The third round of the Taiwan Premier League delivered plenty of goals as Taipower continued to build steam by extending their 100 percent record.
Taipower’s routine away win against MCU was their third victory in a row this season and whilst it is still very early, at this stage their position at the top of the table does not look undeserved.
Taipower got off to a blistering start to settle any nerves they may have had going into the game, with Hsiang-Wei Lee scoring the rebound with just 35 seconds played after his first shot had come back off the post. From there the game was largely controlled by Taipower, with Lee coming close to scoring his second, denied from six yards by an excellent save from goalkeeper Ming-Wei Li.
Taipower’s superiority eventually told, though, and they were rewarded for their efforts with a second goal in the 40th minute. The excellent Lee was left completely unmarked inside the six-yard box from a corner and was ideally placed to nod in his second after the ball ricocheted between two MCU players.
Although MCU offered more of an attacking threat in the second half, Taipower never looked in any real danger of squandering their lead and held out comfortably enough to secure their first clean sheet of the season.
With the victory over MCU, Taipower remain two points clear at the top of the table, having taken all 9 points available so far to keep up the pressure on the chasing pack.
Playing on Zhubei’s artificial surface, some players struggled for balance at times. [Credit: Tatung FC].
Two teams with title aspirations of their own, last season’s champions Tatung and Taichung Futuro played out a competitive, if fractious, 2-2 draw. In a stop-start game that was frequently interrupted by niggly fouls in the second-half, Futuro twice took the lead only to be pegged back by Tatung.
After an even first 30 minutes, Futuro made the breakthrough in the 33rd minute, as captain Ting-Yang Chen’s powerful leap and header from a corner left Tatung ‘keeper Shin-An Shih stranded. Tatung replied soon after the break when forward Ange Samuel Kouamé rode a couple of challenges before firing a left-footed shot in off the post from the edge of the box.
Despite Futuro’s frustrations at having conceded, it did not take them long to bounce back as they re-established their lead in the 52nd minute. Under pressure, Tatung’s Hao-Wei Chang gave the ball straight to Hao-Jen Chiang, who raced to the byline and squared for Chi-Wei Chen, giving the forward the easiest of finishes.
Although Tatung found creating clear-cut chances hard-going, they were able to once again break Futuro down in the 77th minute. Substitute Hirokimi Harada broke down the left and found Chang, who was able to make amends for his earlier error, firing into the top-right with visible relief.
Down in Tainan, much-fancied Taiwan Steel were given a scare by relegation-favourites Red Lions FC, coming from behind to eventually win 3-2. Despite coming off back-to-back 4-0 defeats, the Red Lions looked confident against superior opposition.
Red Lions took the lead in the 14th minute, as Yu-Lin Chen drifted away from defender Alim Zumakulov to head home, unmarked, from five yards. Steel wrestled control of the game back from Red Lions through goals from Chun-Ching Wu and Marcus Fenelus in the 23rd and 54th minute. However, they were then undone by a calamitous error by Taiwan’s international goalkeeper Wen-Chieh Pan. After racing to the byline to prevent a corner, Pan took far too heavy a touch and was dispossessed by Wei-Chieh Lin, who stroked the ball into the empty net from six yards.
After Pan’s howler, Red Lions looked for some time like they were going to frustrate Steel, who became encamped in the Red Lions half. Chances came and went as the Tainan side began to look increasingly exasperated, with striker Benchy receiving a booking for a hard tackle on Red Lions ‘keeper Guan-Pei Li. Eventually, though, in the 84th minute, the Red Lions’ brave resistance was broken. Steel’s Shao-Chi Feng fed the ball to Fenelus, who skipped away from two Red Lions defenders before smashing the ball past Li from an acute angle.
Da Silva’s two goals proved enough for Hang Yuan to defeat NTUS [credit: CTFA]
In the day’s other game, Hang Yuan FC saw off NTUS 2-0 to ensure they finished round three in second place.
Hang Yuan dominated the game from the start and should have gone ahead in the 17th minute when Brazilian striker Luan Anderson Da Silva shot tamely straight at Meng-Wei Huang after being put through on goal by a clever pass from Ming-Wei Lin.
Luan was able to make amends eight minutes later, however. Ying-Chun Yang’s attempted backheel deep in his own half went straight to Hang Yuan’s Atsushi Shimono, who was able to drive into the box before squaring the ball to Luan. Perhaps lacking in confidence after his earlier miss, Luan almost allowed Huang time to recover as he took a touch to steady himself, before eventually squeezing the ball home from four yards out.
Hang Yuan’s second goal came midway through the second-half, as NTUS were caught out while pushing for an equaliser. NTUS’ Tzu-Hao Tseng lost possession in midfield Hang Yuan were able to break quickly, with the now confident-looking Luan lobbing Huang from the edge of the box.