The second half of the Taiwanese Premier League season got underway earlier today with title contenders Hang Yuan FC taking on this season’s cellar dwellers Red Lions in Xinzhuang, New Taipei.
Kicking off under a torrential rainstorm, Hang Yuan were looking to make up for being knocked off the top spot in the league by a questionable CTFA decision in recent weeks that saw a 2-2 away draw with last year’s champions Tatung FC ending with all three points awarded to Tatung on a technicality, weeks after the game itself took place.
Playing left to right in their traditional burgundy shirts, black shorts, and red socks, Hang Yuan spent much of the first half camped out in the Red Lions half looking for an opening, the visitors oftentimes left chasing shadows as Hang Yuan dominated.
When the Red Lions did manage to get the ball up to their front men, the support needed to make anything of the advantage fell apart as the Red Lions midfield failed to keep up with the pace of the game.
The team coached by the former boss of the now defunct Royal Blues, Robert Iwanicki was similarly sloppy in its challenges; several times in the first half hacking down Hang Yuan players in dangerous positions.
The first 45 came and went though without either team breaking the deadlock.
Try as they might throughout the second half, Hang Yuan just could not score despite having the lion’s share of the play, and the majority of the chances.
And with the game ending as wet as it started, the Red Lions’ players were noticeably happier post-game having earned their first point of the season after seven straight defeats.
Hang Yuan will see the result as two points lost, however, and a huge setback in their title hopes.
Both teams are back in action next weekend – Hang Yuan hosting Taichung Futuro in Xinzhuang, with Red Lions away to Tatung across the Danshui River in Taipei.