National under-18 women’s team thrashed the Maldives 13-0 in Changlingmithang, Thimphu to become the first team from the pool A to qualify for the semi final at the ongoing SAFF under-18 Women’s championship yesterday.
The win against the Islanders is the biggest after the under-15 girls held the record of 6-0 win against Sri Lanka in SAFF U-15 championship last month.
Having lost the opening game to India, a win was the only option for the host to stay alive in the championship.
Unlike in the previous games, Bhutan’s coach, Sung Jung Lee, started with Yeshey Bidha and Deki Lhamo who have the maximum international game experience and also have their name listed in SAFF U-15 championships’ score sheet.
It took only three minutes for Yeshey Bidha to score an opener. Four minutes later, the forward headed in her second from a missed overhead kick from Deki Lhamo.
Playing regional championship for the first time in the stadium located at one of the highest points in the region, the Islanders faced some difficulty. The host dominated the game.
Scoring her first in the 16th minute from a penalty kick, midfielder Sonam Choden managed to score a hat trick in the first half. She is Bhutan’s lone player to record a hat trick in the regional championship to date.
Sonam Choden scored one more goal in the second half to become third highest scorer after Nepals’ Rekha Poudel and Bangladesh’s Mossamat Sirat, who scored seven goals each against Pakistan.
All three have been declared player of the match.
Acknowledging the home crowd for the supports, Sonam Choden said the team had no idea how the Maldives would play. “We thought it would be a tough game for us. However, we worked hard and played well to bring the result in our favour. It was our first win,” she said.
The Maldives coach, Anil Ismail, said the players did their best to stop the host from scoring. “They did not play such championship before and I am proud that they gave their stamina for whole 90 minutes at this elevation,” he said. “ They are young and we are planning for the future. Our future team will be better.”
Raining goals and the first aid officials coming in to assist the tired Islanders falling, kept the attacking third of the Maldives packed with actions. The match recorded the second highest goals scored in one match in the ongoing championship.
Five more players after Yeshey Bidha and Sonam Choden entered the score tally scoring at least one goal. Suk Maya Galley and Tandin Wangmo scored a goal each; Galley Wangmo and Namgyel Dem a brace each.
Jamyang Choden came in substitution to find herself in the score sheet.
Starting against the Maldives, goalkeeper Ngawang Chozom recorded a clean sheet yesterday.
Meanwhile, Bangladesh recorded the biggest win of the championship, defeating Pakistan 17-0 yesterday. Pakistan suffered two consecutive losses to become the first team to exit the championship.
Finishing second in pool A, Bhutan will play the winner of pool B, either Nepal or Bangladesh in the semi-final match on October 5.