Paro FC thrashed Prince FC from West Bengal, India in the last group stage match of the Samtse championship to finish on the top of group B yesterday.
Paro FC’s 6-2 win over Prince FC also helped Thimphu City FC confirm their semi-final spot after the latter registered a win against Quess East Bengal Academy FC on January 18.
With all group stage matches over, the first edition of the championship will see only local clubs qualify for the semi-finals that begin tomorrow.
Paro FC topped the table with seven points and entered the semi-finals undefeated. Thimphu City FC finished second with four points from group B.
Meanwhile, in the final group stage match between Ugyen Academy FC and Pran Jaigaon FC of group A, Chuma Dorji’s lone goal in the early half knocked Pran Jaigaon FC out of the tournament.
Ugyen Academy FC’s 1-0 win over Pran Jaigaon FC also helped Transport United FC of the same group qualify to the semi-final. A draw or win against Ugyen Academy FC was what Pran Jaigaon FC waited for to reach the semi-final round.
With Paro FC, Thimphu City FC, Ugyen Academy FC, and Transport United FC qualifying for the semi-final, Samtse championship will be the repeat of the National league 2018 final round, which saw the same four teams compete for the title last year.
The first semi-final will be between Ugyen Academy FC and Thimphu City FC tomorrow. The former finished undefeated in the group stage and the latter recorded a draw, a loss, and a win in the group stage.
In the last two meetings between the two at the national league 2018, both matches ended 1-1 draw at Punakha and Changlingmithang. The two will play for the third time tomorrow.
An official from Thimphu City FC said Ugyen Academy FC would be the favorite team to win. “They are in good form and have a young squad with high team spirit. We will be going into the semis with injured players.”
Ugyen Academy FC went ahead to play Samtse championship after losing in the national school football final to Pelkhil FC in Tsirang.
Ugyen Academy FC’s head coach Kinley Dorji said the school level competition helped the players gain good exposure and practice.
“We were sure to win the national school level football championship in Tsirang but lost in the final. The situation is similar here but we are being extra cautious. We are quite confident to lift the title,” said the coach.
The second semi-final between Paro FC and Transport United FC will also see the champions and the first runner up of the national league 2018 play for the third time in two consecutive years.
Paro FC has won all matches against Transport United FC to date. Paro FC has the advantage of having signed players from Thimphu City FC and Transport United FC and also remains undefeated in the championship.
Transport United FC lost five consistent players who played with the club in the domestic competitions until last year.
All four clubs from West Bengal, India were knocked out from the group stage.