Monday, July 21, 2014

Crown go down fighting

PPCFC v Chonburi, line-up, back row, LtoR: Chanvuthy, Chanpolin, Chanchav, Senteang, Titchhy, Sovann. Front Row: Sakrovy, Baraing, Ponvuthy, Sodavid, Phearath - click to enlarge
Match Result: Phnom Penh Crown Academy 0 Chonburi Academy 1 (Asia U-16 Champions Trophy).
For their final ACT game of the season, the PPCFC Academy were looking to do a lot better against the competition favourites Chonburi here in Thailand, after losing 8-3 at home last week to the same opponents. Ouk Sovann was a whisker away from giving PPCFC the lead when his free-kick struck the top of the upright. Chonburi did exactly the same when Paidaen rolled his shot against the post. On 32 minutes the home team went in front through the head of substitute Theeraphat Niyomrit, which proved to be the game's only goal. After the break, Chhuot Senteang was a constant threat and it needed two good full-length saves from Chonburi keeper Philakhlang to stop him from equalising. At the other end Kung Chanvuthy was also in great form, producing three saves of high quality to keep his team in the hunt. A handball in the home team's penalty area was waved aside by the match referee as Crown never gave up the fight and gave the group winners a run for their money.

Full match report to follow.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Friendly success

PPCFC XI, back row, LtoR: Srin, Gibbs, Bosma, Oliveira, Kim, Boris (capt). Front: Sosela, Pisa, Soksela, Suhana, Sokheng - click to enlarge
Result: Phnom Penh Crown XI 6 TriAsia XI 3 (Friendly).

On a sodden RSN Stadium pitch, a PPCFC line-up were too strong for TriAsia in a practice match for players who didn't appear in the C-League matches yesterday. Jeongho Kim opened the scoring and Dutch striker Koen Bosma gave Crown a 2-0 halftime lead. After the break Australian Joey Gibbs netted and Bosma grabbed two more for his hat-trick. Kok Boris completed the Crown scoring while TriAsia goals included two penalty kicks.

Full match report to follow.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Crown slip up

PPCFC v Svay Rieng line-up, back row, LtoR: Obadin, Makara, Thierry, Bisan, Borey, Ary. Front: Dara, Da, Sothy, Pellegrino, Sokumpheak - click to enlarge
Match Result: Phnom Penh Crown 2 Svay Rieng 3 (Metfone C-League).
Crown slipped to their first defeat in 16 matches and their first reversal in Round 2 of the Championship, which they had already won last week. In a lacklustre first-half, Seuy Visal headed an own goal to give PPCFC the lead on 33 minutes, but James Adekunle wasted no time in equalizing two minutes later, despite Crown's complaints that a high foot challenge on keeper Yok Ary should've ruled out the goal. The 2nd half was a much better spectacle and Crown will kick themselves they didn't do better with chances that fell to Kouch Sokumpheak, Leng Makara and Khim Borey. Svay Rieng took the lead just 3 minutes after the restart when Dzarma Bata was given too much space in the middle and made Crown pay. Sokumpheak levelled the score again on 63 minutes when he headed home an Adriano Pellegrino free-kick that was touched back into the middle by Makara. The winning goal with 12 minutes to go, was one Ary will want to quickly forget. He came out to clear a long ball only to blast it into Bata and the ball ricocheted perfectly for Samoeun Pidor to slot into an unguarded net. There was still time for Borey to hit the post and bring out a points-winning save from keeper Sar Sophea in stoppage time. 

Full match report to follow.

Monday, July 14, 2014

It's Crown's Championship

Week 20 and PPCFC have clinched the Championship with 2 games to go
Phnom Penh Crown clinched the Metfone C-League Championship with two games to spare - their 5th title success - with a 1-0 win over NagaCorp on Saturday evening under the floodlights of the Olympic Stadium. On a winning streak that has seen them forge ahead in the title race, Crown were nervous knowing that they had to find a win from their final three games and found it hard to break down Naga until captain Kouch Sokumpheak stole in unnoticed to head home just after the half-time break. It proved to be the only goal of the game and Crown's players and staff reacted wildly to the final whistle when it came. And why not. Their championship is well deserved. On Sunday, Boeung Ket, who had been Crown's closest chasers scored a predictable win against relegation certainties Kirivong, thanks in the main to a brace from Khuon Laboravy. But they are unable to catch the runaway leaders and will have to settle for the runners-up spot. Svay Rieng have upped their game in the last few weeks with striker Dzarma Bata sprinting ahead in the race for the Golden Boot, and helped himself to a tap-in for goal number 21 in the 3-0 defeat of BBU on Saturday. Nofiu Lawal, who was later red-carded for punching an opponent, and Samoeun Pidor netted the others. The Army showed no mercy towards bottom club Albirex Niigata, scoring with the last kick of the game to win 2-1. Sen Sarak had earlier put Albirex ahead with a superb strike. TriAsia were too strong for AEU winning 1-0 with a goal from Sok Chanrasmey. On Sunday Western Uni managed a creditable goalless draw with National Police, who have fallen off the pace in recent weeks.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Crowned as Champions

