A 35th-minute goal from Tshering Dorji took Bhutan to an important 1-0 win over Guam in the first leg of the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers first round at the picturesque Changlimithang Stadium in Thimphu on Thursday.
Bhutan came off the blocks flying with the Dragon Boys almost scoring with a spectacular effort in the sixth minute. Forward Chuma Dorji Lepcha applied the sweetest of connection with an overhead kick on target, but Guam goalkeeper Dallas Jaye pulled off an equally impressive save to keep the score level.
— Bhutan Football (@BhutanFootball) June 6, 2019
Guam had the opportunity to score against the run of play when they were awarded an indirect free kick inside the box in the 13th minute as Bhutan goalkeeper Tshering Dendup handled a back pass. However, the home team’s defensive wall did its job to block the visitors’ effort.
Chencho Gyeltshen, who plies his trade in India with Bengaluru FC, was turning out be a nuisance for the Guam defence along the left wing and he carved out another chance a couple of minutes later which was fired inches wide of the goal by Karma Shedrup Tshering.
Another chance fell for the visitors in the 24th minute when Ian Mariano went one-on-one with goalkeeper Dendup who produced a brilliant save with his foot to deflect the Guam forward’s effort just wide of the goal.
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Bhutan finally went ahead deservedly in the 35th minute when full-back Nima Wandi’s overlapping run created problems for the Guam defence. The right-back got to the byline and crossed towards the middle where Dorji applied the finish through the legs of the opposition goalkeeper to make it 1-0.
The visitors almost produced an instant equaliser when Bhutan goalkeeper Dendup once again conjured a fantastic save this time denying Marcus Lopez from close quarters.
Chencho had the first major chance of the second half when he failed trying to place his effort into the top corner at the half hour mark. There were chances for Guam also which they failed to utilise while substitute Kuenga Rabgay hit the crossbar for Bhutan in the 86th minute with a cross from the left.
The brilliant supporters at the Thimphu venue erupted into cheers when the referee blew the final whistle confirming the 1-0 win for Bhutan at home. They will now travel to Dededo where they will play the second leg at the Guam FA National Training Centre on June 11.
(Photo courtesy: Bhutan Football)