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Matansa, KFAS set finals duel

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The CNMI Women’s National Team’s Irish Pagarao, left, and Hamid Kawsar ward each other off as they fight for possession during the second half of their semis game in the Division B of the M-League last Sunday at the Koblerville Elementary School Field. (Roselyn B. Monroyo)

Matansa Football Club and Korean Football Association on Saipan arranged their title showdown in the Division B of the M-League after earning contrasting semis wins last Sunday at the Koblerville Elementary School Field.

In the first semis match, KFAS outlasted Shirley’s FC, 4-3, while in the second Final Four pairing, the unbeaten Matansa dominated the CNMI Women’s National Team, 9-2.

Daniel Jay Duenas and Northern Mariana Islands Football Association technical director Michiteru Mita scored three goals apiece to lift Matansa to the easy victory. Amzad Khan added a pair, while Jacob Montes-Sabino chipped in one.

With multiple Matansa players on target, the top-ranked squad opened a 6-1 halftime advantage. Mita hit the board first with his shot in the 10th minute, while Khan added one more just a minute later. Montes-Sabino then handed Matansa its third goal in the 39th minute, while the squad’s last three were made in a span of three minutes with Mita finding the back of the net anew in the 42nd and Duenas scoring back-to-back (43rd and 44th). The WNT’s lone goal in the first half came from Irish Pagarao.

Then with only two minutes gone by in the second half, Amzad knocked in one more goal, while Mita and Duenas delivered the final two for Matansa in the 74th and 80th minute, respectively. The WNT had another one-goal performance in the second half, courtesy of Sarah Allen’s conversion in the 57th minute.

In the other semis game, Jun Woon Lee registered the winning goal for KFAS in extra time (100th minute) to eliminate the hard-fighting Shirley’s. Chong Koo Lee and Edwin Kim were the other scorers for KFAS, while three different players also made it to the board for Shirley’s.

Dindo Pablo broke the ice for Shirley’s in the 30th minute and their squad went on to establish a 2-0 halftime edge, thanks to Sungbae Park’s goal in the 43rd.

However, Shirley’s failed to hang on to the lead, as KFAS mounted a comeback in the second half with Gil breaking the latter’s silence in the 59th minute to move his team within one. Then two straight goals from Kim—in the 68th and 76th minute—put KFAS on top before Shirley’s forced the second deadlock in the 86th minute off Jerry Tan’s shot.

With the game still tied at the end of regulation (90th minute), game officials gave the opposing teams 15 minutes to settle the match and KFAS went on to complete the come-from-behind win off Jun Lee’s dagger.

KFAS will dispute the Division B championship against Matansa this Sunday.

Meanwhile, in Division A, Kanoa FC took the third semis seat following a 3-0 victory over Paire FC.

Ruselle Zapanta, Ichiro Borja, and Andruw Omelau delivered the goods for Kanoa with the former starting things out for the winning squad after both teams failed to score in the first half. Zapanta lit up the board in the 58th minute, while Borja followed suit in the 66th and Omelau closed out for Kanoa 10 minutes later.

With the shutout win, Kanoa joins TanHoldings and the Teen Ayuyus to the Final Four. Okadaya and Sun Palace battled for the fourth and last semis berth, but the winner of last Sunday’s game has yet to be decided due to technical issues.

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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