GUANGZHOU, South China, June 7 (Xinhua) -- Li Ke became the first naturalized footballer played for China as the hosts beat the Philippines 2-0 in an international friendly match here on Friday.
Li started for China and played a quality 55 minutes on his debut. The 26-year-old midfielder received laud applause from some 40,000 spectators.
The London-born former England youth player was named Nico Yennaris before joining Chinese Club Beijing Guo'an. He changed his nationality and became the first ever naturalized footballer in China.
It was also the first match of Marcello Lippi's second spell of China's head coach. The Italian kept his promise to build a new team by debuting four players in the team.
China controlled the ball well and dominated the whole match. Wu Xi stretched for Li Lei's cross to open the scoring for China in the 14th minute. Zhang Xizhe dribbled past the keeper to double the lead and clinched the victory for the home side. Wang Ziming missed the chance to make it 3-0 as his shot hit the post in the 89th minute.