Staff reporter  

Despite dominating ball possession yesterday against the Maldives and netting twice, Bhutan couldn’t make it to the semifinal of the SAFF Under-16 Championship in Thimphu. 

Bhutan lost 3-2 to the visitors at the Changlimithang Stadium.  

Mohamed Ilan Imran of the Maldives slotted an early goal within first three minutes into the game.

Despite their early lead, the local boys kept ball possession and attempted to control the game, but couldn’t capitalise on many chances until the last 10 minutes of the first half.  

Bhutan equalised in the 41st minute through skipper Sonam Dorji following an assist from Kencho Wangdi.

 Bhutan kept pressing despite the Maldives resorting to defensive play.  In the five added minutes of the first half, Captain Sonam Dorji scored his brace from a long range. Sonam attempted from a long distance as the opponent’s goalie was far from the post.  

However, the Maldives equalised a minute later when a shot deflected off a defender. 

The first half ended 2-2.  Bhutan could have scored more goals in the first half had they maintained good pass precision.  

The hosts continued pressing in the second half. However, the opponents snatched their third goal in the 71st minute through Ethan Ibrahim Zaki who was unmarked.  

Then to make matters worse, captain Sonam Dorji was sent off in the dying minutes of the game. 

The Maldives will face India, and Bangladesh will play against Pakistan in the semifinal on September 8.