September 6th 2018 was the third and last day of the EAFF E-1 Football Championship 2019 Round 1 Mongolia men’s tournament, and the afternoon match had the Northern Mariana Islands facing off against Macao.
The Macanese started with a fast and aggressive game, but they ran right into an organized North-ern Mariana Islands team who defended well and took advantage of every opportunity to counterat-tack.
The Macanese to took the lead in the 20th minute after the islanders lost control of the ball after making poor use of a midfield free kick. The ball was quickly passed to LEONG Ka Hang, who picked up speed on the right and beat his opponent on the run. From inside the box he parked the ball on the far post to score his second goal of the tournament.
Far from being demoralized, the Northern Mariana Islanders fought on and in the 33th minute, TENORIO Sunjoon Perry Kim’s quick sprint down the right flank of the penalty area positioned him perfectly to receive a pass that he immediately converted into the equalizer with a precise diagonal shot.
In the 36th, 37th and 40th minute LEONG, who has been carrying Macao’s attack, tried three times to re-establish his team’s lead. Twice his shots went wide, and on the third chance his header lacked power and was easily blocked by ANINZO Christopher Dela Rosa.
Macau pressed hard during the second half, but the Northern Mariana Islands held their own. The Islanders created a few chances such as in the 59th minute, when TENORIO’s shot could have given them an unexpected lead.
Two minutes later Macau was pressing an offensive advantage, but GALARION Hark Joshua Ibanez cleared two shots in a matter of seconds that had beaten the keeper and saved the match.
In their attempt to claim victory, Macau added attacking power by subbing in GOIS FERNANDES Carlos Leonel, who had scored the Macao’s only goal against Mongolia in the first game.
But despite continue attack, the Northern Mariana Islands team held on, almost winning the game via a great volley by TAKANO Jonathan Jones in the 85th minute, only to be denied by a great dive by LO Weng Hou.
NMI Manager MITA Michiteru:
“I want to congratulate with our players, coaching staff and supporters. This point is very important for us, it feels like we won.”
Macao Manager IONG Cho Ieng:
“For this tournament, we had some young players who just graduated from the U18 team, and I think it was a very good experience for them.”
NMI 15. TENORIO Sunjoon Perry Kim:
“It was my first goal with the national team, I am only 17. I think the Macau’s defenders thought the goalkeeper was coming out, maybe it was their mistake, bit it is OK, we will take it. The ball came to me and I just took a touch in.”
Macao 11. LAM Ka Seng:
“We had the chances but we could not score, we were a bit unlucky, but it is OK. This is football.”