The EAFF E-1 FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP 2017 ROUND 1 GUAM Men’s tournament opened up at the GFA National Training Center in Guam with the match between Macau and Mongolia.
It was a game of two halves, with Macau playing dynamic football and prevailing in the first 45 minutes, while stamina and physical strength earned Mongolia a well deserved tie in the second half.
The game was eventful from the very beginning, when Ariunbold Batsaikhan displayed a world-class save to deny a direct free kick by Ka Hang Leong in the 3rd minute.
In the 9th minute a cross into the Macanese box was stopped by Felipe Cordero Duarte’s arm. Referee Woo Sung Kim had no hesitation and pointed concede the penalty. Mongolian League’s MVP Bayarjargal Oyunbat proceeded to give the lead to Mongolia with a precise drive from the spot.
Macau seemed however the better organised team. Iao San Tam’s men made very good use of their quick wingers, with crosses flying in from both ends, and in two occasions such crosses were meet by headers that hit the post.
The Macanese finally got the deserved equalizer as Leong blasted a shot from just inside the penalty area in the 38th minute. And just before the end of the half Macau took the lead, courtesy of a header by Cordero Duarte off a cross from Chi Hang Pang.
In the 63rd minute once again a cross into the Macanese area was stopped with a hand, this time by Chi Kin Lei, and the referee conceded a second penalty. Again it was impeccably scored by Bayarjargal with a powerful shot that set the match on the 2-2 score.
With both teams tiring, the remaining half-hour resulted in very few chances as Macau and Mongolia seemed happy with one point each in this opening game.
Macau - Felipe Cordero Duarte(#14, scored one goal)
“In the first half we did very well, we pressed, we held possession, but unfortunately for us I conceded the penalty. Still we kept playing our football and we scored two goals before the end of the half. In the second half it was really too hot, I know this is true for both teams, but for us it was really hard, they are stronger physically.
“I was really relieved when I scored the goal, because the first penalty we conceded was my fault. Now we hope for a good result in the next game, and then we’ll see what happens in the third and last match.”
Macau - Iao San Tam(Coach)
“First of all I want to thank my players, they worked very hard from the beginning to the end. It was very hot, and we are not used to playing on an artificial pitch. We gave away two penalties, and I respect the decision of the referee… So 2-2 was the final result, we now need to look ahead to the next match. We play every game to win, our target is to qualify for the next round.”
Mongolia - Bayarjargal Oyunbat(#14, scored two goals)
“The first half was very difficult, it was really hot. In the second half we got used to it and I believe we played well. Three quarters of the members were new players, mostly from the club that won the Mongolian League in the past season, but we are very well coached and we played several training matches, so in the end we could do well.
“It was the first time I scored in a tournament, I am very happy. Now we need to keep playing how we did in the second half, and win the next two matches”.
Mongolia - Battulga Zorigt(Coach)
“It was the first game, and we all wanted to get three points out of it, but though we had the opportunities to win we could not. We will have to win the next games, then.
“We have a lot of young players, we are building a team for the future. I was here two years ago as assistant coach in Guam when we lost, now we want to get over those bad memories.
“Today we played a good second half, and we need to keep that spirit in the next two games”.
By Cesare Polenghi (twitter