The CNMI U15 Boys National Team had a break yesterday—a needed one as it will challenge the might Japanese squad today in the continuation of the East Asian Football Federation U15 Boys Tournament in Xianghe, China.
The Teen Ayuyus, who came off a 1-0 victory over Macau in their opening match last Monday, were set to duel China in their second game yesterday, but the match was rescheduled to tomorrow due to rain.
“Today (yesterday), an emergency meeting was called and unfortunately, the Chinese government issued the postponement of all outdoor activities due to the heavy rains. Today’s match against China has been moved to July 26 and this will give the boys another day to recover before we face our group’s strongest team—Japan,” team manager Mikky Vargas said.
Vargas added that after the win over Macau, the players and officials met to assess their first game.
“The team had a meeting and the boys discussed their strong points during the game and things they need to improve on for the next game. They are very happy that they won their first game. It is very good for their morale now that they are focusing on the ‘giants’ from our group—China and Japan,” the team manager said.
Rintaro Miyawaki lifted the Teen Ayuyus to victory in their first game after scoring in the first half. He started for the squad along with goalie Jonathan Mindanao, Floyd Muna, Brandon Tenorio, Taka Borja, Oliver Fajardo, Brian Lubao, Razeff Altamirano, Elijah Villarmero, Rinto Takahashi, and Ian Maniago. Merrick Toves, John Martin Palad, John Ezekiel Canape, Reginald Pascual, Daniel Pablo, and Jon Villagomez were the substitutes.
“We started out the first half with majority of the possession. We created many scoring opportunities, but our finishing quality was not good enough. With our persistence, Rintaro Miyawaki was able to find the back of the net,” Vargas said.
Ahead by only one, the Teen Ayuyus tried to gain more cushion, but Macau stepped up on defense, making life more difficult for the former.
“During the second half of the game, Macau pressured and fought back quite hard. Our fitness suffered as well and because of this, Macau created many scoring opportunities, but fortunately for us, they could not capitalize. We had a few good attempts where we penetrated, but again our finishing was poor. We were also awarded a penalty kick but the shot was not on target,” the team manager added.
After hanging on to the lead and keeping the win, head coach Michiteru Mita gave props to the team.
“Coach Mita believes that the team worked very hard to prepare for this tournament and all their effort during their training sessions back home paid off and helped them during the game. The boys took their opponents very seriously and because of this we got results,” Vargas said.