Guam – After a careful study of its opponents early on, Macau’s national football team figured out how to break through the Northern Mariana Islands’ defensive army for a 5-1 win in an East Asian Cup preliminary competition match at Leo Palace Guam.
“It was amazing how the Macau team could move the ball and beat us with their feet,” said NMI’s Kirk Warren Schuler after the match, as he compared Macau’s technical style of play with Guam’s physicality. “On a sportsmanship level, Macau should definitely be commended.
“The CNMI wishes Guam and Macau the best of luck in Sunday’s game. We’re just really grateful for the opportunity to have played against both teams and we hope to see the teams again in the future,” added Schuler.
[Macau’s Chao Wai Hou tries to pass the ball closer to the goal facing defensive pressure from NMI’s William Dunn III in an East Asian Cup preliminary competition match at Leo Palace Guam Resort. Macau defeated NMI 5-1]
Macau began the game evaluating its opponents, patiently waiting for prime opportunities to pounce on the NMI team with its guard down. It wasn’t until the 27th minute when Macau’s Ho Man Hou aggressively made his way through toward the goal and dished the ball to teammate Chan Kin Seng whose shot ricocheted off the right post and into the goal.
Macau continued its passing game through much of the half, running down NMI’s defense left to right until a gap opened to score. Ho found that opportunity in the 40th minute when he got close enough to the goal to let his shot roll right past the goal line for the 2-0 advantage before the halftime whistle.
Both teams increased its aggressiveness in the second half. After a foul was called on Macau in the 51st minute, NMI took advantage of the ensuing free kick. Joe Miller sent a high ball toward the goal that Schuler was able to finish to make it a 2-1 contest.
That was all NMI could salvage, as Macau went on to score three times in the half, including one goal on a penalty kick. NMI also collected three yellow cards following its second-half goal, one of which resulted in a soft red card on Nicholas Swaim in the 85th minute. Swaim also had earlier received a yellow card in the first half.
Chan finished the game with a hat trick and teammates Ho and Wong Vernon scored one each.
Macau next faces the Matao Sunday at 4 p.m. to determine the winner of the preliminary competition. The winner moves on to the second round of the EAFF tournament in Hong Kong in December. Sunday’s match will be contested at the Leo Palace Guam Resort’s main field and admission is free.
Guam settled for a 2-2 draw against Macau in the EAFF tournament’s preliminary competition in 2009, good enough to advance to the second round that year. This time, Guam will need to post a victory against Macau to advance. If the teams settle for a draw on Sunday, Macau will win based on goal differential.