Thursday, June 24, 2010

1-1 draw makes CNMI, Guam co-champions in 2010 Marianas Cup

From the Marianas Variety:
1-1 draw makes CNMI, Guam co-champions in 2010 Marianas Cup
MONDAY, 21 JUNE 2010

THE CNMI national team had the bleachers roar in applause by hitting the first goal of the game leading to a jubilant climax of the 2010 Marianas Football Cup at the Oleai Sports Complex’ field last Saturday.

Guam battled from one goal down during the last 15 minutes of the second half, then, Jason Ryan Cunliffe put the ball into the net in the 89th minute to seize an equal share of what the CNMI national team had in their clutches: The 2010 Marianas Football Cup Championship crown.

The first half ran somehow fast as both teams burst into aggressive plays.

“It (the fist half) was supposed to be slow. But it turned out that both teams were excited playing very hard against each other,” CNMI team’s Pete Charles Houk said in an interview after the game. He noted that both teams had equal time of ball possession in the raging first half.

That equality lingered all the way to the presentation of awards that followed after the game as the match commissioner cited inadequate lighting in the field for an over time, thus, declaring CNMI and Guam co-champions of this years’ Cup.

The dawn was over when the time was up so it was decided not to go on with a tie-breaking extra minutes “to avoid unnecessary injuries.” Indeed.

At least five players—four with CNMI and one with Guam—went flat on the ground shrieking in pain due to cramps.

Except for Gilmark “Arkie” Resoura who still managed to rise back on his feet despite cramps on both legs, both team’s casualties left the field on stretcher.

The CNMI begun to have the advantage as early as the middle of the first half when team captain Nick Swaim immediately figured out who in Guam team they need to get rid of.

“Get the No. 12, Get the No. 12,” he always commanded every time they were in the defense. It worked really well depriving Cunliffe the ball and the clear view of the goal all the way to the end of the first half.

For Team Guam, there were so many NMI attackers to get rid of. The one that goalie, Brett Maluweng appeared too confident about was Joe Miller who always poised to attack from the center.

In the 68th minute, Miller was approaching right from the center where he always did from the very start. The ball came his way. Maluweng brace himself for the short-range hit, he knew would he get it.

Guam’s burly goalie blocked the first kick, but the ball bounced off his hands giving Miller another chance then, boom. The audience exploded in cheers, 1-0 CNMI.

Maluweng was sprawling on the ground when he watched the ball hitting the net.

NMI goalie Chris Nelson did excellent defense. In the 40th minute, the ever aggressive Cunliffe nearly hurt him when he grabbed the ball on its way into the box. They stood and held chests up against each other. This earned Cunliffe a yellow card.

Swaim proved himself right about Cunliffe.

With 15 minutes left in the ball game, Cunliffe was a few yards off the goal when he got the ball. His one kick to the right corner of the goal led the Guam Team to jubilate.

Both teams stood their ground in the remaining minutes that ran out with the score, still 1-1.

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