Football: The national team who is one their way to Qatar to play the 2022 World Cup host were reminded of the hurdle to a football World Cup.

The Dragon boys were beaten 2-0 by the Cambodian national team in an international friendly game at the Olympic Stadium yesterday.

From the first whistle, the Cambodians ensured that they were not taking the friendly match lightly and started putting pressure on the Bhutanese. However, a strong defence line of the Dragon Boys prevented several onrushing Cambodian strikers from scoring an early goal.

But the defence was finally breached in the 17th minute when defender Rous Sam Oeun scored catching goalie Hari Gurung in no man’s land. The first half ended 1-0 with Bhutanese mostly playing catch up.

Another goal in the 58th minute from striker Keo Sokpheng sealed the victory for the home team.

Striker Chencho Gyeltshen and midfielder Karma Shedrup Tshering had a few opportunities to get the Dragon Boys back in the game but the more agile and faster home players got the best of the game.

Bhutan’s head coach Norio Tsukitate said that the friendly game served its purpose well. “All we wanted was a good experience for our qualifying games. Today was a good experience for us,” he said.

“We tried our best to score a goal and end this continuous streak of zeros that we have been conceding lately. But today was not the day. We’ll train harder and get better for our next game,” coach Norio said.

Cambodian head coach, Tae Hoon Lee, told Kuensel that his team could have performed better. “Most of our players are injured. We gave our best and the Bhutanese team seemed to lack team balance which we took advantage of,” he said.

“We had the home advantage and the support from the crowd made up for our injuries.”

More than 8,000 football enthusiasts flocked the Olympic Stadium to witness the match.  The national team will leave for Kuwait today to acclimatise before the game against Qatar on September 3.

Younten Tshedup, Cambodia