PPCFC v Naga, back row, LtoR: Srin, Boris, Bisan, Obadin, Borey, Ary. Front: Suhana, Sothy, Da, Sokumpheak, Pellegrino (and mascots) - click to enlarge

Match Result: Phnom Penh Crown 1 NagaCorp 0 (Metfone C-League).
Phnom Penh Crown's challenge for the Metfone C-League, winning all 8 matches in the second round of competition, gave them the comfortable position of having to win just one of their final three league matches to claim the title. With a full complement of players to choose from, only a late concern for Hong Pheng left him on the bench as coach Sam Schweingruber went with his tried and tested line-up, led out by captain Kouch Solumpheak. Opponents NagaCorp included no less than six ex-Crown players in their squad. Naga kicked off but it was Crown's Sos Suhana who had the first shot at goal in the second minute, but it was an easy pick-up for Samrith Seiha. Khim Borey cut in and let fly, but it sailed wide and Chhim Sambo gave an easy catch for Yok Ary at the other end. On fifteen minutes, George Bisan took a pass from Sokumpheak, turned his marker and sent in a dipping, bouncing shot that Seiha just managed to tip around the post. Five minutes later, Kok Boris rose high to head Borey's center firmly against the cross-bar and as the ball bounced down on the goal-line, the danger was cleared. It was the highlight of an otherwise nervy and inconclusive first-half for both teams. Odion Obadin stood strong to head away a dangerous Sun Sopanha corner and moments later Sun Sovannrithy found room in the box but headed over the top with Naga's best opportunity of the half. Borey sent a cross-shot across Seiha's goal, a rebound off Ngoy Srin sailed over the bar and Adriano Pellegrino's center was inches away from Bisan's boot in front of goal as referee Chy Samedy blew for half-time. 

Pheng replaced Srin at the break as Crown showed their determination to get the all-important win they required. Pellegrino tried a long range effort that was well wide, and Bisan set himself up for a drive from the edge of the box that took a deflection off Zogbe Anderson and cleared the bar by a matter of inches. With their next attack, Crown at last broke the deadlock and sent their fans into raptures in the grandstand. Pellegrino, as he has done so many times, sent over another of his pinpoint crosses from the right flank and Sokumpheak timed his run to perfection, sending his header past Seiha and into the corner of the net from twelve yards. A fitting reward for the captain who covered every blade of grass on the pitch. Bisan was next to threaten as he drove goalwards from 20 yards out with Seiha parrying and collecting at the second attempt. Sovannrithy headed wide and Ary dealt comfortably with a long range effort from Jang In Yong as the clock ticked down. In stoppage time, Anderson got a touch to a cross but steered it wide and with the final action of the game, Seiha rushed out of his area and clattered into Bisan, as the striker got to the ball first but sent it looping wide of the target. The whistle blew and Crown's players and staff began wild celebrations on the pitch as the three points confirmed their fifth Championship victory, with two matches still left to play.

Head coach Sam Schweingruber gave his verdict in the midst of the celebrations. "It's a great relief finishing the job in the first Final and not having to go through another two Finals. Lots of emotions, pressure, it's been building up over the week, trying to prepare, do everything right and hoping things will work out. The game was more difficult than I expected. They had almost nothing but we still couldn't create the chances and opportunities that we are used to. At the end of the day, just very happy, thankful to the fans who came today to support us, they were really amazing - and really thankful to the players who put in 90 minutes of excellent fight, showing the right spirit, showing the discipline and showing the commitment of champions. I was very happy with what we displayed, but we can clearly see we have a long way to go if we want to play at the next level. We have to get a lot more comfortable to play our style when we're under pressure, when things are a bit shaky because of the emotions, we have to develop that. Hopefully we can move forward as a club and the team can establish even more victories for the future of Crown."
PPCFC v NagaCorp: Ary, Srin (Pheng 46), Da, Boris, Obadin, Sokumpheak, Sothy, Borey, Suhana (Thierry 88), Pellegrino (Makara 90+2), Bisan. Subs not used: Yaty, Soksela, Dara, Pisa, Sokheng, Sosela, Morslim. Bookings: Boris. MOTM: Sokumpheak - the game's winning goal. Goal: Sokumpheak (53). 
Celebrations after the final whistle - courtesy of Masayori Ishikawa

