Taiwan Steel on Sunday celebrated with the Taiwan Football Premier League trophy, despite a 3-1 loss in their final match of the season, while Taipower claimed second place and Tatung’s Ange Samuel scored on a breakaway to claim the Golden Boot with 20 goals.
Ahead of all four of Sunday’s matches players, coaches and fans observed a minute’s silence prior to kickoff in honor of Argentine great Diego Maradona, who died aged 60 on Wednesday last week, following a directive received from FIFA.
Already assured the title, Taiwan Steel manager Lo Chi-chong fielded a second-string team against defending champions Tatung in Taoyuan.
Photo courtesy of the CTFA
Lo used Chen Wei-jen as a lone striker, while leading scorer Marc Fenelus was moved into a midfield role. Third-choice goalkeeper Jiang Zhi-hsien was also given a start.
Tatung opened the scoring ahead of the half-hour mark when midfielder Huang Wei-min burst inside and blasted into the net, before Fenelus equalized five minutes later with a powerful header for his 19th goal of the season.
Burkinabe forward Ben Ouedraogo scored on a breakaway for Tatung a few minutes after halftime, before Ivorian striker Samuel beat the off-side trap and slotted past Jiang to wrap up the victory and end Taiwan Steel’s 12-match winning streak.
“It has been a long campaign and consistency in our performances is the main reason we won the title,” Taiwan Steel skipper Wu Chun-ching said after receiving the trophy. “Our team signed several top-level players ... but early in the season we had setbacks and did not get the desired results. In the second half of the season we had more solid teamwork, and were much better in transition from defense to offense, so we went on the winning streak and became league champions.”
“In the early months, some of the new acquisitions would not cooperate with their teammates, playing their own way, so without teamwork our performances suffered,” Lo said. “We asked them to communicate better and drilled them on the tactics, and they gradually let go of the self-centered play. It was the main reason we improved from our early woes and won the title.”
Samuel’s goal was his 20th of the season, handing him the Golden Boot for the top scorer in front of Fenelus and Taichung Futuro’s South Korean striker Joo Ik-seong, who both scored 19.
Elsewhere, Taipower claimed second place by defeating Hang Yuan 3-1 in New Taipei City, while Futuro finished in third place, despite falling to a shock 1-0 loss to Ming Chuan University, who finished bottom and are relegated to the second division.
National University of Sport edged the Red Lions 2-1 in Hsinchu as they finished in sixth and seventh place respectively.
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