A brace from Lin Chieh-hsun and a late winner by Tsai Shuo-che saw Taiwan rally from a goal down to edge Macau 3-2 in Guam yesterday and top the 2017 East Asian Cup first preliminary round qualifying group.
The victory gave Taiwan a perfect record at the Guam FA National Training Center in Dededo following their 8-1 victory over the Northern Mariana Islands on Thursday last week and the 2-0 win over Mongolia on Saturday.
Macau took a surprise lead in the eighth minute when Taiwan’s Chen Wei-chuan fouled Pang Chi Hang on the edge of the penalty area and Chan Man converted the resulting free-kick, although goalkeeper Chiu Yu-hung probably should have done better than to help push the ball into the back of the net.
Photo: courtesy of the Chinese Taipei Football Association
Taiwan dominated possession and got the equalizer in the 36th minute when some intricate passing on the left side of midfield released Lin, who ran through the center of the defense before coolly slotting past Ho Man Fai in the Macau goal.
Taiwan should have been ahead at halftime, but Tseng Chih-wei blasted over the top with the goal at his mercy in the 44th minute.
Wu Chun-ching then hit the post in the 57th minute as Taiwan continued to dominate and seven minutes later Lin sprang the offside trap to grab his second, the ball hitting both posts before nestling in the back of the net.
With Taiwan dominant and looking in control, Macau equalized out of nothing in the 77th minute when Chiu decided to come from a long-range free-kick, did not get enough distance on his punch and Macau substitute Lei Ka Him blasted the loose ball into the back of the unguarded net.
That set up a nervy finale for Taiwan, with Macau’s Lam Ka Seng and Teixeira Pereira both spurning openings in the final 10 minutes, before Lin’s cross from the left was headed into the top corner by Tsai in the 88th minute to seal the victory.
Taiwan finished top of the group and advance to the second preliminary round of qualifying from Nov. 5 to Nov. 18 along with Guam, Hong Kong and North Korea.
That competition is to be hosted in Taiwan, with winners of the four-team group joining hosts Japan, South Korea and China in the finals in December next year.
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