June 16, 2015 / 1:38 AM / 4 years ago

Dubious penalty helps China tie New Zealand and move on

Jun 15, 2015; Winnipeg, Manitoba, CAN; China PR players react after a goal by midfielder Wang Lisi on a penalty kick against New Zealand in the first half of a Group A soccer match in the 2015 FIFA women's World Cup at Winnipeg Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports

(Reuters) - China, helped by a dubious penalty, tied New Zealand 2-2 in an entertaining women’s World Cup Group A game on Monday and qualified for the next stage along with hosts Canada.

China ended the group stage on four points, one behind Canada, and tied with the Netherlands on the same goal difference. China secured second place because they scored one more goal than the Dutch.

New Zealand went ahead in the 28th minute when Rebekah Stott lashed home a shot from close range but the game turned in the 41st minute after the Hungarian referee wrongly ruled that New Zealand defender Ria Percival had handled the ball.

Replays clearly showed the ball hit Percival in the stomach. Wang Lisi converted the spot kick and China then took the lead in the 60th minute when Wang Shanshan scored with a close range header.

Hannah Wilkinson equalized in the 64th minute but New Zealand - who have never won a World Cup game - could not score again despite heavy pressure.

Reporting by David Ljunggren. Editing by Steve Keating.

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