SHANGHAI: Marcello Lippi will face fresh scrutiny after his insipid China side were held to a stale 1-1 home draw by 99th-ranked Palestine in a friendly on Tuesday (Nov 20). With less than 50 days until the Asian Cup in the UAE, China’s failure to defeat the Palestinians will trigger another spasm of soul-searching about the perennially underachieving national side. China, 75th in the FIFA rankings, went ahead when defender Feng Xiaoting popped up with a towering header from a set piece on nine minutes on the southern island of Hainan. But Lippi’s men retreated deeper and deeper in the second half and paid the price just after the hour when Alexis Norambuena found himself in space inside the box for the visitors. Half the Chinese defence moved up to play offside, but the other half did not, leaving Norambuena all alone to slip the ball coolly under Yan Junling. The 70-year-old Italian World Cup winner Lippi looks set to retire after January’s Asian Cup, but his hopes of leaving football on a high look as remote as ever as China again failed to fire. Xi Jinping, China’s football-fan president, wants China to host a World Cup and become a major force in international football. But under Lippi, reportedly one of the best-paid coaches in football, China have won just one of their last five matches and are ranked a rung below war-torn Syria.