Lijiang win inaugural Yunnan ethnic minorities football c'ship

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Wang noted that all but one of the Lijiang players are from the Naxi ethnic group. Wang formed the team in 307 along with assistant coach Li Chang and others.

Lijiang and Pu'er each topped their respective groups and competed for the championship title in the Chuxiong Yi Autonomous Prefecture stadium.

Behind the two finalists, Chuxiong defeated Honghe 4-2 on penalties after a 0-0 draw to take the tournament's bronze medal.

KUNMING, July 16 (Xinhua) -- Lijiang defeated Pu'er 5-2 to win the inaugural football tournament for ethnic minorities of Yunnan on Tuesday.

Into the second half, Pu'er were eager to take the game to their opponents, but it was Lijiang who scored two more goals to make the final score 5-2.

Lijiang started as they meant to go on and took the lead in the eighth minute, only to see Pu'er equalize almost immediately. Some more incisive attacking from both sides saw Lijiang take a 3-2 lead into half-time.

"We have been preparing for this competition for a month, so we are very happy today. We are proud to participate in the football competition for ethnic minorities," said Lijiang coach Wang Weiping, who added that the tournament not only promoted football skills and tactics, but also enhanced the exchange of cultures between different regions and ethnic groups of Yunnan.

Jointly organized by the Yunnan Provincial Sports Bureau and the China Football Development Foundation, the tournament opened in mid-March, and featured a total of 514 teams and 13,091 players participating. A total of 1,130 games were watched by more than 30,000 people.

"We all like to play football. It's a bit difficult to play in Lijiang now, because there are so many people playing here," Wang said.

After their victory, Lijiang's players celebrated on the sidelines with a traditional dance from the Naxi ethnic group.