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On 2 September Mongolia opened its EAFF Round 1 campaign with high hopes and hopeful expectations. With a string of recent successes and having home field advantage in the competition for the first time, not many people could doubt them.
After a convincing 4-1 victory against Macau on matchday one, a match in which they never trailed, Mongolian fans finally had a reason to be optimistic.
Matchday two only added fuel to the fire as Mongolia ran rampant against Minnows the Northern Mariana Islands. The 9-0 victory set a new team record and saw five different players open their international accounts.
Going into the final matchday, Mongolia needed only a manageable draw with Guam to advance. Guam needed to win to take the qualifying spot.
Mongolia thought they had their ticket to the next round booked as the teams were stuck in a 0-0 deadlock in the 89th minute. However, Blue Wolves fans thought they were reliving old nightmares as Jonathan Mendiola scored to give Guam the lead.
Entering stoppage time, the Mongolian players looked desperate to score, throwing ten men forward. Entering the 4th+ minute, the fans and players erupted in euphoria Norjmoogiin Tsedenbal finally equalized, securing the draw with the last-gasp strike.
For his efforts, Norjmoogiin was given the MVP award while breakout Mongolian player Baljinnyam Batbold was awarded the Golden Boot for his three tallies.
Mongolia will have one month to enjoy their historic qualification before they take on Singapore and Laos in October friendlies in preparation for round 2.
Round two fixtures have been announced. All matches will take place at the Taipei Municipal Stadium in Taiwan.
1. 11 November-Mongolia vs. North Korea
2. 13 November-Mongolia vs. Taiwan
3. 16 November-Mongolia vs. Hong Kong