Early hopes dashed

PPCFC Academy v Chonburi, back row, LtoR: K Chhaya, Senteang, Chanpolin, Sakrovy, S Samnang, Sovann (capt). Front: Phearath, Rozak, Noeut, Ponvuthy, Baraing - click to enlarge
Match Result: Phnom Penh Crown Academy 3 Chonburi Thailand 8 (Asia U16 Champions Trophy).
For their final home game in the Asia U-16 Champions Trophy, Crown coach Bouy Dary was without midfield regulars In Sodavid and Men Piphop and wideman Sraing Titchhy all because of injury. Chonburi were the 2013 champions and are topping Group B once again, and are odds-on favourites to take the 2014 championship as well. Crown kicked off on another hot morning at the Olympic Stadium and surprised their opponents by taking a very early lead, with less than two minutes played on the clock. Chhuot Senteang spotted the run of Mat Sakrovy and picked him out beautifully with his pass, Sakrovy's first touch seemed to be too much but he got his toe to the ball before the Chonburi goalkeeper and rolled it under his body. In the 13th minute Chonburi showed their prowess as Sittichok Paso let fly with a low shot into the corner past a hapless Svang Samnang in the Crown goal. Autthagowit Jantod headed a corner in Samnang's hands before Paso netted his second with a sweet first touch from Samart Authairatsamee's cross that eluded the Crown defence on 23 minutes. Visiting keeper Chakhon Philakhlang was off his line quickly to snuff out danger as Senteang raced onto Kim Chhaya's through ball, but Chonburi remained a constant threat each time they attacked. Chhaya got in the way of Saharat Sontisawat's fierce strike and Samnang was also quick to deny Kritthanaphong Paidaen's burst into the box. On 38 minutes, the league leaders pierced the home defence for a third time as
Authairatsamee got behind Long Phearath and though Samnang saved his shot, the ball squirmed under his body for Paso to make it a hat-trick with the easiest of tap-ins. Chhaya, playing in a wide right position for the first-time, sent a 30-yard shot harmlessly wide and then forced a near post save from Philakhlang in stoppage time, as the keeper reacted quickly to touch the shot around the upright.

Suon Noeut failed to re-appear for the second-half with Ken Chansopheak taking his place, to the delight of the crowd. Crown started the second period more brightly, with Chhaya's short corner to Seut Baraing catching the visitors unaware, but Baraing's shot was easily collected by the Thai stopper. In the fifth minute after the restart, Chonburi reasserted themselves due to some sloppy defensive play. Chansopheak's backpass was too weak, Paso challenged Samnang as the keeper went for it with his feet and the Thai striker rolled in the loose ball for his, and his team's fourth. Choun Chanchav replaced the limping Ouk Sovann, and Crown awoke from their slumber when Senteang got to Sakrovy's through pass but couldn't steer his shot on target. The partnership worked a treat a minute later as Sakrovy swerved past two defenders and rolled a pass into the path of Senteang, who made no mistake with his shot from ten yards to make it 4-2 on 57 minutes. The goal sparked the crowd into life, Orn Chanpolin sent a long distance effort into the keeper's hands and Chonburi quickly picked up three bookings for late challenges as Crown raised the tempo. In between, Sakrovy's free-kick to the far post was an inch or two from Chhaya's desperate dive but the extra effort was negated as Chonburi broke to extend their lead on 61 minutes. Authairatsamee's pass sent Paidaen sprinting clear from the half-way line, with a hint of offside, and the striker calmly slid his shot under Samnang's dive for their fifth. Paso sent a free-kick a foot wide before Crown again raised hopes when Chhaya won the ball, fed Senteang and he lashed the ball in from fifteen yards on 64 minutes. The goals were coming thick and fast, and as soon as the home team were looking to get back into the game, Chonburi showed their clinical side to put it further out of reach. Just a minute after Senteang's second, Paso netted his fifth and the best goal of the game, as a superb one-touch move carved open the home defence, leaving the hotshot to smash the ball home to make it 6-3. Pov Ponvuthy slipped in Senteang and the striker was denied an attempt on goal by Jantod's timely intervention.

