SAFF Championships Group Stage
Halchowk Stadium, Kathmandu, Nepal
Bhutan 2-8 Maldives
This is the first time in three meeting that Bhutan have managed to find a way to the Maldivian net, so doing so twice, despite the predictable hefty defeat, is rather pleasing.
However that tells only a fraction of the story. Bhutan fell behind early, but two first half goals from Passang Tschering and Chencho Gyeltshen actually put Bhutan into the lead. It could even have been better, with Tshering Dorji hitting the post prior to Bhutan’s first.
Tschering’s goal was a nice header from a right wing cross, and Gyeltshen scored on a quick counter attack with Maldives leaving too many men upfield.
Sadly right on half-time it all went awry. Not only did Maldives equalise three minutes into stoppage time, but the Bhutan goalkeeper Leki Dukpa was sent off for bringing down Maldives striker Ali Ashfaq just outside the box. To make matters worse, the resulting free-kick brought the equaliser.
After all that drama, the second half was rather more one-sided. An excellent first half, undone by a red card and a resulting second half collapse.
In the other group match Afghanistan beat Sri Lanka 3-1, meaning the qualification places are taken by them and the Maldives with two wins apiece. While those two battle it out for top spot, Bhutan and Sri Lanka can argue over the wooden spoon.
Highlights can be seen here…