MUMBAI: New Zealand edged past Chinese Taipei 1-0 on Tuesday to keep themselves alive in the ongoing Intercontinental Cup 2018.
Both teams came into the game desperate for their first win of the tournament, after New Zealand had been beaten 2-1 by Kenya while Chinese Taipei went down 5-0 to India.
In a tight game which could have gone either way Myer Bevan’s 36th-minute penalty proved the difference after a thrilling 90 minutes at the Mumbai Football Arena.
The first-half proved to be a tense and exciting affair with both teams having their moments in attack although there were not many clear chances on goal.
The All Whites started the match on the front foot and Jai Ingham had a sniff on goal after 12 minutes when a weak back-pass let him in, but Chinese Taipei goalkeeper Pan Wen-Chieh reacted smartly to snuff out the danger.
Chinese Taipei, came back into the game as their pacey midfielders William Donkin, Lin Chang-lun and Chu En-Le threatened with their direct running, even though it didn’t result in many chances to open the score.
Instead, it was New Zealand who got a penalty in the 36th minute when Tzu-Kuei Hung fouled Sarpreet Singh inside the box and Bevan’s well-taken spot-kick saw the All Whites into the break with a slender lead
Chinese Taipei started somewhat better in the second-half, but were unable to really stretch the All Whites defense and create scoring chances from open play. However, Donkin twice threatened from free-kicks.
More and more Chinese Taipei started to build up pressure on the New Zealand defense. Chen Chao-an came on for Chen Hao-wei in the 58th minute and the winger helped Chinese Taipei get some momentum going forward.
Li Mao came close to scoring with a shot from the edge of the box, but New Zealand goalkeeper made a fine save.
Meanwhile, New Zealand had a golden chance to wrap up the game in the 74th minute when Ingham pinched the ball off Chen Ting-yang and headed toward goal, but the defender got back to make a risky challenge and did just enough to deny the striker.
Chinese Taipei, thereafter, continued to put pressure and there was another goal scoring opportunity in the 87th minute but Chu En-Le failed to hit the target from inside the box.
It was a much improved performance for Chinese Taipei in the second-half, but it wasn’t enough to get the much-needed three points.