37,000 people went to the He Long Sports Centre to watch the game which kicked off at 7:35 pm. But only about 100 South Korean fans came to the stadium, and were surrounded by more than 100 security personnel to prevent any clashes with Chinese fans.
The Chinese national team had three defeats and two draws in its previous group matches. China lost the previous match against South Korea 2:3 six months ago in Seoul.
The Changsha game was played amid tensions between China and South Korea. The local security staff was on high alert for this match, as Sino-South Korean relationship has been strained by the deployment of the US-made Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system in South Korea. Chinese public started to boycott South Korean products due to the deployment of THAAD, so the angers among Chinese people toward South Korea added unpredictability to the security of the football game.
On Sina Weibo, the hashtag "Opposing South Korea begins from football" received 640,000 clicks before the match began.