FIFA minnows Bhutan made headlines on Thursday night a shock 1-0 away victory over Sri Lanka thanks to Tshering Dorji’s goal in the 81st minute.
The South Asian nation, ranked last out of 209 countries affiliated with global football’s governing body, are now a favorable result away from participating in the group stage of joint qualifying for the 2018 World Cup and 2019 Asian Cup.
“It’s a very happy moment for my life,” goalscorer Dorji told reporters. “It was a moment that I have been waiting for. It was a precious moment to score, and it was a perfect moment to score the goal.”
The return leg will be played on March 17 in Bhutan’s Changlimithang National Stadium, with the winner of the home-and-away series joining five other playoff participants in a 40-team draw that also includes continental titans Japan, Iran, and Asia Cup holders Australia.
“We will celebrate (the win),” Bhutan Football Federation technical director Chokey Nima, who is acting as national team coach for qualification, said after the match, “but we are also preparing for the next challenge.”