Tue, Mar 25, 2008 - Page 18 News List

Expat side wins title in last game showdown

STAFF WRITER

Taipei FC's Omar Malcolm is beaten to the ball by an unidentified Fritz FC player during their BML clash in Taipei on Sunday.

PHOTO COURTESY OF MICHAEL BROOKHART

Taipei City FC became the first expat team in 16 years to win the BML title when they defeated Fritz FC 2-1 in a thrilling final match of the season on Sunday at Bai Lin Bridge in Taipei.

Heading into Sunday's showdown, played out in front of approximately 100, mostly expat, fans, Fritz topped the league by three points from City with both teams level on goal difference.

A win or draw would be enough for Fritz to retain the title they had won for the past three seasons whereas nothing less than victory would do for City.

Not surprisingly both teams made a nervous start but after an edgy opening quarter of an hour City settled, gaining the upper hand in terms of possession and starting to create goal-scoring opportunities.

The expat side piled on the pressure and broke the deadlock after 30 minutes when great work down the left by Ross Conlon resulted in a cross being parried out to the edge of the box. There to connect was Michael Christie who drove in a low accurate shot to put City one up.

Fritz reacted by starting to play the pass and move soccer for which they are renowned. This combined with the fact that City seemed to be content to sit on their lead meant that Fritz dominated the last 15 minutes of the half.

Quick one-two interchange passing and great movement caused City real problems and just before the stroke of half-time a low ball to the near post was met with a tidy finish by Fritz's Hsu Te-ming to make it 1-1.

The second half began with City turning up the pressure and upping the quality of their passing and their tenacity with Fritz drawn into committing themselves too far up the pitch and looking vulnerable on the break.

On 65 minutes a great through ball from John Phillips found Daniel Calvert running through on goal with just the on-rushing Fritz goalkeeper to beat. The Englishman pushed the ball to the right of the keeper, managing to round him, before slotting home with his left into an empty net.

The goal spurred Fritz to raise the level of their game and it took some fine work by the City midfield and defense to keep them at bay, with Tim Murphy particularly impressive.

City were finding it hard to find an outlet up field and Fritz could sense that the title was theirs to take.

Ball upon ball was played into the City penalty area with the last gasp defending getting more and more desperate.

In the final minute a perfect ball was delivered to the head of an onrushing Miao Chin-chung who headed the ball to the left of City goalkeeper Neil O'Maonaigh-Lennon.

It looked bound for the net but an amazing reflex save by the City keeper tipped the ball away and with it Fritz's title hopes.

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