Taiwan Steel on Sunday grabbed three points with a narrow 1-0 win against Hang Yuan FC, to move into the No. 2 spot on the Taiwan Football Premier League (TFPL) log, while Taipower FC beat NTUS 2-0 to maintain first place.
Taking advantage early in the match of opposition defenders who had not yet settled down, Taiwan Steel’s attacking trio of Wu Chun-ching, Marc Fenelus from the Turks and Caicos Islands, and Benchy Astama from Haiti pushed forward with good passes.
After only one minute of play, Fenelus dribbled from the right flank, feeding a short pass inside the penalty area to Astama, who slotted the ball into the net past goalkeeper Huang Chiu-lin.
Photo courtesy of CTFA
It was Astama’s eighth goal of the season, and he is now third on the TFPL scoring chart.
Hang Yuan had supporters egging them on, as they were playing at home at Fu Jen Catholic University in New Taipei City, and still had plenty of time left for an equalizer.
However, time and again, after launching an attack the forwards and attacking midfielders failed to link up passes, and took too many touches in the opposition’s final third.
Taiwan Steel’s defending line was anchored by centerhalf Su Te-tsai and Taiwan national squad regular Chen Wei-chuan. They received help from Russian midfielder Alim Zumakulov and Astama, who often moved back to snuff out threats.
Both teams had been improving performance-wise, and both were going on a three-win streak, but it was Taiwan Steel who took the spoils by maintaining their 1-0 lead until the final whistle.
Taipower recorded another win at their home ground in Kaohsiung over NTUS, with in-form striker Lee Hsiang-wei scoring a brace in the first half, to equal Astama’s at eight goals for the season.
In other games, Taichung Futuro defeated Red Lions FC 3-2 at home, with Li Mao and Chiang Hao-ren scoring two goals in the first half.
Lin Wei-chieh replied by scoring for the visitors in the second half, but South Korean striker Joo Ik-seong sealed the win for Taichung Futuro by converting a penalty late in the game.
Defending champions Tatung FC left it late into injury time to prevail 1-0 against Ming Chuan University, when Burkinabe striker Ben Ouedraogo pounced on a rebound from a penalty-kick to take his third goal of the season and boost the slumping Tatung team by three points.
Taipower remain in first place on the log with 29 points, while Taiwan Steel and Taichung Futuro are level with 27 points in second spot. Hang Yuan are only three points behind with 24, and Tatung FC are fifth with 22 points.
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