Chonburi were not finished and Paidaen made Chanchav's weak clearance look even worse by quickly poking the ball past Samnang and in off the post on 69 minutes. Baraing came to the rescue to deny Nititorn Sripramarn with a last-ditch tackle, and Samnang held Paidaen's low drive as Chonburi created havoc each time they attacked. A flurry of substitutions allowed both teams some breathing space, but a rare mistake by Baraing saw Peerapat Kaminthong strike a shot which Samnang blocked well. The visitors final goal of the game came with three minutes of the match to go. Panawat Ketmala sped onto a through ball, evaded Chanchav and slipped the ball under Samnang to give Chonburi eight goals in a game for the second week running. Before the final whistle, home substitutes Theang Chhaya and Yeu Muslim both sent shots over the cross-bar, but the home side were well beaten by a team looking serious contenders for their second successive trophy. The Crown Academy must travel to Thailand for the return game in a week's time. Coach Dary gave this assessment. "Both teams didn't play their best but Chonburi finished their chances well and they have strikers who can do that. First half we scored early on but then we took it too easy, not serious or strong enough and let them score three easy goals. In the second-half I was more pleased with how we played, though whenever we scored, we made a mistake and they scored again. We played some good football, everyone wanted to fight back, which is what I want to see. Overall, we should do better than this." Crown donated $270 from the gate receipts and 60 One World Futbols to the Cambodian Center for the Protection of Children's Rights, from where thirty children joined us for the match.
PPCFC Academy v Chonburi: S Samnang, Noeut (Chansopheak 46), Phearath, Baraing, Sovann (Chanchav 50), Chanpolin, Sakrovy (V Samnang 87), Rozak (T Chhaya 68), Ponvuthy, K Chhaya, Senteang (Muslim 75). Subs not used: Chanvuthy, Piphop. Bookings: None. MOTM: Baraing - fought for everything. Goals: Sakrovy (2), Senteang 2 (52, 64).   
The Chonburi starting line-up v PPCFC

Our guests were from the Cambodian Center for the Protection of Children's Rights

Friday, July 11, 2014

Previewing the game

Sam Schweingruber

Bottom-line, if Phnom Penh Crown beat NagaCorp in tomorrow's late Metfone C-League clash under floodlights at Olympic Stadium, then they will be champions with two games to spare. If they don't win they have games against Svay Rieng and Boeung Ket to get the three points they need to make sure of the title, their first since 2011. Crown head coach Sam Schweingruber gave his thoughts to the Phnom Penh Post this week on tomorrow's mouth-watering clash between the first and third-placed teams.
“We are close to receiving the rewards for our hard work over the last 20 months. Yes, we know that we are facing the strongest opponents of this year for all of our final three matches and will take preparation as seriously as we can and not be affected by the comfortable view of the table. If we approach our game the way we have recently, I am confident we can lift the title as expected by many of our fans. But it will certainly not be easy as each of our opponents will do everything possible to see us stumble. While Naga’s and Boeung Ket's form has recently not been their best, Svay Rieng have shown similar qualities to last year when they were Champions - so we have been warned!”
"For the first time in many months every player is available for selection and I will have to make the right choices for this match, which we will treat as a Final. We have won all our 8 games of the second round and established some good ways to control games and get the results we want. We won't make many changes to the way we have recently played. For our first game with Naga, we were disappointed with the result and at the same time were fortunate as they missed a late penalty. Hopefully we can learn from that and find a way to overcome the best defence of the league (only conceded 13 goals so far) and show that we have the best attack (we've scored 52 goals) and score the goals we need."
"Obviously our foreign players have been important for us, just looking at George's 19 goals, the many assists by Adriano and the defence organised around Tony. Our Cambodian players have also developed very well which is recognized by the national team coach in selecting so many to his squad. In each position we have options and players have to fight for a starting spot, which creates healthy competition. The work rate and discipline of our team is very good and the unity is an additional strong factor. The coaching staff have as a team managed with hard work to get the team on a nice level in all aspects of the game and we are looking forward to further strengthen the ability of Phnom Penh Crown. Difficulties come along during a season, key players are injured or not fit and players suspended, but each time less recognized players have stepped up and did a good job for us."

