Kathmandu: Star striker Ali Ashfaq scored four goals adding to the six goals he scored against Sri Lanka on Monday as the Maldives booked a place in the semi-finals of the South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) Championship 2013 by thrashing 10-man Bhutan 8-2 at the Dashrath Stadium on Wednesday.
After impressing throughout the first half, Bhutan were reduced to 10 men when goalkeeper Leki Dukpa was red-carded in stoppage time as the numerical advantage yielded a further seven goals for the Maldives.
Despite Bhutan’s promising start, Maldives took the lead against the run of play in the 16th minute but the minnows came back strongly scoring two goals from Passang Tshering and Chencho Gyeltshen. They struck the frame of the goal twice in the first half but the red-card and resulting equaliser from Mohammed Umair ensured Maldives go into the break with the score level at 2-2.
Ashfaq scored four goals in the second half to make his personal tally 10 in the tournament. Also on the scoresheet for the Maldives were Mohammed Umair and Ali Umar. Mohammed Umari scored his second in the 69th minute.
Maldives will face fellow semi-finalists Afghanistan in an all AFC Challenge Cup 2014 participating team’s tie to decide the Group B winners on Friday while eliminated Sri Lanka play Bhutan in an academic contest in the same group.