Kanoa, Island Star dispute title


Kanoa Football Club’s Ian Maniago dribbles during their first meeting against Island Star in Division B of the 2019 Fall Men’s M-League at the NMI Soccer Training Center in Koblerville. (Roselyn B. Monroyo)

The competition in Division B of the 2019 Fall Men’s M-League will have its climactic end, as the season championship will be at stake when Kanoa Football Club and Island Star collide tonight at the NMI Soccer Training Center in Koblerville.

Kanoa and Island Star hold similar 5-0-2 win-draw-loss records going into the last game in the division, making the duel a make-or-break situation for both squads. The two teams are in a must-win zone after faltering in their penultimate match. Kanoa bowed to Matansa Football Club last Nov. 24, 3-1, while Shirley’s Football Club stunned Island Star, 4-1, on the same day.

The loss versus Shirley’s was the second in a row for Island Star, which enjoyed a long stay atop the team standings in Division B after sweeping its first five games before going on a slide.

One of the those two defeats was, incidentally, at the hands of Kanoa, which ended Island Star’s streak after a 7-4 victory in their Nov. 17 encounter. Kanoa set the tone in the match early, taking a commanding 6-1 victory and poised to hand Island Star its first loss. However, tension ensued with players from both squads exchanging unpleasant words and extra motion.

Andruw Omelau led Kanoa’s upset, as he scored four goals in the first meeting and he will surely be a marked man when they collide anew with Island Star, as the stakes will be higher this time—the division championship. Ian Maniago and Markus Toves hit the two other goals in Kanoa’s win. Zhi Peng Lin, Xiao Feng Lin, Ri Cheng Xian, and Kai-Jiun Ma scored for Island Star.

With its victory in their first meeting, Kanoa will go to tonight’s highly anticipated game with a slight edge. In case the second duel ends in a draw, M-League officials will have to decide how to break the standoff. If it is via head-to-head, Kanoa would have the edge, owing to its Nov. 17 win. If by goal difference, Kanoa may still have the upper hand, as it currently leads Island Star, 11-6. In five games, Kanoa scored 33 goals and gave up 22, while Island Star collected 25 and yielded 19.

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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