SFI will bounce back!
SFI is an up-and-coming club, starting its 3rd season in Taiwan Division 2. Last season in 2021, SFI finished in the 3rd place in Division 2. SFI's opponent, NTUS recently relegated, after 7 years in the Taiwan Premier League. NTUS is strong, well organized and financed. One of Taiwan’s most prominent universities is backing the club. In contrast, SFI doesn't have as much financing and its market value 10 times lower than NTUS.
To make things worse, SFI was missing 5 of its important players, due to Covid related issues. The team had to include new players in the first 11 who never played in Taiwan Division 2 League matches before. Luis Bustamante, Wen-Han Syu and Welington da Silva were amongst the missing players. The pressure on the SFI defense was intense from the beginning. SFI conceded its first goal in the 9th minute from a penalty kick scored by NTUS forward Po-Yu Chen.
In spite of the obvious problems caused by the missing players, SFI didn’t give up. SFI’s Turkish centre forward, Ertugrul Bastug scored the equalizer in the 25th minute. But, two minutes later NTUS took back the lead with forward Ho-Chiang Yang’s volley goal. The first half ended with SFI 1:2 NTUS.
SFI already used one substitution by half time. And, SFI had to make a double change in half time due to injuries. And, shortly after this, SFI needed to to take off another player due to injury.
Few minutes later, SFI had to take off a player who came on at half time, because of severe reaction to vaccination.
At this moment, the team’s outlook for the rest of the match was dim, at best.
But, Bastug’s equalizer in the 52nd minute provided SFI a glimmer of hope. The score was 2:2 and it looked like SFI was back in the game.
In the 63rd minute, SFI’s attacking midfielder, Daniel Torres, received a pass from Bastug. Torres ran with the ball into the box, leaving all the NTUS defenders behind. With only the goalkeeper between Torres and the goal, SFI had a real chance to score and take the lead. But, a foul by NTUS defender Chun-Ting Chen stopped Torres 10 meters from the goal line. With this penalty kick SFI still had a chance.
As always, SFI’s Jhe-Ming Chiang kicked the penalty kick. Chiang never missed a penalty kick, since he joined SFI 3 years ago. His penalty kick track record is flawless. But, unfortunately, he missed this one. Bad luck for SFI.
SFI still tried hard to come back. But, the pain and exhaustion was too much. NTUS substituted 2 more fresh players. But, SFI used up all substitutions for the crisis in the first half.
SFI conceded 2 more goals. Ho-Chiang Yang scored in 67th minute and Po-Hsun Chen in the 82nd minute.
The final score: SFI 2:4 NTUS.
Yip Kwun Hei's strike secures the 3 points for SFI
SFI won the first match of the season on Saturday, June 11th. The team scored 3 goals to Kaohsiung FC, winning the game with the final score of 3:2. The match against KHFC was not easy. Near the end the score was still 2:2. But, Yip Kwun Hei ran up with the ball from midfield and took a shot from about 20 meters, sending the ball to the top left corner of KHFC's goal; thus, securing the 3 points for the team.