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Tricky stretch begins

As the season draws near conclusion, the league leaders face a tricky stretch of remaining schedule. This Sunday’s match against Druk Lhayul FC will be the first of City’s four consecutive meetings against top-five teams of 2021.

TCFC has made a strong start to round two winning all five games so far. Reds were, anyway, expected to comfortably cruise through those fixtures, with the exception of the encounter against last year’s runners-up. The trip to Punakha was always expected to be a complicated one, given that they held the league leaders to a draw despite their dip in form, as well as that the UA Ground has never been City’s preferred poaching site. City also suffered their only loss in their title-winning 2020 season at this very ground. However, this time, a goal from each of the two Nimas in each side of the break was enough for TCFC to win the clash. With the victories, City leapfrogged Paro FC and maintained its position as the league leader so far.

With the title contenders sniffing right around the neck, Ngawang Dhendup’s boys can’t afford to lose concentration now as they prepare to play back-to-back games against Bhutan’s top five. Since the start of round two, the top five clubs have gone five games without losing. Apart from Thimphu City, High Quality United (fourth position) is the only team to have secured all 15 points in this round. Our next opponent, Druk Lhayul, is presently in fifth place, having held Transport United (third position) and Paro FC (second position) to a draw each.

In the reverse fixture back in June, City triumphed a 2-1 win over the champions of Thimphu. Divine favour was bestowed when our very own celestial bodies, Nima (sun), Dawa (moon) and Karma (star), combined to break the deadlock. A quick thinking pass from Dawa Tshering from the left flank to find Karma Sonam running deep on the right side left the defenders wandering. Nima Tshering then took advantage of the situation and promptly took a first touch tap from Karma’s pass to take the lead in the 12th minute. 25 minutes later Dawa doubled the lead for the Cityzens. Dorji managed to pull one back just before the break but it proved to be too little to bring down City that evening.

Opponent’s Form
Druk Lhayul has already stamped their reputation in the league as one of the most feared despite it being their maiden season. Although, as Nima Wangdi pointed back in June, they are a new team but their players aren’t. Captain Dorji is one of Bhutanese football’s most lethal attackers. From his stint at Thimphu FC and Transport United, he has a plethora of top-flight expertise. He has been one of Sonam Tenzin’s most consistent performers this season, scoring goal after goal. But lately one of the other players to enjoy the goal galore is former reds Kezang Penjor. The two in-form forwards have scored a combined total of 14 goals out of 29 for Druk Lhayul this season.

They’ve also been able to defend their goal, with only three teams conceding fewer goals than they have. Druk Lhayul’s three clean sheets in the past six games were against Transport United twice and Paro FC once, two of the four teams who have scored more than 40 goals so far.

Will City be able to continue it’s winning streak? Or will Druk Lhayul continue to dismantle the top three? This Sunday will be the first of four exciting games City will participate in.