Sat, Sep 08, 2018 - Page 16 News List

Taiwan hand White perfect send-off with 2-0 win

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

Taiwan’s Li Mao, right, goes past Malaysia goalkeeper Mohd Farizal Marlias in their international friendly at the Taipei Municipal Stadium yesterday.

Photo: Ritchie B. Tongo, EPA

Taiwan yesterday gave the perfect send-off to English head coach Gary White in his final game in charge with a 2-0 victory over Malaysia in their international friendly at the Taipei Municipal Stadium.

When the referee blew his whistle at the end of the match, the Taiwan players surrounded White and his fellow assistant coaches from England, sharing warm embraces, while the fans also stood to thank White for a job well done.

The match started out tentatively for both sides, as a late afternoon thunderstorm drenched the pitch, leaving it water-logged, slowing the pace of the game.

Taiwan gradually began to impose their game on the opposition and it paid off when they scored the opening goal in the 13th minute.

Striker Li Mao sent a penetrating pass to captain Chen Po-liang, who rushed inside the penalty area where he was felled by two Malaysia defenders.

The ball rolled to Chen’s left, where midfielder Wu Chun-ching had pushed up in support, and Wu reacted quickly to fire a low shot into the net.

The hosts started the second half strongly, pushing forward and threatening the opposition goal.

Less than 10 minutes into the second half, Li was the provider once more when he delivered a precise pass to fellow striker Onur Dogan, who made no mistake by lashing his shot past Malaysia goalkeeper Mohd Farizal Marlias.

Malaysia tried to fight back, but squandered the numerous opportunities they created, with Taiwan goalkeeper Pan Wen-chieh equal to the task.

“It was unfortunate that we lost by two goals... but the wet field made the conditions difficult and we were not able to play our usual game,” Malaysia coach Tan Cheng Hoe said.

In his final post-match news conference, White praised his players, then implored Taiwan to invest in a professional league.

“This has been one of the most amazing years of my life. The players worked hard and we have won seven games in a row at home. It has been a great achievement, because we have faced many tough opponents,” White said. “Taiwan should have a professional league, so all these players can play professionally, earn a salary and improve their level, but right now most of them are playing at amateur level and that is impeding Taiwan’s soccer progress.”

White is reportedly leaving Taiwan this week to become head coach of Hong Kong.

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