It was a game of two halves as Catalonia prevailed victorious over top of the table Republic of China. After a 5-4 defeat from the USA the previous day, the Catalans were looking to get themselves 3 points here, whilst the Republic of China were looking to extend their lead at the top of the group.
The first real chance fell to the Catalans, as Marcos Carrasco found himself in space on the right side, fired the ball low across the box, it took a deflection and Kau-Chen Su was forced to tip the ball wide for the corner. Catalonia had began the game extremely well, and less than five minutes into the game Republic of China called a time out, the earliest we have seen so far.
The regrouping exercise of a timeout certainly paid of for the Republic of China as they opened the scoring only a minute later. A loose pass from Adria Ballanda was cut out by Ting-Yu Lin, he then fed the ball into the path of Yu-Hui Wen and he finished neatly first time through the legs of Xavier Tarras.
Catalonia almost got themselves back on level terms through Ivan Lopez. After a tangle on the edge of the box, the ball fell kindly for him 10 yards out but Su made a great block and held on to the ball as well.
From that attack, Republic of China made it 2-0, and a great team goal it was too! The move started from Goalkeeper Su, rolled out to Ting-Yu Lin, he beat Dani Sanchez and played it to Yu-Hui Wen. His first time pass was into the path of Yung-Chun Huang who beat onrushing goalkeeper Tarras to double the advantage.
It wasn't long until goal number three arrived, and it was an unfortunate own goal from Alfons Teixidor. A quickly taken corner by Yu-Hui Wen found Lin, he played it back to Wen who fired it across the box, and Teixidor couldn't get himself out the way and the ball deflected in off his calf.
Catalonia battled on however, Carrasco trying his luck from distance on a few occasions, Ivan Lopez also having a couple of efforts on goal, but Su has been equal to everything so far.
With two minutes to go before half time it was almost four for Republic of China. Che-Yang Chang found Yu-Chen Hung and he drove towards goal. Tarras narrowed the angle and made a superb block, with Marc Fernandez on hand to clear the loose ball.
Half Time: Catalonia 0-3 Republic of China
Catalonia returned to the court much earlier than their opposition, and it certainly helped them as they pulled a goal back through Adria Ballada. He drove forward through the middle with the ball, played a lovely one-two with Teixidor, shifted the ball onto his left foot and stabbed it past Su.
Only minutes later Catalonia got another, this time though captain Adrian Ortega. Su rolled the ball to Lin, but his first touch was poor and Ortega nipped in and snatched the loose ball. He powered towards goal and his low drive beat Su. The comeback was on!
The game was end to end, and Republic of China came extremely close to re-storing a two goal advantage. Lin's free kick was deflected of the wall and forced Tarras to pull of a fantastic one handed save to his right, pushing the ball away from goal. Tarras was forced into action again seconds later as Lin found space on the left and stabbed the ball towards goal, but Tarras' right foot was enough to deny him.
Midway through the second half, the comeback was complete as Catalonia got themselves back on level terms. The persistance of Carrasco paid off finally, as he cut inside from the left touchline, one touch to set himself and his long range rasping drive flew past Su into the top corner, sparking mass celebrations from the noisy Catalonian crowd. What a goal from a fantastic player!
That same player sent the Catalonian supporters wild only minutes later with a free kick to rival any famous number 7 in the world. Teixidor was fouled 12 yards from goal, Carrasco stepped up and rifled the ball into the roof of the net. From 3-0 down, the hometown club were 4-3 up.
Four minutes remained as Ballada came agonisingly close to giving Catalonia some breating space. He battled his way down the right side, and fired a low cross across the box that almost caught out Su, but it rolled just passed the post.
Republic of China were throwing bodies forward leaving themselves exposed at the back. A lobbed pass from Carrasco that was aimed towards Fernandez was cut out by Yung-Chun Huang, but his interception deceived goalkeeper Su, and almost found the net but clipped the outside of the post and away for a corner.
With two seconds left on the clock, the victory was sealed for Catalonia when Alfons Teixidor toe-poked the ball home, with all the players and subs grinning from ear to ear.
Full Time: Catalonia 5-3 Republic of China
Catalonia Man of the Match: Marcos Carrasco - His two goals will be extremely difficult to beat in this World Cup, and his all round play was a joy to watch. A real star for his side.
Republic of China Man of the Match: Yu-Hui Wen - He got himself on the scoresheet and was composed with the ball, looking to create attacks as much as possible.
Catalonia Magic Moment: Marcos Carrasco's rasping free kick that sent his side on their way to victory. Goal of the tournament so far from an exceptional player.
Republic of China Magic Moment: The third goal that sent them into half time 3-0 up, and looking very comfortable.