Sat, Nov 17, 2018 - Page 16 News List

Taiwan fall 2-0 to N Korea, HK advance

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

Taiwan yesterday lost 2-0 in a battle with East Asian Football Federation Championship favorites North Korea, with the result sending Hong Kong, who crushed Mongolia 5-1 earlier in the day, to the top of the group and advancing to the next round.

Due to the outcome of the afternoon match, North Korea faced the hosts in the evening match at Taipei Municipal Stadium knowing that they had to win by at least three goals to win the group and advance, but Taiwan’s defense and goalkeeper Pan Wen-chieh kept the visitors scoreless in the first half.

North Korea were on the offensive with urgency throughout the contest, as Pan was kept busy making saves.

Three minutes after the intermission, North Korea striker Jong Il-gwan fired in a shot to open the account and his teammates kept up the pressure in search of a second goal.

They were rewarded in the 73rd minute, when Jang Kuk-chol latched onto a cross following a free-kick to score past Pan.

In the final 20 minutes of the match, North Korea pressed forward and fought for every possession in search of another goal, but Taiwan’s defense held firm to deny them.

In the afternoon contest, Hong Kong scored two goals in the first half before trouncing Mongolia 5-1 to wrap up their final match.

Brazilian-born striker Sandro scored once in each half, while Jaimes McKee slotted in the ball near the goal mouth and Festus Baise also netted for Hong Kong during a scramble inside the box.

Spanish-born Dani Cancela then received a pass from midfielder Wong Wai and bounced his shot off the post to round out the performance for Hong Kong.

Narmandakh Artag scored on a header in the 50th minute, ensuring that Mongolia would not get shut out. They have scored a goal in each of their three matches.

In a post-game interview, Mongolia head coach Hans Michael Weiss said they could have made it a close game with a second goal, but squandered their chances and Hong Kong took advantage to add the late goals.

“It was frustrating, because we did not seize our opportunities, while our defense and goalkeeper made mistakes, and they got punished to concede more goals in the second half,” Weiss said.

It is good for Mongolia’s players to gain valuable international experience at this tournament, he said.

“Mongolia football is making progress, but we are still not at this level of competition. Coming here to face the strong East Asian teams, it is like a cultural shock for our team — now they know the need to catch up,” Weiss said. “We have a good core of players for our U21 and U23 teams, so in two to four years, Mongolia will develop better to play at this level.”

Hong Kong head coach Gary White praised his team for the all-around outstanding display.

“All credit goes to our players. They have the energy, the passion and the good efforts to take this win... We knew this game will be more open and have more space, so we have to pick up the opposition’s play and try to control the pace,” White said.

He also applauded the performance of his goalkeeper, Yapp Hung-fai.

“The team depended on Yapp, and he made the big saves at the key moments. This is why we consider Yapp one of the best goalkeepers in Asia,” White said.

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