Mongolia Suffers Disappointing Loss to Mauritius, 2-0
Coming off of a satisfying 2-2 draw away at Malaysia only five days ago, Mongolia surely went into today's historic friendly with optimism.That positively was short-lived as Mongolia went from taking a penalty kick to being a goal down within a minute before the clock even struck the sixth minute.
A large and raucous crowd filled the MFF Football Center Stadium to see the Blue Wolves take on Mauritius in the team's first-ever home friendly; first home match of any kind in over three years; and first time facing a non-Asian opponent.
The crowd was elated as Mongolia was awarded a free kick in only the third minute which resulted in a handball on a Mauritius player inside the box as his teammate tried to clear the ball to safety.
Mönkh-Erdeniin Tögöldör stepped up to take the resulting penalty kick with Enkhbileg Purevdorj, hero of the match against Malaysia, ready to pounce on any rebounds. Unfortunately for Mongolia, the Erchim player's shot was a weak attempt to the bottom left corner of the net which the Mauritius goalkeeper saw all the way, smothering any possible rebounds.
To deflate the crowd even more, one the resultant free kick downfield by the Mauritius goalkeeper, one of his teammates latched onto the ball and sent in a dangerous ball from outside the box on the left flank that managed to make it way through everyone and hit the far post. A Mongolian defender tried to clear the ball but got it only as far as Mauritius forward Jonathan Justin who easily tapped it into the net. It was the French-based striker's first international goal.
Mauritius controlled much of the tempo of the match with Mongolia occasionally showing flashes of skill. As the Blue Wolves players became frustrated, play became sloppy resulting in two yellow cards before the end of the first half.
Perhaps the next best chance for Mongolia to score came in the 33rd minute as striker Batbold Tögsbileg sent in a dangerous free kick from outside the box on the right flank that the Mauritius goalkeeper had to punch away before being cleared out of danger.
Again a Mongolian chance turned into a Mauritius result.
After being cleared from the Mauritius box, their #9 took the ball the entire length of the field before his outlet pass was knocked around, ultimately ending in a corner for the visitors. The corner kick was whipped into the box and resulted in a glancing header by #2 Jean-Fabrice Augustin that found its way into the net in the 34th minute.
Following the half-time break, neither team could make a breakthrough and the scoreline remained 2-0 in favor of the visitors until the final whistle.
Overall, despite the disappointing result from a match that could have create some strong momentum going into EAFF Championship qualification, the Blue Wolves showed flashes of promise against an opponent ranked over 30 places higher in the FIFA World Rankings with a roster of professionals.
Mongolia has no other matches scheduled, with EAFF Championship qualification expected to begin in early July 2018.