Taiwan Steel on Sunday defeated Hang Yuan 3-1 to clinch the Taiwan Football Premier League (TFPL) title with a match to spare after Taipower were held to a 1-1 draw by National University of Sport.
The victory saw Tainan achieve the rare achievement of being “double champions” after the Uni-President Lions baseball team won the CPBL championship earlier this month against the CTBC Brothers.
Turks and Caicos striker Marc Fenelus powered a header into the top corner to give the league leaders an early lead over Hang Yuan in New Taipei City.
Photo courtesy of the CTFA
Just before the hour mark, Hang Yuan defender Hsu Yi fouled Haitian forward Benchy Astama inside the penalty area and the referee awarded Taiwan Steel a spot-kick.
Fenelus blasted the ball past goalkeeper Huang Chou-lin to notch his 18th goal of the season, before turning provider in the 67th minute, hitting a cross-field pass to Astama on the right, who turned his markers and drove a fierce shot into the top-left corner.
With the clock winding down, Hang Yuan poured forward and Tsou Yu-chieh grabbed a consolation following a goalmouth scramble, but they were unable to rein in the new champions.
“We did have problems earlier this season, but our team has consolidated to have better cohesion, especially the interplay between the foreign and Taiwanese players. That was important for us to be able to claim the title,” Taiwan Steel manager Lo Chih-chong said.
Taipower held on to second place after rallying for a point against National University of Sport in Taichung.
Speedy winger Chen Chun-ting put the hosts in front when he raced into the penalty area and smashed a shot into the Taipower net.
However, Taipower mounted a typical late comeback when, from a corner in stoppage-time, forward Chen Chao-an pounced on the loose ball to slot home.
Tatung remained fourth by edging Ming Chuan University 2-1 in Taoyuan, with Ivorian striker Ange Samuel netting either side of halftime.
Midfielder Li Po-yu pulled a goal back with a glancing header in the 76th minute, but Tatung’s defense held on for the victory.
South Korean striker Joo Ik-seong netted a hat-trick to assure Taichung Futuro of third place with a 4-0 victory over the Red Lions in Taipei.
Futuro’s Yoshitaka Komori scored his first goal of the season in the 25th minute, then Joo took over.
The South Korean scored a penalty shortly after halftime, before rifling in a long-range free-kick in the 72nd minute.
He sealed the hat-trick when two Red Lions defenders failed to clear a cross and gifted the ball to Joo, who made no mistake with the finish.
Joo’s hat-trick puts him level with Tatung’s Samuel on 19 goals in the race for the Golden Boot, with Taiwan Steel’s Fenelus just one goal behind.
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