A lone striker in front, Bhutan played strategically defensive with a young under-19 amateur squad against India. Captain Norbu Dhendup and the Yeedzin FC left back Pema Rinzin kept the defense wall tight causing frequent head scratching troubles to the India’s forwards Sunil Chettri, Abranches and Miranda. India couldn’t penetrate Bhutan’s well-organized aggressive defense for the first 30 minutes. We were beaten by a couple of goals in the first half and the hope of coming back was presumably high. Goalie Mon Bdr. Bhattarai was phenomenal, making numerous magnificent saves. The commentator marked him a “brave young man”.
However, Bhutan at all didn’t threaten their opponents. In the solid 90 minutes, Bhutan couldn’t hit a single attempt on the target. The only corner in the second half was a waste as the Singaporean referee whistled for an India player for foul.
The lone striker was easily outnumbered by the India defenders. There was low level of confidence level due to lack of exposure. Bhutan made numerous un-concentrated long range passes and easily losing the possession to the opponents. Bhutan hardly kept the ball possession.
Bhutan showed convincing confidence and skills for the first 15 minutes of the second half. But after the third goal in the last quarter of the match, Bhutan were intimidated and worn out. Bhutan would have conceded about four more goals had India not misfired and wasted some perfect chances.
But the result was fair and as expected to the Bhutan’s Japanese coach and Bhutanese football fans. The commentator announced, “With the small population and poor sports infrastructure, Bhutan is growing in stature. Such exposure does the boost.”
With the talents we have seen in the young Bhutanese squad, we expect the BOC to come up with many sports infrastructure and resources in Bhutan. The only half-baked Changlimithang stadium and deserted football field of Changjiji are never answering Bhutan’s athletes and sportsmen's hunger and thirst for the sports.
Bhutan's first 11 lineup: Mon Bdr Bhattrai, Sangay Khandu (Yeshi Samdrup, 61st), Nawang Dendup, Sonam Tenzin (Karma Tshering, 71st), Nim Sangay, Pema Rinchen, Thinley Dorji, Man Bahadur Gurung, Tshering Dorji, Chencho Gyeltshen (Tshering Dendup, 88th), Jigme Tshering Dorjee.
Group A: Bhutan, India, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka.
Group B: Pakistan, Bangladesh, Maldives and Nepal.
Bhutan are ranked 198 and are the lowest ranked team in the competition.