NMI U18 edge Tan Holdings in penalty shootout to win soccer title
THE NMI U18 team bagged the Marianas Soccer League title after outpointing the Tan Holdings Football Club, 4-3, in a penalty shootout Sunday at the NMI Soccer Training Center in Koblerville. It was a true championship battle as both teams gave it their all from start to finish. After over 15 minutes of back and forth action, NMI U18 managed to get past Tan Holdings’ line of defense using long overhead passes to keep the pressure going. At the 17th minute mark, NMI U18 managed to hold onto the possession in the right corner field and connected the cross pass to Richard Steele who scored the game’s first goal. Throughout the remainder of the first half, THFC threw all their energy to even the score with several close calls but to no avail. In the second half, NMI U18 maintained pressure with a handful of shot attempts and continued to use long passes to slip past THFC's defense. NMI U18 eventually brought the ball to the middle of the field and as they pushed forward, Richard Steele on the left end scored his and his team’s second goal. Down 0-2, THFC fought back and finally broke their silence by turning defense into offense and using their lob passes to find Dylan Mister who scored at the 81st minute mark to reduce the gap, 1-2. Nine minutes later, Mister managed to push through to find another clear shot to even the score 2-2 and force the game into overtime via penalty kicks. THFC's Michiteru Mita was the first to sink a penalty goal while team mate Ronnel Ocanada followed suit to give Tan Holdings a 2-0 lead. NMI U18 Brian Lubao, for his part, failed to deliver but team mates Taka Borja and Daniel Pablo found the back of the net to tie the score, 2-2. THFC’s Joshua Mendez failed to score, but team mate Sunjoon Tenorio gave Tan Holdings a taste of the lead once again, 3-2. After NMI U18’s Dev Bachani equalized the score, it was the turn of the next Tan Holdings shooter, goalie Chris Aninzo, to break the tie, but NMI U18 goalie Dane Hodges blocked the ball. NMI U18's Kohtaro Goto then sealed victory by making the shot.
Published by Marianas Variety - Dec 15, 2021