Hualien City on Saturday clinched this year’s Taiwan Mulan Football League title with one game to spare, by beating Taichung Blue Whale 2-1 at Fu Jen Catholic University in New Taipei City.
Hualien City have scored 38 points this season. Blue Whale are second on the scoreboard with 30 points, while Taipei Bravo are third with 23 points. One final round of matches is to be played on Saturday.
It is the fourth league trophy for Hualien City, and ends Blue Whale’s three-year winning streak. Hualien had won the title from 2014 to 2016.
Photo courtesy of CTFA
Both teams defended well, leaving few chances in front of goal through most of the first half, although Blue Whale squandered several good opportunities inside the final third.
In the 42nd minute, attacking midfielder Lin Kai-ling duped the opposition by shooting with her left foot and sent the ball sailing over goalkeeper Lin Yi-han’s hands into the net.
After halftime, Blue Whale picked up the pace, with midfielders Michelle Pao and Lee Hsiu-chin supporting the two forwards up front, but they could not break through Hualien’s back line.
In the 71st minute, Blue Whale goalkeeper Lin fumbled under pressure from Hualien striker Lin Hsiao-yun, which resulted in a goal-mouth scramble, and defender Chen Ya-hui slotted the ball into the goal, taking the score to 2-0.
Pao was active throughout the match, but Hualien’s defenders marked her closely.
In added time, Pao passed a long shot to striker Tsan Pi-han, who scored Blue Whale’s consolation goal, ending the game at 2-1.
“Our coaches encouraged us to take shots from outside, when getting into a good position,” Lin Kai-ling said after the game. “I got the ball and changed from my right to the left, and got past the defender, then I went for a shot from there... Before the game, I had thought about trying to score, and I am very happy I got the goal to help our team to clinch the title.”
Earlier on Saturday, Inter Taoyuan FC’s Ting Chi, a Taiwan national squad regular, scored on either side of halftime against Kaohsiung Sunny Bank.
Sunny Bank forward Wu Ching-kai scored her team’s only goal before halftime, while Taoyuan’s Chen Yen-ping took the final score to 3-1 in added time.
In Hang Yuan FC’s 2-1 win against Taipei Bravo, Fan Yu-hsuan and Chiang Chia-chen scored, while Taipei Bravo’s Su Hsin-yun scored in the second half, but it was not enough.
In the Taiwan Football Premier League yesterday, the top three teams — Taichung Futuro, Taipower FC and Taiwan Steel — all won their matches, taking them to a three-way tie atop the table at 33 points each.
Taichung Futuro routed National Taiwan University of Sport 4-0, while Taipower edged Tatung FC 1-0.
Taiwan Steel routed Ming Chuan University 4-1, and Hang Yuan FC drew 2-2 against Red Lions FC.
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