Fri, Mar 13, 2015 - Page 20 News List

Misfiring Taiwan beaten by Brunei

TOUGH LOSS:The national side’s first 2018 World Cup qualifying match ended in disappointment with Brunei scoring a spectacular, albeit comical, goal for the win

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

Brunei’s Adi Said, top right, heads the ball into the goal off a long lob to beat Taiwan goalkeeper Chiu Yu-hung in the first half of their 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier in Kaohsiung last night.

Photo: Chang Chung-yi, Taipei Times

Taiwan squandered many chances in front of the goal and were hit with a sucker punch last night as Brunei grabbed a 1-0 victory in front of about 6,000 fans at the National Stadium in Kaohsiung in the first leg of their 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier.

Brunei won the game on a goal from a speculative lob almost from the halfway line in the first half, recalling the famous Nayim last-minute goal for Real Zaragoza against Arsenal two decades ago in the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup final.

Despite pulling out all the stops in an effort to equalize, Taiwan could not find the back of the net and grudgingly had to settle for the loss.

The home side started the match showing more intent to go for the win, but were repeatedly repelled by Brunei’s tight defensive line.

Taiwan created early chances from two corner kicks, but the defenders were quicker to react and clear the ball.

After 25 minutes Lee Jian-liang blasted a shot which Brunei goalkeeper Mohd Yusof Wardun was alert enough to smother.

Taiwan almost scored after 32 minutes when Li Mao chased down a through-ball between two defenders, but he scuffed his weak drive.

Disaster struck for the hosts four minutes later in a most unexpected fashion.

A Brunei player sent a speculative high cross toward Taiwan’s goal from the right and when the ball dropped into the area, forward Adi Said was there to head past Taiwan goalkeeper Chiu Yu-hung.

The spectacular goal closely resembled Nayim’s famous lob from just inside the Arsenal half in the dying seconds of 1994-1995 Cup Winners’ Cup final, when the former Tottenham Hotspur player famously embarrassed Arsenal and England goalkeeper David Seaman.

Chiu’s somewhat comical flailing attempt to tip the ball away also failed, but the defenders were also at fault as they failed to deal with the forward when he strayed into the area.

Taiwan knew they had to go all out to get an equalizer in front of the home crowd and manager Chen Kuei-jen used all three substitutions to replace midfielders with more attack-minded players.

The hosts came close at the start of second half when Ko Yu-ting sent Chen Hao-wei clear on the right, but his low shot was blocked by the goalkeeper.

The hosts were showing more urgency in the second half, as it was all one-way traffic, but wayward passes and misdirected shots cost Taiwan dearly.

Captain Chen Po-liang directed many of the attacking plays and had a number of good chances, but could not produce the desired result.

Taiwan created their last opportunity in the final minute when Wen Chih-hao sent Chen Po-liang through one-on-one with the goalkeeper, but his shot was cleared by a backtracking Brunei defender.

Taiwan could also point to some unfavorable decisions after Chen Po-liang was upended inside the penalty area either side of halftime, but their appeals were waved away by the referee.

The second leg is scheduled for Tuesday at the Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah Stadium in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei.

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