Upsets mark M-League semis

Matansa Football Club’s Josiegen Soquena, left, nudges Sun Palace’s Hugo Kan, center, while the former’s teammate Travis Camacho chases the ball during the second half of their Divison B semis game in the 2018 Spring M-League last Sunday at the Koblerville Elementary School Field. (Roselyn B. Monroyo)

Paire Football Club and Shirley’s FC booted out their higher-seeded opponents to move into the finals of their respective divisions in the 2018 Spring M-League.

The No. 3 seed Paire recorded the first upset in the semifinal round in Division A after nosing out No. 2 TanHoldings FC, 1-0, in the curtain-raiser at the Hopwood Middle School Field last Sunday.

Daniel Agulto drilled the winning goal for Paire in the 90th minute, bringing his team to the title game against the top-ranked MP United this Sunday.

MP United kept its unbeaten run this season and notched the second finals berth in the division after shutting down the Teen Ayuyus, 2-0. Raymond Mercado towed MP United to the win after scoring the pair of goals for the favored squad. He got his first in the 54th minute and the second in the last minute of the semis match.

MP United, which finished the preliminary with an 8-1-0 win-draw-loss record to bag one of the two outright semis tickets in the division, will face Paire in the 3:30pm championship tiff this Sunday. TanHoldings, which also held an unbeaten mark (6-2-0) before the playoffs to join MP United in the semifinals early, will play in the consolation game against the Teen Ayuyus at 1:30pm.

Meanwhile, it will be Shirley’s versus Matansa in the winner-take-all finale in Division B this Sunday at the Koblerville Elementary School Field.

Shirley’s set up the title showdown with Matansa after stunning the No. 1 seed Korean Football Association on Saipan in the second semis game in the division, 13-1.

Shirley’s, which was ranked No. 4 going into the playoffs after earning a 4-1-5 record and losing in the tiebreak against Sun Palace, demolished KFAS after drawing five goals from Jun Liu and getting contributions from six other players.

Jun made a hat trick right after the first half to lift Shirley’s to a commanding 6-0 lead. He got his first in the 22nd minute and the next two in the 33rd and 36th. Jedidah Peteru added a brace in the opening half, while Jung Hun Kang delivered the other goal for Shirley’s in that period.

Then in the second half, Jun had another back-to-back, while Justin Tan duplicated that feat, and Louis Ryu and Alvin Takai posted the next two goals for the streaking Shirley’s. Jerry Tan then capped Shirley’s dominance with a goal in the 77th minute.

KFAS avoided a shutout when Oliver Lee scored in the 86th minute, but still the loss was an embarrassment for a squad that dropped only a single game in 10 matches in the regular season.

In other results in Division B, Matansa outclassed Sun Palace, 2-1, to book the first finals berth in their group.

Amzad Khan knocked in the go-ahead goal in the 82nd minute, while Gabriel Arkoh registered the other goal for Matansa in the 24th. Feng Yu logged the sole goal for Sun Palace in the 34th minute.

Matansa will meet Shirley’s in the 4pm title match after the 2pm battle for third place between KFAS and Sun Palace.

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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