Thiruvananthapuram, Dec 24 (IANS) Maldives put up an impressive performance to beat Bhutan 3-1 in a South Asian Football Federation championship game at the Trivandrum International Stadium here on Thursday.
Ahmed Imaaz, Assadhulla Abdulla and Ali Ashfaq scored for Maldives while Tshering Dorji was the only one to get on the score sheet for Bhutan. Maldives were quick to control the game and push upfront at the start. The pressure led to the first goal as Imaaz easily found the back of the net with a sharp strike. But the left back had to put in the hard yards and overlap to get to the end of the pass.
Jolted, Bhutan responded with a cracking goal in the 20th minute as Dorji equalised. The midfielder twisted and turned before finding the net with a fantastic finish. But the equaliser did not last for long as after 11 minutes Abdulla flicked the ball home from a Ahmed Imaaz feekick to give his side the advantage again. At half time Maldives led 2-1.
Bhutan pressed on after the breather in order to restore parity, but the Maldives defence stood strong. There were a few snapshots and a strike from Biren Basnet rattled the woodwork but none could find the back of the Maldives net. On the other side however, it was Maldives captain Ashfaq who at the 70th minute ensured his side had a two-goal cushion by hammering in the ball after cutting past three defenders.