Thimphu City FC managed to take only a point as the boys in red had to comeback from behind to settle for a 1-1 draw against Ugyen Academy at Changlimethang today.
Ngawang Dhendup named only two changes to the side that beat High Quality United last week. Veteran forward Bumlay was called up to start for the first time this season. Chutur was the other change having not started since our win over Transport United last month. He was also the captain of the day with Tshering Dorji on the bench. With the unavailability of our centrepiece of the backline, Tenzin Norbu, Bella and Nima Tshering formed a makeshift centre-back partnership.
All eyes were on the high flying home side as TCFC had become a team to beat under coach Ngawang. For Ugyen Academy, a strong showing against the league leaders would be a huge lift as they try to recover from their worst start ever. As expected, the game was closely contested in the first half and neither sides were able to capitalize on the chances created. Reds made an early change just after half hour mark in an attempt to change the game and brought in captain fantastic and sensational forward Tshering Dorji. First half ended with both teams failing to break the deadlock.
Thimphu City had 85 percent ball control making 388 passes, and eight of the twelve shots on target. Despite some blazing stats in favour of the host, Ugyen Academy took the lead through Karma Cheltrim’s freekick in the 68th minute. City’s unbeaten streak was restored in the 81st minute when Orgyen’s corner-kick was converted by Bella.
After the game, the coach was asked if Tenzin Norbu’s absence was felt today and if the outcome would have been different if he had been available. “Yeah, if Tenzin was there I may have good striker ahead” he responded. With the suspension of Tenzin and minor injury to other defenders, Ngawang had to sacrifice the firepower of Nima Tshering and set him at the back. Nima is, actually, a defender-turned-forward from his days at the BFF Academy and therefore the position is not new.
The standing currently looks unchanged with Thimphu City having played all nine games of the first round. Paro FC would require a win over High Quality United tomorrow to leapfrog the reds and take the top spot at the end of round one.