Thursday, July 10, 2014

The race is on

Dzarma Bata, knocking in the goals for Svay Rieng
The race for the Golden Boot award - the top scorer - in the Cambodian League just got much more intense as Svay Rieng's hotshot striker Dzarma Bata landed a five-goal haul against a sorry Kirivong team yesterday in a 9-0 thrashing to take him one goal ahead of Phnom Penh Crown netbuster George Bisan. Both strikers are Nigerian and Bisan has been knocking the goals in for the last three seasons in Cambodia with three different clubs, while Bata is a relative newcomer, only arriving in February. As Crown have forged ahead in the race to land the Championship title, Bisan has been instrumental in their success with his 19 goals. Svay Rieng, last year's champions, had a poor start to the season and were quickly knocked out of the AFC President's Cup and Singapore Cup but Bata hasn't let that stop him from regularly finding the back of the net and that five-goal blast against Kirivong has put him on 20 goals* for the season with a few hat-tricks thrown in for good measure. The tall 21-year-old was playing with Fico Tay Ninh in the Vietnam League 2 before crossing the border. Born in Kaduna, Nigeria, he went through the well-known Pepsi Academy system and tried out for the Nigerian U-17 and U-20 teams, including a stint in France, before joining Tay Ninh. Crown and Svay Rieng meet a week on Saturday, so the two hotshots will come face to face with each other. In the last meeting between the two sides, Bata netted a hat-trick inside the first-half  and Bisan didn't register on the scoresheet. It promises to be an exciting end to the season as far as the race for the Golden Boot is concerned.
* There is no official confirmation of the goals tally from the Football Federation.

Strengthening their grip

Week 19 of the MCL campaign, courtesy of
It sure looks like Phnom Penh Crown are in no mood to let their grip on the Metfone C-League Championship slip, condemning National Police to a 3-1 defeat in Saturday's clash at Olympic Stadium under lights. George Bisan, with goal number 19, Odion Obadin and on the hour, captain Kouch Sokumpheak getting on the Crown scoresheet, with Tith Dina scoring the Police's consolation. It was their 7th straight win. In contrast, Boeung Ket were frustrated by the Army on Sunday and have conceded that their challenge has faltered beyond repair, after a surprise 1-1 draw in a game they expected to win. The gap between the Rubbermen and Crown is now seven points and one more win in their next three games will give Crown the crown, so to speak. Mohammed Tijani scored for Boeung Ket but didn't know much about it, as an attempted clearance struck his body and rebounded back into the net. The leveller from Ung Dara came courtesy of a penalty conceded by Pheak Rady. Boeung Ket groaned as Army rode out a late surge to share the spoils. Elsewhere, BBU managed a 2-1 win over strugglers Kirivong with Thai Phalla and Takahito Ota scoring. A late late strike from Yusuke Ueda helped bottom dwellers Albirex Niigata to a 2-2 draw with AEU, but it won't help their plight as they are doomed to relegation. Western Uni did their survival hopes a power of good when Reo Nakamura's late goal proved decisive in beating TriAsia 1-0.
In Wednesday's midweek game, former champions Svay Rieng gave Kirivong a lesson they won't forget quickly, thrashing them 9-0 with Nigerian striker Dzarma Bata netting a personal tally of 5 goals to take him above Crown's George Bisan in the race for the Golden Boot. Prak Mony Odom grabbed a brace, with Nob Tola and Samoeun Pidor adding the others. In the later game, NagaCorp and National Police rode out a boring 0-0 draw.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Crown in mini World Cup

PPCFC players with children from Chrey Thom
Phnom Penh Crown spent yesterday afternoon in Chrey Thom, Kandal province near the border with Vietnam, on another of their community engagement missions. The senior Crown players and coaches joined in with 160 local children, aged 12-15, and took part in a mini World Cup fun competition, as part of Sports for Social Change by Volunteers In Asia (VIA), an exchange involving coaches from USA, Vietnam and Cambodia, including Crown's own Academy assistant coach Sorn Srey Teav and Samy Seng from SALT Academy. The coaches have held football camps in Tra Vinh in Vietnam and Chrey Thom in Cambodia that involve football skills and life skills development, and yesterday was a fun element which included all of the Crown first-team squad, taking a break from their league championship battle, and children from Sampeau Meas Elementary and Sampeau Poun High Schools. We gave the schools some of the One World Futbols that Crown is distributing to schools and organisations across Cambodia. Everyone had a great time. Pictures by Sabay/Sovanna Kem of the activities.

