Taiwan’s national soccer team were handed a bitter 0-1 defeat as visitors the Solomon Islands turned a successful penalty shot in the first half into an international friendly victory at the Taipei Municipal Stadium yesterday.
Taiwan’s frontline attackers — Li Mao, Chen Hao-wei and Onur Dogan — started the game with good passing combinations to pressure the Solomon Islands side.
Splitting the opposition defense in the 15th minute, Dogan hit a low shot into the net — as the more than 2,000 home fans roared — only to have the linesman flag Taiwan for offside and annul the goal.
Photo courtesy of the Chinese Taipei Football Association
In the 40th minute, Taiwan defender Wang Ruei was marking Solomon Islands forward Joses Nawo on the edge of the box, when Nawo was brushed in the back by Wang and tumbled in a heap.
The referee, saying Wang made a hard tackle, awarded the Solomon Islands a penalty kick, which captain Benjamin Totori dispatched into the net for a 1-0 lead.
Taiwan pushed forward at the start of the second half in search of an equalizer, but was unable to make good on several opportunities.
Five minutes into the second half, Chen found himself inside the box and drove a shot toward Solomon Islands goalkeeper Philip Mango, who deflected the ball, only to have it bounce agonizingly close to the goal post before rolling out of bounds.
In the 54th minute, Taiwan midfielder Will Donkin supplied the ball to Chen as he ran past his marker and into the box. Chen chipped over the stranded Mango, but it glanced the post and was cleared by the Solomon Islands defense.
In their attack two minutes later, Solomon Islands’ Totori blasted a low shot from the right side of the box, but Taiwan goalkeeper Pan Wen-chieh went down for the save.
In the 61st minute, Pan stopped a close-in shot from opposition striker Jerry Donga to keep Taiwan in the game.
Li should have netted the equalizer in the 68th minute, as midfielder Wen Chih-hao floated a long pass that found Li alone in the box and facing the Solomon Island goalkeeper up close, but his lob sailed over the crossbar.
In the 88th minute, Will Donkin supplied Li a soaring ball from the corner, but his header went just wide of the far post.
“It was a good match. There were good displays by players, and many chances for both sides,” Solomon Islands’ Moses Toata said. “We were lucky to come out on top with the win.”
“It was a closely contested game, and was very positive for our players,” said Taiwan head coach Louis Lancaster, who was left still searching for his first win with the national team. “We created many chances, but could not convert them.”
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