Scoreboard leaders Hualien City and second-ranked Taichung Blue Whale won their Taiwan Mulan Football League matches on Saturday, with five points now separating them, while Hang Yuan FC and Inter Taoyuan finished with a scoreless draw.
In the first match, Hualien City beat Kaohsiung Sunny Bank 3-0 to maintain their winning streak this season.
Striker Tan Wen-lin opened the account in the 38th minute by slotting the ball into an empty net, as there was confusion between Kaohsiung goalkeeper Lee Ya-ting and the defense.
Photo courtesy of the CTFA
In the 70th minute, Lin Hsiao-yun took possession during a scramble inside goal area, and curved a shot inside the far post.
Two minutes later, striker Wu Shih-ping scored on a header, taking her season tally to 16 goals.
Wu is the league’s top scorer, just one goal ahead of Taichung Blue Whale’s Michelle Pao.
Pao took to the field against Taipei Bravo in the second match of the day, but did not score.
After only the first minute of play, Blue Whale defender Lai Wei-ju drilled the ball home from short range, taking her team into the lead.
Midfield dynamo Pao posed a danger in leading the offense, and in the 37th minute she broke through the opposition’s defense, sending a long cross-field pass to the edge of the goal area.
The ball reached striker Lai Li-chin, who doubled Blue Whale’s lead by firing a half-volley into the top corner of the net.
Taipei Bravo got back into the game nine minutes into the second half. Midfielder Lin Hsin-hui surged up from the right flank, delivering a cross, which forward Su Hsin-yun headed into the goal, reducing their deficit to 2-1.
Taipei Bravo missed some chances in search of an equalizer, but Blue Whale were closest to finding the net, especially with Pao directing the attack.
However, Bravo goalkeeper Hsu Yuan-ting made some crucial saves to prevent any more goals from being scored.
“We still have a chance of seizing the title, and our aim is to win all three remaining matches, but I want my players to enjoy their games,” Blue Whale manager Lu Kuei-hua said.
“We know that Hualien City have been outstanding this season ... and it will be difficult to overtake them, but our team will challenge them to the end,” Lu said.
“We had a good start to the game, but after 10 minutes our rhythm was disrupted by the opposition and we kept on losing possession,” Lu said. “Our team settled down and found good chances in the second half ... which enabled us to prevail.”
In the third match, hosts Hang Yuan FC piled on the pressure against Inter Taoyuan, with about 300 boisterous fans showing their support at Fu Jen Catholic University in New Taipei City.
Hang Yuan forwards had their chances in front of goal, but Inter Taoyuan’s centerback Pitsamai Sornsai from Thailand showed solid defense, teaming up well with goalkeeper Chu Fang-yi to hold them to a 0-0 draw.
The national cricket body (CTCSA) yesterday presented plans to develop the sport in Taiwan, with hints that an Asian Games bid might be on the horizon. At a luncheon at the Orient Luxury Hotel in Chiayi City, CTCSA chairman Lu Jia-hong presented plans the association has to build cricket grounds in Yunlin County’s Mailiao Township. The CTCSA said that the assistance of expat teams in Taiwan was crucial to its plans. Taiwan has upward of 13 cricket clubs, but only one dedicated ground — the Yingfeng Cricket Ground in Taipei’s Songshan District. Lu said that the association is focused on gaining Asian Cricket Council
‘HUGE MISTAKE’: Boris Johnson pledged to support any effort to stop the breakaway league, while UEFA’s president said that the teams involved still had time to back out FIFA president Gianni Infantino yesterday said that breakaway European Super League clubs cannot be “half in, half out” of the established soccer system, while Real Madrid president Florentino Perez insisted he is trying to “save football” with the move. European soccer’s governing body UEFA has threatened to ban the 12 clubs, who include Manchester United and Real Madrid, from domestic and international competition, with Infantino adding his voice to the backlash. “We strongly disapprove ... if some go their own way then they must live with the consequences of their choice, either you are in, or you are out. You cannot be
TEAM ‘RESET’: Although it remains to be seen if Messi’s seventh Copa del Rey will be his last with Barca, the win has helped the team find its footing amid uncertainty Lionel Messi on Saturday scored twice, including a stunning solo goal, as Barcelona blew away Athletic Bilbao to win the Copa del Rey, consigning their opponents to a second final defeat in two weeks. The cup was won and lost in a whirlwind 12 minutes in Seville, which saw Barca score four times to clinch an emphatic 4-0 victory, with Messi at his devastating best. It remains to be seen if his seventh Copa del Rey triumph is the last trophy Messi lifts in Barcelona colors, but if this was to be a final flourish, the 33-year-old crafted a fitting farewell. “It’s very
‘CYNICAL PROJECT’: La Liga president Javier Tebas compared the 12 clubs to drunks leaving a bar at 5am ‘intoxicated with selfishness and a lack of solidarity’ Twelve of Europe’s most powerful clubs yesterday announced the launch of a breakaway European Super League (ESL) in a potentially seismic shift in the way soccer is run, but faced accusations of greed and cynicism. Six English Premier League teams — Liverpool, Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur — are involved, alongside Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, Juventus, Inter and AC Milan. The ESL said the founding clubs had agreed to create a “new midweek competition,” but would continue to “compete in their respective national leagues.” It said it hoped the inaugural edition would start “as soon as practicable.” Three more