The CNMI U14 National Team showed significant improvement on defense in its second game in the AFC U14 Championship 2014 Qualifiers last Tuesday in Beijing, China.
After giving up 13 goals to South Korea, the Commonwealth youth strikers allowed only two goals to Chinese-Taipei. The CNMI-Chinese tiff was the closest game so far in the Group G qualifier, as earlier the same day, host China crushed Guam, 8-0. Guam also fell to Chinese-Taipei, which scored five goals against the former’s one.
China and South Korea hold similar 2-0-0 win-draw-loss record, but the Koreans are on top of the team standings with their 21 goals against the host’s 19. Chinese-Taipei has a 2-0-1 card, has logged seven goals, and have given up six. The CNMI is in fourth place with a 0-0-2 slate, while Guam is in last place with a 0-0-3 card and 27 goals given up.
Goalie Christopher Aninzon started out anew for the CNMI U14 National Team and was joined by seven other players who suited up against South Korea last Saturday. The list included Steven Martin, Euly James Ermitanio, Louie Calayad, Edwin Kim, Joshua Abragan, Mareko Tekopua, and Emmanuel Aniana, while Alan Hinson, Cody Leon, and Alex Park, who came in as substitutes in their debut last weekend, earned starting spots in the second game. Albert Bergancia, Cole Chambers, Logan Mister, Sunjoon Tenorio, Anthony Fruit, and Jherico Tiamzon also played against Chinese-Taipei as substitutes.
Midfielder Chin Wen Yen led Chinese-Taipei’s starting unit and he also earned the first goal in the game, scoring in the fifth minute. After surrendering an early goal, the CNMI tightened up its defense and held Chinese-Taipei scoreless in the remaining 25 minutes in the first half.
The Commonwealth bets continued to hold their ground against Chinese-Taipei in the opening minutes of the second half before Chen Po Yu came off the bench and scored the second goal in the 44th minute.
“The boys did really well against Taipei. They were much more aggressive and took the ball to the other end of the field quite a few times. They followed the coaches’ instructions about marking their player and played very good defense. Overall, even though the score was in favor of Chinese-Taipei, our boys felt great after the game and they knew they improved a lot after their first game,” a squad official wrote in the CNMI U14 National Team website.
Meanwhile, the CNMI U14 National Team plays its third game today against Guam at 2pm (around 4pm Saipan time) and will close out the tournament tomorrow with a duel against China.
The tournament in China is one of the eight qualifiers being held to determine the teams that will advance to the AFC U-14 Championship 2014 Finals. The eight groups are divided into four zones only the Top 2 teams from each zone will march into the finals.