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CNMI drops AFC qualifier debut

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The CNMI’s Jerick Tiamzon, second left, holds down the Philippines’ Vincent Saludo during the first half of their game in the Group G Asian Football Confederation U16 Championship 2020 Qualifiers last Saturday at the Madya Stadium in Jakarta, Indonesia. (Asian Football Confederation)

The Philippines handed the CNMI a 7-0 beating at the start of the Group G Asian Football Confederation U16 Championship 2020 Qualifiers last Saturday at the Madya Stadium in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Playing against a much-experienced team, the Teen Ayuyus surrendered an early goal to the Philippines, which went on to dominate possession in the game en route to the easy victory. Midfielder Vincent Aron Saludo delivered the first goal for the PH in the third minute, while forward John Lloyd Jalique led the squad with his hat trick after scoring in the 33rd, 42nd, and 51st. David Pahud, Simon Del Campo, and Benjamin Palacio were the other scorers for the Philippines.

Despite the big loss, the Teen Ayuyus took a lot of positives from the defeat.

“For majority of the boys, this tournament is their first ever international competition and it definitely showed on the field. We made our way to the stadium with a police escort and were greeted by heavy security and match officials in suit and ties. I believe it was at this point that the team realized this was not going to be like the usual NMIFA league matches they were used to playing,” team manager Mikky Vargas said.

“Coach Mita (Michiteru Mita) expects that the experience they gained from last night’s match will give the boys the focus they need in order to perform at an even higher level in the matches to come. The boys are now aware of the difference and gap between a local match and an international match—a realization that comes as their first and usually the most painful step of their ever-growing national career,” Vargas added.

Next up for the CNMI crew is Brunei, which was also humbled by China, 7-0, last Saturday. The CNMI-Brunei tiff is set for 3:30pm today (6:30pm Saipan time). In the other Group G game tonight, host Indonesia will have its first match against the Philippines.

Roselyn Monroyo | Reporter
Roselyn Monroyo is the sports reporter of Saipan Tribune. She has been covering sports competitions for more than two decades. She is a basketball fan and learned to write baseball and football stories when she came to Saipan in 2005.

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