Taiwan Premier League Weekend Preview

This Sunday at 16:00 (Taipei Standard Time), the second round of the Taiwan Premier League gets underway.

Taiwan Steel vs. Taipower looks to be the tie of the round. [Credit TFPL]

Although the games are still behind closed doors until June, the CTFA will now stream all four games on their official YouTube channel, meaning viewers around the world can tune in.

The most anticipated tie of the round is Taiwan Steel vs Taipower.  Both sides harbour title ambitions and got off to a winning start last weekend.

Steel looked convincing in their 4-2 demolition of MCU, while Taipower proved their credentials with a last minute winner at last season’s champions Tatung.

The arrival of Fenelus (10) and Benchy (9) over winter drastically altered the TFPL landscape. [Credit: TFPL]

Taiwan Steel may feel they are slight favourites after their excellent business during the winter break. In Marc Fenelus and Benchy Estama, whose debuts were described as “amazing” by Steel midfielder Mati Godoy, they have the firepower to overwhelm even the best defenders in the league.

The Tainan side will also enjoy home advantage, although whether this will have any effect in an empty stadium is questionable. Steel’s optimism may be tempered by the fact that they are yet to be tested this season and they will have been concerned to have conceded two goals against a relatively weak MCU.

Taipower, meanwhile, will take heart from their experience of title races in recent seasons and will be full of confidence after exorcising their demons against Tatung.

Two other teams looking to maintain winning starts are Hang Yuan FC and Taichung Futuro.  Both teams looked convincing in their opening wins, with Hang Yuan swatting aside the Red Lions 4-0 and Futuro beating NTUS 2-1.

The match between these two sides will have some additional intrigue, as South Korean forward Joo Ik-Seong lines up for Futuro against his former side. 

Joo was a key player for Hang Yuan last season, scoring 20 goals and wreaking havoc with his pace and skill. Although Joo will hope that he can open his account failing to score against NTUS last weekend, he does not feel under pressure facing his former teammates.

Speaking with Taiwan Football News, Joo explained that he had “no special feelings,” ahead of the game and, besides wanting to win, would be “glad to meet [his] teammates [from] last year. “

Tatung manager Chiang Mu-Tsai is confident his side will fight to the bitter end in defence of the title. [Credit: Tatung FC]

Over in Taipei, last season’s champions Tatung will be looking to find their swagger against Red Lions FC. Despite losing to rivals Taipower last weekend, Tatung are heavy favourites against a poor Red Lions team.

Tatung’s head coach Chiang Mu-Tsai has stated that he expects his team to “get better and better” as the season progresses, and he will doubtless be looking for a convincing victory to remind teams that Tatung are still a force to be reckoned with.

In the day’s other game, NTUS and MCU face off.  After defeats for both sides last weekend, they will be hoping to move away from the relegation zone.

Despite the home defeat to Steel, MCU’s assistant manager, Tseng Tai-Lin, was relaxed, telling Taiwan Football News that the goals scored against Steel “have [given us] great confidence.”

See our page for international viewers to view kickoff times around the world.

Summary of last weekend’s action.

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