Kuu Nishimura scored three goals over the weekend to help Saipan United bag the Hafa Adai Cup in the Marianas Soccer League Fall Season 2021.
The Saipan International School student first delivered a pair in their 4-1 triumph over Chang Bai Hu in the semifinals last Friday and then hit the go-ahead goal in their 2-1 finals victory against The One FC last Sunday at the NMI Soccer Training Center in Koblerville.
Nishimura’s twin goals against Chang Bai Hu was recorded in back-to-back fashion, as he lit up the board in the 12th and 16th minute. Ichiro Borja made it three in a row for Saipan United with his goal in the 20th minute and the team zeroed in on the second and last finals berth in the Hafa Adai Cup after drawing in a goal from MD Sohel Akanda in the 59th minute. Chang Bai Hu avoided a shutout loss when Ri Cheng Xian broke the squad’s silence in the 63rd minute.
Following the easy semis win over Chang Bai Hu, Nishimura and company met The One FC in last Sunday’s finale and this time faced a tougher challenger. The One FC took the first finals seat after nosing out Shirley’s FC in the earlier semis game, 1-0. Zhipeng Lin recorded the winning goals for The One FC.
Lin also tallied the only goal for The One FC in the championship game, as he found his target early, giving their team the 1-0 advantage, just two minutes into the title duel. However, The One FC’s hold to the driver’s seat was short-lived as six minutes later, Lillian Bloom Muldoon scored the equalizer.
Saipan United went on to grab the lead and win the division championship, thanks to Nishimura’s goal in the second half.
The title victory capped Saipan United’s perfect record in the shortened season. The Hafa Adai Cup champions won all its four games in pool play and then defeated Matansa and Chang Bai Hu in the first two matches in the playoffs before outclassing The One FC in the finale.
Meanwhile, Chang Bai Hu clinched third place in the division after downing Shirley’s FC in the consolation game last Sunday.
Ming Guang Xing led Chang Bai Hu’s win after firing five goals, while Xin Wen Jin and Xiong Zhe Li contributed one goal apiece. Irish Pagarao made a pair for Shirley’s, which got its two other goals from Jack Phan and Risty Vergara.
In the MSL Cup, Paire also bagged the third place honors after easing past Eleven Tiger, 9-3.
Danny Agulto, Jireh Yobech, and Chris Nelson teamed up in the victory after scoring two goals apiece, while Ajani Burrell, Mareko Tekopua, and Steve McKagan chipped in one each. Tanapon Unsa posted all three goals for Eleven Tiger.