Thimphu City FC
drew 0-0 against
Valencia in the first leg of the AFC Cup preliminary round (South Asia Zone) at Changlingmithang
Stadium on 31 January.
The national champi-ons, Thimphu City FC, managed to get a point against the Maldivian national champions, Club Valencia, but failed score goals. The City FC missed several opportu-nities with some clumsy passes.
Club Valencia man-aged make several at-tempts 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 defend-ers 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 Chen-cho’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 play-ers had a good game against Thimphu FC in the match played at six degrees.
According to the play-ers, Club Valencia came to Bhutan for the match with 10 practice sessions. The high elevation dur-ing the winter season made them vulnerable to degradation from play-ers.
Thimphu City enjoyed their best season to date in 2016 as they topped the Thimphu League be-fore 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 af-ter 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 specta-tors gathered in the cold evening to watch the na-tional champions taking on the islanders expect-ing the team.
The players are ex-pected to leave next week on 7 February in Maldives for the second leg of the round at the national stadium in Male.