Kurukuru reels to second win in Asian Indoor Games, Tops Group A
BY ROMULUS HUTA
A double by George Stevenson helped the Solomon Islands national futsal side Kurukuru cruised to a narrow 4-3 win over Chinese Taipei last night in their second Pool A match of the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games currently underway in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan.
Atana Fa’arodo Junior and Alvin Hou added the other two goals for Kurukuru.
Chinese Taipei got their goals through LIN Chich-Hung, who bagged a double while CHI Sheng-Fa also got his name on the score sheet.
The win pushed Solomon Islands to go six points leading the table in Pool A with two matches to spare.
Chinese Taipei remains at second place on the table with three points following their earlier 2-1 win over Vietnam on the previous day.
The match saw a lot of intensity coming from both sides as they were eager to collect maximum points in attempting to maintain winning form to their get campaign in the competition on track.
Knowing what’s at stake going into the match, Coach Sam Jerry fielded in a very formidable first five in the form of Anthony Talo, George Stevenson, Alvin Hou, Samuel Osifelo and Coleman Makau.
It did not take long for Solomon Islands to find the first goal as Stevenson got his name on the score sheet by the first minute.
Chinese Taipei could have equalized in the fourth minute but had their shot saved before Samuel Osifelo got another missed shot, which could have extended lead.
In the sixth minute, LIN Chih-Hung equalized for Chinese Taipei making it 1-1.
However, Kurukuru recovered from the continuous onslaught by Chinese Taipei and Albert Wetney drove in for a shot and only to be denied by the post in the seventh minute.
Solomon Islands continued to dominate the first half with the combination of Mahlon Sia, Albert Wetney, Alvin Hou and Stevenson and it paid off in the 14th minute when Atana Fa’arodo Junior extended the lead to 2-1.
However, that lead was short-lived when Chinese Taipei came back to equalize in the 18th minute through a well-taken goal by CHI Sheng-Fa.
Chinese Taipei mounted pressure against Solomon Islands in the final two minutes but the score remains locked at 2-all by halftime break.
The second half resumed and CHI Sheng-Fa had his shot missed in the 21st minute.
Chinese Taipei appeared to have been dominating but Kurukuru denied three of their shots through fine defending and goalkeeping.
In the 24th minute, Stevenson put Solomon Islands back into the game leading 3-2. The goal successively trails hosts of shots done directly from their goalmouth by goalkeeper Anthony Talo.
Hou and Wetney got close to scoring in separate attempts two minutes later but were denied.
In the 33rd minute, Hou struck a well-taken goal to extend lead for Kurukuru to 4-2. The goal by Hou marks his second in two games so far in the futsal competition of the Asian Games. He also scored in the 4-1 win against Hong Kong in their first game.
Solomon Islands appeared comfortable having already put four goals past Chinese Taipei and called for time out in the 37th minute.
Chinese Taipei settled in well after the time-out and pulled one back to reduce the margin to 4-3 through a goal by LIN Chih-Hung.
The goal liven their fighting spirit and they introduced more substitutions in the final two minutes as they mounts more pressure against Solomon Islands, in search of a late equalizer but could not fine tune their shots to get the goal they wanted.
Kurukuru had the final act of the game to their advantage but the shot taken by Stevenson flew off target as the referee blew the final whistle at the end of the regulation time.
The win propelled Solomon Islands to the top of the group leading with six points.
Solomon Islands will play their next match against hosts Turkmenistan later this evening.
Meanwhile, in the other result in Group D last night, Iran hammered fellow Oceania rep Tahiti with a 16-1 thrashing.
See points table below.
Rank Team Pts Pl W D L GF GA GD
1 Solomon Islands 6 2 2 0 0 8 4 4
2 Chinese Taipei 3 2 1 0 1 5 5 0
3 Turkmenistan 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
4 Vietnam 0 1 0 0 1 1 2 -1
5 Hong Kong, China 0 1 0 0 1 1 4 -3