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GUAM ADVANCES DESPITE LOSS

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PRESS RELEASE – It was a bittersweet Saturday for Guam’s U16 Women’s national football team, falling to Chinese Taipei 9-0 in a dead rubber match of the AFC U16 Women’s Championship Group D qualifier at the Guam Football Association National Training Center.

Guam’s Abbey Iriarte manages to get her foot to the ball first to take it away from Chinese Taipei’s Pan Shin-Yu. (courtesy photo)

Even with the loss, Guam’s 1-0 win over Hong Kong Tuesday, coupled with Chinese Taipei’s 7-0 win over Hong Kong Thursday, secured the home team’s spot in the next round of the tournament to be played in November 2013. The top two teams from each group advances to the next round.

“We know we need to train hard – we need to improve on the little things, the details of the game,” said Guam head coach Kristin Thompson in a post-match press conference. “We’re going to be facing teams way harder than Chinese Taipei in the next round. I know the girls can do it – from here on, they just need to be more disciplined, they need to learn their weaknesses and get them to be their strengths, and also to capitalize on their (current) strengths.”

In other qualifiers around Asia, Bahrain and Jordan knocked out Palestine in the three-team Group A qualifier to move on to the next round. In Group C, Australia already has two wins and cannot finish lower than second place, thus earning its berth in the next round. Other teams still vying for spots in the next round are Thailand and Myanmar, both in Group C, as well as four countries in Group B – Sri Lanka, Iran, India and Uzbekistan. Group B matches were postponed to the end of the month due to inclement weather conditions in host country Sri Lanka.

In Saturday’s game, Chinese Taipei’s Pan Shin-Yu and Yang Chia Hui finished with hat tricks. Hsu Yi-Yun scored twice and Huang Chuan-Ting scored once in Chinese Taipei’s victory.

“I’m so happy that I could contribute goals (in the win),” Pan said through a translator. “I’m so happy to be part of this team – everyone just played so well in this tournament. We still made some mistakes – we hope to improve in technique and skill for future matches. Overall, I’m just happy for our wins in Guam.”
The venue for the next round of the AFC U16 Women’s Championship has not yet been determined. Both teams have about 12 months to prepare for the next round, which will be crucial against teams more experienced in the region. Chinese Taipei’s head coach Chen Ya-Ling is not allowing her team to gain a false sense of security moving on to the next round, she said.

“We will work on the organization of the team first,” said Chen through a translator. “We’d like to increase our speed as well because in the next round of the competition, the teams we will play will be really strong.”

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