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    Monday, October 14, 2019-8:07:40A.M.

     

     

     

     

     

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Brunei beats NMI 5-1 in soccer tourney

THE NMI U16 Boys lost to Brunei, 1-5, in the Asian Football Confederation U16 Championship 2020 Qualifiers in Jakarta, Indonesia on Monday. It was the NMI’s second defeat in as many games.

“As expected, the team took everything they learned from their previous game against the Philippines and used the experience as their backbone,” team manager Mikky Vargas said in an email. “The boys were visibly more confident during this game. They were not as nervous and they were more focused than they were against the Philippines.”

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The NMI U16 boys celebrate after scoring a goal against Brunei on Monday in the Asian Football Confederation U16 Championship 2020 Qualifiers in Jakarta, Indonesia.  Contributed photo

This time, the NMI did well on the defensive end and even had a couple of strikes against Brunei whose players are physically stronger, faster, and more experienced. The NMI boys successfully held their ground, ending the first half without conceding any goals.

In the second half, however, Brunei made a game-changing substitution and brought in one of its key players. “With the substitute followed a new-found vigor in Brunei and soon after, coupled with our team’s creeping fatigue, we started conceding goals,” Vargas said.

On the 86th minute, however, the NMI boys scored their very first goal in the tournament after team co-captain Kohtaro Goto connected a shot from a distance, going over Brunei’s goalkeeper and meeting the back of the net.

“I want to stress that the goal was not a set play or a mistake by the opposition in their defensive half,” Vargas said. “It was the result of a deliberate and calculated build-up. I know that it only took a couple of seconds to orchestrate but the boys have been practicing for months back home just to be able to create those specific moments that led to the goal. It was certainly a moment that the entire team could take credit for! And such a beautiful goal to witness too! The team received loads of compliments from spectators, including AFC officials and the officials from other teams.”

Vargas added, “It was definitely one for the books. Father Rocky once told the team that there is no such thing as losing. You either win or you learn. Despite the loss, the team continues to grow, learn, and improve game by game. The coaches believe that the team left it all on the plate for this game and because of that, we were able to bring back results that we can take pride in.”

The NMI’s next opponent is the tournament host, Indonesia, which on Monday beat the Philippines 4-0.