Phnom Penh Crown are actively engaged in a series of community and socially responsible projects including HIV Prevention, fighting malnutrition, delivering One World Futbols to encourage everyone to play football across Cambodia and other activities.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

3rd success on the road

PPCFC v Mandalay, back row, LtoR: S Samnang, Baraing, Chanchav, Senteang, Titchhy, Chanpolin (capt). Front Row: Sodavid, Piphop, Ponvuthy, Noeut, Phearath - click to enlarge
Match Result: Phnom Penh Crown Academy 1 Mandalay Academy - Myanmar 0 (Asia U-16 Champions Trophy).
 Taking their away victories in the Asia U-16 Champions Trophy to three, the Crown Academy produced another hard working away performance and will return home Sunday with another three points to their name after Chhuot Senteang's goal separated the two teams in Yangon. It was Senteang's 4th goal of the ACT campaign and will give the team a confidence boost with two more matches left to play. The Academy were without captain Ouk Sovann and Kim Chhaya, both ruled out with leg injuries earlier in the day and were looking to add to their victories on the road in China and Laos. They began brightly and went close with attempts from Chhuot Senteang and captain Orn Chanpolin. It was the same two players who split open the Mandalay defence on 37 minutes with Chanpolin's precise pass finding Senteang inside the box and he made sure with a great finish. After the break, the home side came into the game more, putting Crown under pressure but were restructed to ineffectual long range shooting that caused little worry for goalkeeper Svang Samnang. At the other end Senteang and substitute Ken Chansopheak had opportunities to extend the lead but couldn't make their efforts count. After their third win on their travels, coach Bouy Dary offered up praise for his team's hard work, team spirit and their adventurous style of football, particularly in the first-half. Senteang, Pov Ponvuthy, Sraing Titchhy and Chanpolin came in for particular praise from the coach. The Crown Academy will now finish with two matches against last year's champions and Group B leaders Chonburi from Thailand, both home and away. 
PPCFC Academy line-up: S Samnang, Noeut, Phearath, Chanchav, Baraing, Chanpolin, Sodavid (Rozak 90), Piphop, Ponvuthy (Chansopheak 84), Titchhy, Senteang (Muslim 78). Subs not used: Chanvuthy, Sakrovy, V Samnang, T Chhaya. Bookings: None. MOTM: Chanpolin - played a captain's role. Goal: Senteang (37).

Saturday, July 5, 2014

7 wins on the trot

PPCFC v Nat Police, back row, LtoR: Boris, Pheng, Obadin, Bisan, Ary, Borey. Front Row: Pellegrino, Da, Suhana, Sosela, Sokumpheak - click to enlarge
Match Result: Phnom Penh Crown 3 National Police 1 (Metfone C-League).
With three players missing due to suspension - Bin Thierry, Ouk Sothy and Ngoy Srin - coach Sam Schweingruber switched Neou Sosela for Leng Makara in his starting eleven for this potentially tricky game with National Police at Olympic Stadium under lights. Sosela is a former Police player. Crown's Khim Borey sent a long distance effort wide, while Police's Noun Borey aimed a low drive straight at Yok Ary as the match took a while to get into its rhythm. It took the league's leading goalscorer, George Bisan to bring the game to life, when he smashed in his 19th goal of the campaign, on 24 minutes. Borey moved into the middle and laid the ball back for the Nigerian hotshot to strike a 25-yard volley into the bottom left corner leaving goalkeeper Yasuyuki Yoshida clutching at straws. It was just what the game needed. Ieng Tin cynically took out Kouch Sokumpheak on the half-way line as the Crown captain scurried clear and having already been booked, Tin was fortunate to escape a second caution. Bisan was on target again with a header from Hong Pheng's center but Yoshida clutched it under the bar. At the other end, Ary had to be alert to fingertip a Samuel Oseika looping header over the top. With Crown on top, Adriano Pellegrino's free-kick found the head of Odion Obadin and his nod across the box found Bisan, but the striker swung his boot and miskicked. Thirty seconds later Sosela's pass sent Bisan on a charge but as he let fly, a long leg from Say Piseth saved Police's blushes. That let-off didn't last long. From the Pellegrino corner, Obadin dived forwards to head the ball past Yoshida from eight yards out, with five minutes of the half remaining. It was Obadin's fourth of the season, all of them headers. Bisan broke away again and attempted to set up Pellegrino but without success and the Australian then sent a shot on the turn straight at Yoshida. Noun Borey sent a header well wide in a rare Police break and the final action of the first-half, saw Sosela's cross deflected off Tin and spin inches wide of the near post.

