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  • Justin Grimm

Mongolia Loses to Taiwan, 2-4

On February 29, 2000 the Blue Wolves competed in their first official friendly match, and one of their first matches period, after joining FIFA almost two years earlier. That 1-8 defeat to Uzbekistan in Tashkent remained the team's only official friendly for nearly 18 years until Mongolia took on Taiwan in Taipei on October 5th. Although the match ended in a 2-4 defeat, the team performed respectably against an opponent ranked almost 50 places higher in the FIFA rankings. Mongolia took an early lead with Tsagaantsoojiin Mönkh-Erdene scoring his first goal for Mongolia in only the 5th minute. Mongolia almost took the lead into the halftime break before Chen Hao-wei equalized in the 42nd minute. 2017 MPL top scorer Nyam-Osoryn Naranbold scored in the 75th minute to bring the score to 2-3 but Taiwan added a goal late for the 4-2 victory.

The match marked German head coach Michael Weiß's first official match in charge of the senior team since taking over in January. He previously managed the under-23 side in 2018 AFC U-23 Championship qualification. His stated objective is to improve the team by organizing more official matches. This friendly inspires hope with the result, but also simply because it was played.

At age 25 Nyam-Osoryn Naranbold has already placed himself among Mongolia's top scorers of all-time with his fourth international goal. He's now only 4 behind Donorovyn Lümbengarav's record of 8. The goal also makes him only the third Mongolian to score in an official friendly, following only Tsagaantsooj Enkhtur who scored in the match in 2000 and Tsagaantsoojiin Mönkh-Erdene who scored earlier in the same match as Naranbold.

One notable absence from the squad was 17-year-old wunderkind Ganbold Ganbayar who Weiß included in the under-23 squad in July but has yet to be included in a senior squad. One possible reason for the exclusion is that the player returned to Hungary in August to resume training with Puskas Akademia FC and may need to solidify his place at the club. Also, it can be expected that Ganbayar will be included in Mongolia's squad for 2018 AFC U-19 Championship qualification in early November and may not be able to miss even more time with his club.

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