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Match Preview: City vs Tensung

With back-to-back positive outcomes, the defending champions and current league leaders will face Tensung FC this Sunday at Changlimithang. This will be their eighth meeting since the return of Tensung FC in Bhutanese football.

City has maintained a 100% record against our next opponents, scoring 42 of 47 goals along the way. The reds’ biggest win in this encounter in all competition came in the Thimphu League of 2016 when the returnees were beaten 10 goals to nothing. The gap has narrowed since then, with City winning 4-1 the last time the two teams played. Kencho Tobgay, Karma Shedrup, Tshering Dorji and Dawa Tshering made the score 4-0 until Gaki Penjor pulled one back in the 86th minute.

TCFC are currently leading the league table on goal difference with level on points with fellow contender Paro FC. They are the only two teams without a single loss so far, pushing each other to the limits. If things remain as they are, the title decider would be taken to the final showdown of 2021 at Woochu Sports Arena. A slight loss of focus by any of the two sides would be otherwise.

The reds have been in their best form ever since the takeover by Ngawang Dhendup. The club has lost only twice in all competitions since the beginning of season 2020; losing 3-2 against Ugyen Academy in the domestic league and 2-0 against Club Eagles in the continental competition. Ngawang and his boys have recorded 112 goals in 27 domestic league games and conceded only 26. Skipper Tshering Dorji is not a natural striker but he has been in his best shape under the new boss, scoring 23 times and creating nine other in 27 games. This season, he has found the net 11 times already.

At the back, 20-year-old Tenzin Norbu looks to have cemented his place as the first choice centre-back. Since the departure of Mipham Jigme, there has been a rotation of who would accompany Norbu, but Phuntsho Jigme has recently stepped forward to establish a powerful pair. Bella has in fact scored in three consecutive games including the equalizer against UA.

The game against TFC could potentially see the return of midfield-magician Orgyen Wangchuk. After earning two yellow cards against UA in Punakha, Orgyen was banned for one game. Another productive player who might return is Karma Shedrup, who was also suspended when his yellow card limit was depleted.

Opponent’s form
The soldiers have been on a winless run since beating Gelephu FC in the last game of round one. The team has managed to secure only one point out of possible 12 in the current round. But that being said, three of the last four games were against the sides currently seated in top four positions. Except for the 2-0 stunner against Ugyen Academy, Tensung has struggled against the six teams placed above them in the table.

The win against UA also saw them maintain their only clean sheet in 13 games. In fact only three bottom-placed clubs have allowed more goals than TFC’s 33. Their present defensive form may not appreciate the prospect of facing a club that is currently in a free-scoring mentality. Tensung has had trouble shutting down its opponents. But they’ve also had trouble scoring goals. The soldiers have scored only in six of the 13 games played so far, and only once in the last four. The team is heavily dependent on their star-striker Ngawang Tobgay, who’s scored 10 of their 13 goals.

On a positive note, with one game less, the team has already equalled their last season’s 13 points and registered four wins, which is one more than 2020’s total. They had upped their performance level against Paro FC in their last game. If Nidup had made a decent clearing and the penalty had not been saved, the score would have been 1-1 at halftime and the game may have ended differently. High Quality Utd were also made to work hard just four games ago. It took a phenomenal header from former reds Chencho to break the deadlock in the 63rd minute, which would have been too difficult for any goalkeeper. Tensung is a team capable of causing upsets. They did it last season against Transport and this season against UA. And they have every right and ability to influence the ultimate destiny of the Bhutanese football’s coveted trophy this season as well.

The match will be played this Sunday at Changlimithang.