September 7th was the last day of women’s matches for the EAFF E-1 Football Championship Round 1. The first match to take place at the MFF stadium in Ulaanbaatar was between Guam and Northern Mariana Islands.
With Mongolia already crowned as champions of the women tournament, the Guam and Northern Mariana Islands’ managers made lineup changes to give more players a chance to represent their national teams in an official tournament.
The game was hard fought, but it ended with no goals thanks the solid defense and goalkeeping on both sides.
The match was played primarily in the midfield, and in the first half there were only a few notable chances. CHOJNACKI Janelle blasted a shot over the bar, and on the other side a sharp cross by NADEN Colleen Tamagos would have scored if not for a save by ANIANA Emalyn Cortez.
In the 45th minute, GRIFFIN Gianna Long, one of the most impressive new faces in the women’s tournament, broke away on the left and unleashed a curved left drive, but CRUZ Jena Rochelle dived and deflect the ball.
A minute later a long ball from the right found NADEN dashing into the box. Though she managed to beat the goalkeeper, her volley went wide.
In the second half the teams gradually tired and there were even fewer opportunities to score. The biggest chance came from GRIFFIN, again with a run on the left and a low cross to CASTILLO Jeralyn Santiago in front of an open goal. Unfortunately, the striker was just a fraction of a second late and mis-kicked over the bar.
In the end it was a nil-nil result for two young teams that still have margins of improvement. However, they honored the tournament with their dedication and offered several moments of good football.
Guam Manager WILSON Belinda Elizabeth:
“It was a decent tournament. The weather is very different from Guam. We usually have 28 Celsius at home, but overall the competition was well-ran, and we have done as much as we could.
We are looking forward to our process of improvement, and we hope to come back stronger for the next tournament"
Northern Mariana Islands Manager KOO Luam Khen:
“The tournament was great. We are a young team and we need these kinds of opportunities to gain more experiences and to learn.
“The organizers here did a good job, it was great to come to Mongolia for a change.”
Guam captain 7. NADEN Colleen Tamagos:
“It has been a while since I got the chance to be captain for Guam, I spent many years as a player and it was great to finally wear this armband.
“Unfortunately we could not win today, so it was not the result I hoped for.
“However, we can only grow from here, play faster, stronger, smarter, and there is only one way, and that is up”.
Northern Mariana Islands captain 11. CHOJNACKI Janelle:
“We are very proud of ourselves. Today we passed the ball very well, we kept our composure, and I think our defense was amazing.
“We don’t get very often to play International tournament, so it was a very great experience for us to be here.
“Thanks to the Mongolian Football Federation for hosting us, we had an incredible time here, everything was great — thank you.”