2nd Leg: Guam 5-0 Bhutan
Dededo: Guam cruised into the next round of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup 2023 Preliminary Joint Qualification after beating Bhutan 5-0 in the second leg on Tuesday, advancing 5-1 on aggregate.
Bhutan entered the tie with the advantage of having won last week's first leg 1-0, courtesy of Tshering Dorji's first half strike, but Guam signalled their intent within the first two minutes of the match at the Guam FA Field with Marlon Evans shooting wide from Ian Marino's corner kick.
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A quick move in the 15th minute saw Jason Cunliffe surging down the right flank after he lost his marker, but he only rattled the side netting with his effort.
Bhutan had a chance two minutes later when Chencho Gyeltshen intercepted a pass and surged into the penalty box before sending the ball to Dawa Tshering Jr, whose effort sailed over the bar.
Guam's persistence paid off halfway through the first half, when the Bhutan backline failed to properly clear the immediate threat that led to Isiah Kazunori Kimura Lagutang finding space on the left, and the midfielder made no mistake in slotting the ball into the bottom right corner on 23 minutes.
Three minutes later, it was 2-0 to Guam, thanks to a close range left-footed strike from skipper Cunliffe, who beat Bhutan goalkeeper Kinzang Gyeltshen to the first touch, to put his side ahead on aggregate.
Despite their two-goal lead, Guam returned in the second half with their eyes on more goals, coming close twice within the first five minutes.
Bhutan's defending left much to be desired, and Guam pounced on it whenever a gap opened and 51 minutes into the match, Shane Malcolm found the back of the net with a swift strike.
Guam showed no signs of stopping, as they dominated possession and continued pressing for yet another goal that eventually came in the 81st minute when Cunliffe headed in Marcus Lopez's corner, before completing his hat-trick in stoppage time with a spectacular half-volley to confirm their place in Round 2 of the joint Qualifiers.
Photos: Guam Football Association
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