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Kuala Lumpur: Gary White believes Chinese Taipei could look back on their shock win over Bahrain in Group E qualifying for the 2019 AFC Asian Cup Finals and see it as a major turning point in the status of the game on the baseball-mad island.

Chen Po-liang and Chu En-le scored in the dying minutes to earn Chinese Taipei their second win in three qualifying matches and White his first competitive win at the helm after taking over in mid-September.

“All the players were giants,” said the Englishman, who previously worked in Guam. “They gave everything. The fans were amazing. The Chinese Taipei Football Association too..

“There is huge potential for football here and hopefully this game can be the start of something that will be remembered in 10 years’ time as a turning point. 

“We have beaten a very good side tonight.”

Bahrain had won the previous meeting between the teams in Riffa 5-0 on Matchday Three and coach Miroslav Soukup had warned his side against complacency going into the game in Taipei.

"We expected a different game from the home fixture against Chinese Taipei,” said Soukup. “Their team waere more active and the poor pitch meant we couldn’t play our passing game so well. 

“But we had three or four good chances to score and we didn’t. They had some luck and took their chances at the end and their keeper was their best player. 

“Now we move to the next game but this was a good experience for our players. They need to learn that a football game is for 94 or 95 minutes."

Despite the win, Chinese Taipei remain in third place in the group as Turkmenistan’s 2-1 win over Singapore saw the Central Asian nation pull level on seven points with the Bahrainis. Chinese Taipei have six with Singapore bottom with two as the battle for the two spots in the United Arab Emirates intensifies.

Turkmenistan had a brace from Wahyt Orazsahedow – with the winner coming in injury time - to thank for their 2-1 victory over the Singaporeans, who are now desperately in need of a win against Bahrain on November 14 if they are keep their hopes of progressing intact.

“It was very difficult game for us because Turkmenistan played in front of a lot of fans,” said Singapore coach V Sundramoorthy. 

“We came here to win, but conceded a last minute goal and lost the match. Unfortunately, we lost concentration in both matches against Turkmenistan. We missed victory at home and a draw tonight.

“Turkmenistan hasve good level players and we tried to give battle them with our team game. But we made that mistake in the last seconds and we didn’t win a point even.”

Turkmenistan coach Yazguly Hojageldyyew was relieved that his side managed to pick up the last-gasp win as the country seeks a place at the Asian Cup finals for the first time since 2004. 

“This game was very important for us,” he said. “We thought only about the victory and the players motivation gave us the winning goal in the last minutes. 

“We prepared for the match very seriously and the team is are happy with this victory. Congratulations to the fans for the important three points. They helped us very much today.

“We wanted to win tonight. Singapore are a good team and we had some difficulties in both matches against them. But our players are ready for any situation. They found the motivation to change game away and at home.”

Photos: CTFA, AFC

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