Taiwan is hardly a soccer powerhouse – the Chinese Taipei national team sits 138th in FIFA’s world rankings. But the tiny country has been among the world’s most effective at stamping out the coronavirus threat. Consequently, the Taiwan Football Premier League (TFPL) has joined competitions in Belarus, Nicaragua, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan as one of the few soccer leagues operating amid the COVID-19 pandemic that has decimated the code around the world.
The TFPL’s eight teams are three rounds deep into the 2020 campaign – here’s what you need to know before having a Taiwanese soccer bet.
— The Taiwan Times (@TheTaiwanTimes) April 7, 2020
TATUNG BABY! CHAMPS AIMING FOR FOUR STRAIGHT
The Taiwan Football Premier League came on to the scene in 2017 after the Intercity Football League folded.
The eight TFPL clubs play each other three times in a season that runs from April to October. Like the English Premier League, there’s no finals series: the team that finishes on top of the table after 21 rounds are declared the champions.
The champs also secure a place in the Asian Football Confederation Cup (the second-tier knockout tournament underneath the Asian Champions League), while the second-placed team qualifies for an AFC Cup play-off. The bottom-placed team are automatically relegated to Taiwan’s second division, and the outfit finishing second-last face a relegation play-off.
Tatung FC have dominated the Taiwan Football Premier League since its inception. Based in the capital, Taipei City, and backed by a multinational electronics company (Tatung), the club formed in 1969 but is currently in the midst of its greatest era.
Taking out all three TFPL titles to date, Tatung FC lost a mere four games in total in the 2017–19 seasons. The heavyweights have forged a ferocious rivalry with Taiwan Power Company Football Club (better known as Taipower), which finished runner-up in all three of the league’s seasons so far. Just three points separated the sides in 2019.
Hang Yuen have also proven a solid combination, landing fourth in the inaugural TFPL, and coming third in the 2018 and 2019 seasons.
— Taiwan Football News (@FootballTaiwan) April 23, 2020
TAIPOWER AND THE PASSION AS TFPL BRIDESMAIDS GET OFF TO A FLYER
Taipower are hell-bent on reclaiming the Taiwanese soccer supremacy that saw the club win six of the last eight Intercity Football League titles prior to the advent of the TFPL. The team from Kaohsiung City in southern Taiwan have stolen an early march on the competition, with three straight wins to start 2020.
After overwhelming Tatung FC 3–2 in stoppage time in a season-opening grudge match, Taipower downed Taiwan Steel (1–0) and Ming Chuan University (2–0). Brilliant local Hsiang-Wei Lee has scored four of their six goals.
Tatung FC are languishing in fourth after three rounds – unfamiliar territory for a team that won 54 of their last 70 games coming into this season. They flexed with a 4–0 drubbing of Red Lions FC in round 2 but were held to a shock 2–2 draw by Taichung last weekend after starting as $1.72 favourites.
The exit of Marc-Donald Fenelus to Taiwan Steel could be contributing to Tatung FC’s stumbles. The star striker from the tiny Turks and Caicos Islands won the Taiwan Football Premier League’s Golden Boot for most goals in 2017 and 2018, and claimed the competition’s player of the year award in 2019.
Fenelus has already scored three goals for Taiwan Steel, which sits third with two wins on the board.
Meanwhile, dark horse Hang Yuen are unbeaten in second, with two wins and a draw to show for their April efforts.
— Taiwan Football News (@FootballTaiwan) April 27, 2020
Is there a power shift underway in the Taiwanese Football Premier League, or will Tatung FC rebuff the challenges of Taipower, Hang Yuen and Taiwan Steel? Stay tuned to Sportsbet’s Taiwanese soccer tips, with four TFPL matches each weekend to have a punt on.
Sportsbet has Taiwanese soccer odds and betting options available on every match of the Taiwanese Football Premier League season. Bet now.