It needed a Police revival at the start of the second-half to make inroads into Crown's lead and though they huffed and puffed, it never came. Two Borey free-kick's went straight to Ary and wide of the post before Crown took back the initiative and Obadin headed over the top from Pellegrino's deep corner. Police full-back Ieng Tin's rash challenges were his undoing, as he again caught Sosela late and referee Tuy Vichheka was spot-on to produce a yellow followed by a red card. That was two minutes before Crown netted their third goal on the hour. Sosela fed Pellegrino and his sublime chip over the defence was chested down by Sokumpheak, who took an extra touch and calmly rolled the ball wide of Yoshida. Crown were looking to put the result beyond doubt as Sokumpheak released Bisan through the middle but Yoshida stood firm and stopped the striker's shot with his feet. Barely ten seconds later, Pellegrino ghosted past the last defender but also found Yoshida equal to his goal-bound shot. Police had no answer to the waves of Crown attacks and Pellegrino slipped a pass wide to Sosela but the tiny winger's aim was off and he blazed the ball over the cross-bar. Bisan moved onto a pass from Borey and his powerful drive was fumbled by Yoshida, though the goalkeeper produced a dramatic fingertip save two minutes later as Bisan raced onto Sokumpheak's pass and unleashed a ferocious drive which the Japanese stopper somehow kept out. A contender for save of the season without a doubt.   
Pellegrino sent an effort from distance harmlessly wide and another of his dangerous corners saw substitute Leng Makara head the first of a trio of good chances over the top at the far post. Police's Say Piseth was fortunate to only see yellow for a shocking late tackle on Sokumpheak. With fifteen minutes of the game remaining, Police were offered a lifeline when Tith Dina collected a ball through the middle and slotted his shot past Ary. However, Crown continued to create chances, with Borey's free-kick headed back across goal by Bisan and Makara sent an overhead kick ballooning over the bar. Next, Sokumpheak slalomed through three challenges and set up Makara, only for his fierce drive to clear the cross-bar. Ary watched a 45-yard volley from Chhin Meng Seang dip at the last moment and touched it over the top, while Bisan was again on target with a powerful shot but Piseth's foot deflected it wide. In stoppage time of seven minutes, Ary was again alert to keep out two goal-bound strikes in a crowded penalty area, as Crown saw out their seventh straight victory and extended their lead at the top of the Metfone C-League table to eight points Head coach Sam Schweingruber reflected on the chances that got away. "The most difficult part of the game is scoring goals. Its been the story of our season. Its easier to defend and park the bus than create chances and break down a fairly decent defence. We've been struggling, not for the first time, to put the ball into the net. For example, George scored the most difficult chance he had, while the later chances he had were actually easier. Police didn't have anything to threaten us and it was a completely dominant first half from us. Good possession, the goals we scored were great and we should've scored more from the chances we had. We'll take the positives that we created those chances, so that's very good. Just sad that we didn't score more."
PPCFC v Nat Police: Ary, Da, Pheng, Boris, Obadin, Sokumpheak, Suhana, Borey, Sosela (Makara 70, Pisa 89)), Pellegrino (Sokheng 74), Bisan. Subs not used: Yaty, Soksela, Dara, Morslim. Bookings: None. MOTM: Sokumpheak - a captain's performance in every respect. Goals: Bisan (24), Obadin (40), Sokumpheak (60).

Friday, July 4, 2014

Miracle required

The current ACT2014 Group B table
The Academy of Phnom Penh Crown travel to Myanmar this weekend to play their third last Asia U-16 Champions Trophy fixture in Yangon against the Mandalay Academy. They still have a very slim chance of being one of the two teams that progress from Group B into the competition's semi-finals, but that chance will be extinguished if Thailand's Chonburi beat Guangdong FA from China this weekend, which is expected. Not only would it need a miracle for the Chinese to win their first match, but Crown would then need to beat Chonburi both home and away. A very tall order considering Chonburi lead the group with an undefeated record after seven matches and were also the champions of the ACT 2013 edition. They are undoubtedly one of the very best Academy teams in Southeast Asia. Bouy Dary's youngsters travel to Myanmar boosted by two consecutive wins, in Laos and last week at home to Guangdong, and will be looking for revenge after Mandalay won 1-0 in Phnom Penh a few weeks ago. Captain Ouk Sovann and Kim Chhaya are doubtful with injuries but have travelled with the squad. Whatever the outcome, they face Chonburi in the final home game of the competition in a week's time (12 July) and will expect a big crowd for the game, with the public always keen to witness a Cambodian victory over Thai opponents.

