Amateur Soccer Leagues set for Thrilling Finales

By John Phillips
Taipei Times
Saturday, Mar 13, 2010

At least one of Taipei’s amateur soccer leagues will be decided tomorrow as Da-an face the Red Lions needing to win by at least three clear goals to snatch the Carnegies Premier League (CPL) title at 1pm at Taipei’s Dajia Riverside Park.

Across the city at Shilin’s Bai­ling Bridge at 4pm, expat team Taipei City can take a huge step toward clinching their second Businessman’s League (BML) trophy when they take on Sanchung High School.

In a bittersweet twist that is sure to leave many players questioning their loyalties, however, it turns out that the Taipei City squad is composed almost entirely of players who also play for Da-an and the Animals — the very team that Da-an will need to finish above if they’re to steal the CPL crown.

Da-an captain Alex Ramirez — who is also a City player — says the competition has always been good-natured and that “the rivalry is completely forgotten about once we don the Taipei City kit.”

The rivalry does have its downside though. Both leagues play on Sundays, which means players sometimes have to play two full games in a single day.

Ross Conlon, who manages Taipei City and plays for the Animals, says having the players competing against each other in the CPL has made it harder for City to be competitive.

“Toward the end of the season, both sets of players have been going all-out to win the CPL, so by the time they turn up to play for City they are already tired,” he said.
If Da-an do snatch the title, it will be an outcome few would have predicted. They have yet to occupy pole position. The current leaders, the Animals, have been on top since last summer, but the loss of some key players and a dip in form have left the door ajar for Da-an to win by the slightest of margins.

With the Animals having already completed all their games for the season, Da-an go into tomorrow’s game knowing that a victory by three goals would put them level on points and goal difference, but would see them crowned champions for their superior tally of goals scored.

In the BML, Taipei City face Sanchung High School knowing that three points would leave second-placed Fritz needing snookers to retain their title. City returned to action after the Chinese New Year break with 11-3 and 2-0 wins against the bottom two clubs Southeasterly and Dentway respectively.  Now with three games to go, City are nine points ahead of Fritz, who have a game in hand, and City’s goal difference is eight better, so a victory would mean they just need to avoid defeat in one of their last two games. Defeat could mean a big finish, with City and Fritz meeting on the final day.

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