Tandin Wangchuk scores the equalizer

18 May: Sadly Pelkhil XI lost today to a gritty Nima XI. The scoreline remained balanced through most of the game from 0-0 to 1-1 and 2-2 by the final whistle. In terms of possession however, Pelkhil had most of it and the ball was most often in the Nima half. In terms of skills it was clear (to us) that our boys were more polished. But the game was tough and physical and for some reason our boys were somewhat nervy today.

The game remained tied at 1-1 until almost the last 5 minutes when a misdirected header from ourĀ defenseĀ gave away a corner. The ensuing corner kick was delivered perfectly to an unmarked Nima attacker who headed it in. With just a minute or so remaining in the game the game seemed lost. Our boys, egged on vociferously by our students in the sidelines, did not let up on the pressure and the ball was permanently in the Nima goalmouth. Not surprisingly in the desperate attempt to clear the ball one of the Nima defenders dropped a Pelkhil player leading to a penalty kick. Tandin Wangchuk calmly delivered the game-tying goal in literally the last few seconds before the final whistle.

No overtime was played with the game moving directly to penalty kicks. We were confident with penalty shootouts because of the calibre and experience of our goalkeeper Tshering Dhendup. Unfortunately it was not meant to be our day. Just one of our shooters had his nerves get the better of him and he shot wide. All other shooters hit the mark which led to our defeat.

Still, it is hard not to notice how much above our weight Pelkhil is punching this year. With just about 150 senior students in our school, we have done very credibly against schools that have about 900 senior students to choose teams from. Incredibly, we also had more students and teachers attending the matches supporting our team than the other schools this year. This is no doubt due to the rapidly growing school spirit, an important part of school life.

The match was very very exciting with many students from other schools and even non-students glued to the contest. Each goal was received with lots of cheering. One of the organizers also remarked that this was the only match this year in which his heart beat faster than normal!

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