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Canberra, Jan 13 (IANS) A 12-year-old ball boy from Brisbane, Australia, could prove to be China’s secret weapon at this year’s AFC Asian Cup football tournament after he helped goalkeeper Wang Dalei save a penalty in their opening game victory over Saudi Arabia.
Stephen White was situated behind the goal China was defending in the second half of their 1-0 victory when Saudi Arabia were awarded a penalty Saturday night, reports Xinhua.
As Saudi Arabian striker Naif Hazazi prepared himself for the spot-kick, Chinese goalkeeper Wang sought inspiration from behind the goal.
“He asked if he should go left or right,” White told News Ltd., which reported the story Tuesday.
“I told him left, because that’s the way I always go in trying to predict where the ball will go.”
Wang dived left and saved Hazazi’s tame effort, helping China earn a crucial three points to start their tournament.
“I was very surprised,” White continued. “I was really excited when he saved it.”
As was Wang, who immediately pointed in the direction of the 12-year-old following his instinctive save.
The celebrations continued after the match, with Wang greeting White with a warm embrace at the final whistle.
White was invited to China’s training session Monday night ahead of their upcoming match against Uzbekistan in Brisbane Wednesday.
There, he was presented with the jersey worn by Wang over the weekend.
“China is now my second team at the tournament after the Socceroos (Australian national team),” White said.
The youngster will be back in action Tuesday, acting as the ball boy as Australia take on Oman.