Bhutan and the Maldives’ history on the football pitch dates back to 1984 when the two teams met during the South Asian Federation Games. Both the matches played during the games went in favour of the Maldives one goal to nil.
The two nations did not meet for another 19 years after the South Asian Federation Games. In January 2003, the Maldives claimed one of their biggest victories over Bhutan- winning 6-0 at the South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) Championship.
Five more matches have been played since the 6-0 thumping and yet Bhutan has not been able to break the duck against the island nation. However, Changlimithang is buzzing as echos of the late Bhutanese resurgence in October 2015 reminiscences.
The Maldives has not been in fine fettle coming into today’s game at the Changlimithang, losing two and drawing one of their past three matches.
Bhutan will look to capitalise and inflict another defeat upon them despite the Maldivian head coach, Darren Stewart, insisting his players are in fine form.
For Bhutan, it was evident at the pre-match press conference, yesterday, that the 14-0 pounding by Oman has had its impact. Frank Spittler mentioning the need of a complete overhaul in performance from the Oman game.
Bhutan will rely heavily on striker Chencho Gyeltshen and Tshering Dorji to deliver. For Maldives, their captain and midfielder Ashadh Ali will play a key role in providing creative solution and defensive stability.
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