Thimphu City draw with Club Valencia
Thimphu City FC drew 0-0 against Maldivian Club Valencia in the first leg of the AFC Cup preliminary round (South Asia Zone) at Changlingmithang Stadium on 31 January.
The national champions, Thimphu City FC, managed to get a point against the Maldivian national champions, Club Valencia, but failed score goals. The City FC missed several opportunities with some clumsy passes.
Club Valencia managed make several attempts against Thimphu City FC but struggled to land a winning blow.
The club created two good chances in the first half. The first attempt was blocked by Thimphu City goalkeeper and the next attempt by defenders Nima Wangdi and Jigme T. Dorji.
Bhutan’s star player, Chencho Gyeltshen, was on the bench in the first half since the organisers couldn’t contact Chencho’s agent over phone.
However, the second half of the match turned into a different game as Chencho Gyeltshen decided to play with the need for additional energy in the team which made the match difficult to the Valencia.
The head coach of Club Valencia, Mohamed Iqbal, said that his team could have struggled if Chencho Gyeltshen had been part of the game from the start. However, he said that the players had a good game against Thimphu FC in the match played at six degrees.
According to the players, Club Valencia came to Bhutan for the match with 10 practice sessions. The high elevation during the winter season made them vulnerable to degradation from players.
Thimphu City enjoyed their best season to date in 2016 as they topped the Thimphu League before edging Druk United by two points to win the Bhutan League for the first time. They are the first club from Bhutan to earn a spot in this stage of the AFC Cup.
Club Valencia earned a spot in the AFC Cup Maldives FA Cup title after struggling in the 2016 Divehi Premier League and narrowly avoiding relegation.
Valencia also appeared in the AFC Cup three times in 2004, 2005 and 2009 respectively but has yet to get past the group stage.
About 4,000 spectators gathered in the cold evening to watch the national champions taking on the islanders expecting the team.
The players are expected to leave next week on 7 February in Maldives for the second leg of the round at the national stadium in Male.