Sri Lanka’s Defenders FC drew 2-2 against Paro FC of Bhutan in the 2nd leg of AFC Cup 2020 Preliminary qualifying play off encounter at Changlimithang Stadium in Bhutan. Both teams came into the 2nd leg after drawing the 1st leg 3 apiece in Colombo.
Defender FC who had to overcome a deficit of 3 away goals were on the back foot from the kick off as the home team enjoying plenty of possession in their attacking half.
The early domination paid off when poor defending off a long throw in cost the Defenders as Chencho Gyeltshen headed home for the opening goal in the 12th minute. Goalkeeper Mohamed Luthfi too was caught ball watching.
The visitors responded almost immediately through Evans Asante who beat his marker and went inside the box and sent in a cross. Goalkeeper Gyeltshen Zangpo could only parry it in to the path of Jesuraj Bernard who calmly slotted it onto the roof of the net to get the Defenders FC back on track.
Defenders FC came close to going ahead in the game through an Asikur Rahman corner. Lakshitha Jayathunga arriving late at the far post had his shot cleared off the line by the desperate Paro FC defense.
Paro FC got more out and out attacks in whereas Defenders looked to counterattack. Both teams had their fair share of corners and free kicks however neither capitalized as the teams went into the break all even.
Half Time: Paro FC 1 – 1 Defenders FC
The Defenders looked a bit more adventurous in the 2nd half as they pushed men up field. Against the run of play, Paro FC scored their second goal through skipper Jigme Tshering Dorji who headed home after a quick corner from Chencho Gyeltshen caught the Defenders napping.
As it was in the first half, Defenders FC hit back immediately through a long ball from Francis Agbeti towards Ismail Abumere which the Paro FC defender Chencho mis-kicked. Abumere lobbed the ball over the on rushing Zangpo into the Paro goal.
At the hour mark, player of the match in Colombo, Dieudonne Fabassou squandered a good chance to give the lead to the home team. From 12 yards out he lashed out but his shot went way over goal.
Ismail Abumere was the first to be booked in the game. In the following free kick Dieudonne Fabassou came close to scoring only to be denied by the cross bar as keeper Mohamed Lutfi was beaten all ends up.
As the final 20 minutes approached Paro FC looked for a winner as Defenders FC were being more patient in the back and defended in numbers.
Paro FC could have clinched the winner in the 85th minute with Dieudonne Fabassou once again hitting it over the bar from close range after the initial cross came back hitting the cross bar.
The home team only needed a draw to go through on the away goal rule as they scored 3 in Colombo. Defenders FC needed a win however they did not look to attack in numbers and sat back in their half apart from the two up front. By the time the visitors put men up to attack it was too little too late.
Paro FC won the tie on away goal rule as the match ended 5-5 on aggregate.
Full Time: Paro Fc 2 – 2 Defenders FC
Paro FC: Chencho Gyeltshen 12’, Jigme Tshering Dorji 51’
Defenders FC: Jesuraj Bernard 17’, Ismail Abumere 53’