Sun, Mar 30, 2008 - Page 24 News List

Taipei City give Taiwan a good run for their money

By Tony Phillips  /  STAFF REPORTER

An unidentified Taiwan national team player pulls the shirt of an unidentified Taipei City player during their friendly at Bailing Bridge in Taipei yesterday.

PHOTO: LIU HSIN-DE, TAIPEI TIMES

Taiwan completed their preparations for their AFC Challenge Cup qualifying games with a 3-0 victory over BML champions Taipei City at Bailing Bridge in Taipei yesterday evening.

The expat side made a good impression early on as both teams created scoring chances. However, on 15 minutes, Taipower striker Chiang Shih-lu struck a spectacular left foot shot from outside the penalty area into the roof of the net to put Taiwan ahead.

The goal failed to rattle City and both sides continued to press forward, Taiwan playing quick passing interchanges and the expats relying more on the long ball.

Taiwan's attacks down the flanks looked increasingly dangerous and it was only some desperate defending that kept the national side's lead to just the one goal.

The expats managed to rally toward the end of the half, with Omar Malcolm's long throws into the box causing Taiwan some difficulties, but it was the national side who had the last chance of the half, albeit a tame poke that was easily saved by City keeper Neil O'Maonaigh-Lennon.

Taiwan started the second half strongly, with a long shot flying past O'Maoanaigh-Lennon's left post and Chiang missing a good chance after a cross from the right by Tsai Sheng-an.

The goal scorer made amends moments later when his left foot shot beat the keeper to put Taiwan two up after 53 minutes.

Taiwan took increasing control with Chiang again going close after a break down the left and a dangerous cross from the right by Liang Chien-wei was just hooked away by City's Matt Wharton on the hour mark.

Two-goal Chiang now had his tail up, trying another long range shot which flew over the bar.

Still, City threatened sporadically and had an appeal for a penalty turned down when Canadian striker Steven Raymond was bundled over in the penalty area.

Taiwan continued to stream forward and Lo Chih-en almost made it three, but he could only put his shot wide of the post.

Soon after Lo headed a good chance straight at substitute keeper Sam Ellis following good work down the right by Liang. It was third time unlucky for City in the 75th minute though, when Lo broke down the middle holding off the City defense before slotting a left foot shot into the bottom left corner of the net.

There was a worrying moment for Taiwan when striker Chiang went down following a challenge late in the game. Fortunately he was able to get to his feet after treatment, albeit gingerly.

City made a last effort to get on the score sheet when Ross Conlon delivered a good cross from the left, which was cleared. From the ensuing corner Daniel Calvert made impressive contact with a header only to see it fly straight at the Taiwan keeper.

The final whistle blew soon after, with both sides able to be satisfied with their performances. Taiwan can take heart from the win ahead of their AFC Challenge Cup games and City can hold their heads high, having given the national side a run for their money.

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