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Club Eagles, Thimphu City set for AFC Cup showdown

Male: Bhutanese champions Thimphu City will aim to continue their domestic form when they face Club Eagles of the Maldives in the preliminary round of the 2021 AFC Cup on Wednesday.

The winners of the match, to be held at the National Stadium in Male, will advance to the AFC Cup playoffs, where a clash with Abahani Limited Dhaka of Bangladesh awaits.

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Thimphu have travelled to the Maldivian Archipelago four months on from winning Bhutan’s Premier League, dropping points in just two of their 14 matches to clinch the title three points ahead of Ugyen Academy.

While they will be hoping for a continuation of their recent success, the Bhutanese club will also be looking to put to bed some bad memories from their previous trip to the National Stadium.

Having drawn their first leg against Club Valencia at home in the 2017 AFC Cup Preliminary Round, Thimphu suffered a 3-0 defeat in the return leg in Male and haven’t been seen since at the continental level.

With Ngawang Dhendup as head coach and Premier League top scorer Tshering Dorji leading the way on the pitch, they will bring a sense of familiarity to watchers of the Bhutan national team in Thimphu, whose entire squad is made up of home grown players.

In contrast, Club Eagles have a range of international options including Lebanese goalkeeper Mohamad Taha, Russian striker Vladislav Kormishin and the Egyptian pairing of El Sayed Mahmoud and Mohamed Osama.

Kormishin will be particularly important for Club Eagles. The 25-year-old has scored three goals in two matches since arriving last month to replace departing Golden Boot winner and Maldives international Ahmed Rizuvan.

Coached by former Maldives youth national team boss Mohamed Shazly, Club Eagles are appearing in the AFC Cup for the first time having finished second in their domestic league last season.

Club Eagles (MDV) v Thimphu City FC (BHU)
National Stadium, Male
Kick: off 16:00 (UTC+5)

Photo: Dhivehi Premier League

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