Bhutan will play against Sri Lanka tomorrow

Thinley Namgay

Bhutan stands a good chance to play in the final after beating the Maldives 2-1 at the ongoing South Asian Games in Kathmandu yesterday.

The under-23 team needs at least a draw against Sri Lanka tomorrow to play in the final on December 10.  

Team Manager and Assistant Coach, Puspalal Sharma said that he was optimistic about the match against Sri Lanka tomorrow and hopes to return with a gift for the nation.  

“With yesterday’s win, Bhutan has confirmed the bronze medal. If we win or draw with Sri Lanka, we’re sure to play the final match.”

This is the first time the under-23 national men’s team won from the Maldives.

Both sides wasted numerous chances to score and the first half ended goalless.

Bhutan broke the deadlock in the 54th minute when Chimi Dorji, who plays for Transport United FC, headed in a perfect cross. Bhutan then hurled more pressure but the opponents resorted to defensive play.

Paro FC player, Phub Thinley doubled the lead with a long-range shot in the 84th minute. Bhutan came close to scoring the third but the skipper Chencho Gyeltshen struck the goalie. The Maldivians pulled back one in the dying minutes of the game through Hamza Mohamed.

The team manager said that the ball possession improved in the second half.

“The fighting spirit of our boys till the dying minutes played an important role and the changes in key roles of players and strategy deployed favoured us. The discussions with the technical team paid off,” Puspalal Sharma said.

There were no injuries except for the left defender, Nima who had to be removed due to thigh contusion in the 16th minute. Chencho also had to be substituted due to a thigh strain in the 85th minute.

Nepali Monks from Sangye  Choeling monastery and athletes from Bhutan were their regular supporters during the game.

Sri Lanka drew the previous two matches against Maldives 0-0 and Nepal 1-1 but lost to Bangladesh 0-1 yesterday.