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MATAO COMES UP SHORT AGAINST SINGAPORE

Guam drops 1-0 heartbreaker, fails to advance

By Paradis Jolie Fejerang

Guam’s National Team, Matao, approached the pitch for their second leg match against Singapore with the goal of winning the game with at least a two point difference in order to move on to the next rounds in qualifying for FIFA World Cup 26™. In the end, Singapore put a damper on the home team’s dream with a 1-0 victory.

With their experience against Singapore, the Matao defense showed their determination to keep their opponent’s offense at bay, displaying improvement and a gain in confidence in comparison to their last match.

Matao head coach Ross Awa acknowledged the culture of the island, knowing that the team was looking to represent the island well on their home turf. The overwhelming support for Matao by the locals at the GFA National Training Center must have added to the drive as a boost in emotion was evident throughout the game.

The Guam fans came out in full force to support the men’s national team take on Singapore at the GFA Field. (photo by Christine Bansil)

At halftime, the score was an even 0-0 and the energy of both the Matao and Singapore teams held strong into the second half despite the intense heat and dry turf. 

As stakes were raised with one half left and two points still yet to be scored, Matao’s offense grew hungrier. There were some unlucky missed shots and an impressive header by Travis Nicklaw that had the crowd, coaches and teams on edge as the ball neared the Singapore goal.

With only about ten minutes of game time left, Singapore scored the only successful shot of the match. Feeling an immediate mood shift from the silenced crowd, the Matao team fought to keep their motivation up for the few remaining minutes of the game but were ultimately left unsuccessful with the game finishing on a 1-0 loss for Guam.

Post match, Awa regarded his sentiments for the team. “Overall, the guys…played well. There are a few things that we need to brush up on. Hopefully, in the future, we’ll continue to fight.”

Though the World Cup Qualifiers ended for Guam on a sour note, Awa shines a light for Guam’s future in fútbol, with emphasis on the future for such a young team.  “I did have a mix of players from senior level to…fifteen years old,” Awa shares.

“The goal is to provide opportunities for our young players that have great talent…to ensure that there is consistency within the program.”

Guam looks forward to the future of Matao and congratulates the team on their impressive journey thus far.

PHOTO GALLERY BROUGHT TO YOU BY:

All Photos by Christine Bansil

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