Bhutan’s Dragon Boys Starts FIFA World Cup Qualifiers With A 1-0 Win Over Guam


Midfielder, Tshering Dorji’s 35th minute strike was enough to make Bhutan win the first leg of the first round of the 2022 World Cup and 2023 AFC Asian Cup joint-qualifiers.

(Source: Asian Football Club)


By Tshering Dorji Kuensel

The Changlimethang stadium witnessed another historic victory on 6 June as the Dragon boys kick-started the FIFA World Cup preliminary round with a win over Guam.

About 8,000 spectators flooded the stadium, donning the national colours of Bhutan while chanting “Palden Drukpa Gyelo.” The crowd greeted the national team with a moving wave from one end of the stadium to the other, and back.

Midfielder, Tshering Dorji’s 35th minute strike was enough to make Bhutan win the first leg of the first round of the 2022 World Cup and 2023 AFC Asian Cup joint-qualifiers.

He did the same in Sri Lanka in 2015 for the 2018 FIFA World Cup first round qualifiers, where Bhutan beat Sri Lanka 2-1 on aggregate.

Bhutan vs Guam for the second time

This is the second time that Guam has faced Bhutan at Changlimethang. The first was in 2003 for the Asian Cup Qualifiers. Guam has never defeated Bhutan on its home soil.


Photo: Fox Sports Asia


In 2003, Bhutan thrashed Guam, 6-0. There were some resemblance between the two matches.  

If Bhutan launched its first attack with an acrobatic overhead kick from forward Chuma Dorji Lepcha (which the Guam goalie Dallas Jaye saved), then the 2003 match also began with a bicycle kick, which was ruled off side.

The first goal in 2003 was scored in the 32nd minute by Wangay Dorji, which is only three minutes earlier than yesterday’s goal.

Coach Pema, who was at the helm of the Bhutanese side, was also a part of the 2003 squad. He even scored the fifth goal in the dying minutes.

At the post-match press conference, Coach Pema said that Guam is now a better team, with some of its players playing in the United States.

“But we have also come a long way,” he said.


Source: Youtube/SYM Football Official


The Dragon Boys could have achieved the same score line as it did in 2003 but could not capitalise on more than seven chances in the second half alone.

Bhutan starts the FIFA World Cup qualifiers with a win and the Midfielder - Chimi Dorji is the man of the match.

Last minute Football fans rush for tickets for the Bhuitan- Guam game yesterday at Changlimethang (Photo: Karma Dupchu)

The Bhutanese star, Chencho Gyeltshen became a nuisance for the Guam defence along the left wing. He created several chances for the Dragon Boys, driving deep into the opponent’s box.

In the second half, Bhutan kept pressing forward by not relying on the lone goal. Apart from a few counter attacks, the Guam side could not penetrate the tight Bhutanese backline led by Chencho, the senior most Bhutanese player and the only one left from the 2003 squad that faced Guam.

When Guam created a rare chance, goalie Tshering Dendup stood tall by saving a one-on-one chance from the Guam forward, a minute after taking the lead.


Photo: Twitter/Bhutan Football


Chimi Dorji, who was composed and swift in the midfield, was declared as the ‘man’ of the match.

Guam’s head coach, Karl Dennis Dodd said that he was not happy with the results and the game.

“But every mistake is a lesson and we will come back better in the second leg,” he said, adding that the burning temperature in Guam would probably favour their side.

“But this is not an excuse,” he added.

Bhutan is focussed on winning

Bhutan’s Head Coach, Pema said the boys gave their 100 percent and that the team focused on their strategy to go all-out to attack and defend altogether.

“We will give our 100 percent in Guam,” he said, adding that his concern is the short travel time between the games, which could exhaust the players.

Ten teams - Malaysia, Cambodia, Macau, Laos, Bhutan, Mongolia, Bangladesh, Guam, Brunei, Timor-Leste, Pakistan and Sri Lanka (ranked lowest in Asia in the FIFA World rankings) are competing in the first round of the 2022 World Cup and 2023 AFC Asian Cup joint-qualifiers.

Guam will host the second leg on 11 June 2019. The winners from each tie will make it to the second round of the World Cup Qualifiers which will begin in September this year.


This article first appeared in Kuensel and has been edited for Daily Bhutan.


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