Photo op

The Cambodia national team: picture courtesy and copyright of Sovanna Kem - click to enlarge
The Cambodia national team, the senior one that is not the U-21 squad that has been training twice a week for the past month, put in a surprise appearance on the training ground this week. The national team have the important AFF Suzuki Cup qualifiers in October over in Laos, but little has been heard of the preparation since a suggested series of training camps fell by the wayside. South Korean head coach Lee Tae-Hoon was hoping to get a 29-man squad together for a series of camps during the current domestic league campaign but it never happened. So this week's session, it appears primarily for a team photo, was unannounced. The squad on the photo has just 18 players, only one keeper and is missing some obvious faces. Nonetheless, it's the basis for the future training squad and includes 7 Phnom Penh Crown players - Sou Yaty, Hong Pheng, Kok Boris, Kouch Sokumpheak, Ouk Sothy, Bin Thierry and Sos Suhana. The plan for future sessions is unclear with the domestic season just 4 weeks away from completion. There was talk of a three-week camp in South Korea in September and in August, the U-21s have a tournament in Brunei, in which a handful of the senior team will be involved including overage players, Sokumpheak and Suhana.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

MCL round-up

After Week 18 for most teams, table courtesy of
With the Metfone C-League program reduced to just 4 matches this weekend, it was left to Phnom Penh Crown and Boeung Ket to forge ahead as the clear frontrunners in the championship race while NagaCorp and Svay Rieng were left twiddling their thumbs by a short-sighted fixture listing. The latter two clubs have two weekends without games despite being knocked out of the Singapore Cup weeks ago, so it makes no sense that their games weren't added back onto the roster. That said, both clubs are effectively out of the title fight, so it makes little difference. Crown extended their lead to eight points by beating TriAsia 2-1 under floodlights on Saturday, but Boeung Ket bounced back to whip AEU 4-1 to close the gap back to five points. George Bisan with his 18th of the campaign, and Odion Obadin scored first-half goals for Crown after TriAsia took the lead through fleet-footed Suong Virak. The league leaders were always in command after TriAsia began brightly but faded. The next day, TriAsia took control of their match with four goals before half time including two for Mohammed Tijani and one each for Khuon Laboravy and Sok Pheng. Boeung Ket are praying for Crown to slip up in the final four games of the season, as the Rubbermen have by far the easier of the two run-ins. The teams meet on the last day of the season, Sunday 27 July. Elsewhere BBU and Army eked out a 1-1 draw, Rim Bunheang for BBU and Va Buthror for Army scoring, while Western Uni put another nail in Albirex Niigata's coffin, with a 3-2 victory on Sunday to move themselves out of the drop-zone. Yuseke Ueda netted twice for Albirex but Western won it with goals from Chet Phannith, Pen Panha and on-loan Svay Rieng striker Ly Saroth.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Academy success at home

PPCFC Academy v Guangdong, back row, LtoR: Samnang, Chanpolin, Sodavid, Chhaya, Titchhy, Sovann (capt). Front Row: Baraing, Chansopheak, Noeut, Piphop, Ponvuthy - click to enlarge
Match Result: Phnom Penh Crown Academy 2 Guangdong FA (China) 1 (Asia U-16 Champions Trophy).
The Crown Academy were still searching for their first win at home, with two victories on the road already chalked up, and they faced bottom of the table Guangdong from China, without a point from their matches so far. Chhuot Senteang was on the bench with a leg injury, so Sraing Titchhy took his place in attack. The pitch was slippery with Crown seeing the lion's share of the ball and Guangdong conceding a string of early free-kicks. Suon Noeut fired well wide early on, Titchhy had a shot blocked and Seut Baraing's free-kick was grabbed low down by the visiting keeper. Crown were using the flanks to good effect and Kim Chhaya's cross was laid back by Titchhy, only for In Sodavid's shot to lack the power to test the keeper. Titchhy was snuffed out as he shaped to shoot and then keeper Pang Jiajun collected Noeut's cross off the striker's toes. It was all Crown until Guangdong had a great chance on 17 minutes but Svang Samnang was alert to deny visiting captain Chen Guokang. Moments later and Titchhy's drilled 20-yard drive was pushed out by Jiajun, who was also equal to Noeut's goal-bound effort, tipping it over the cross-bar. Sodavid saw another attempt clear the bar before Crown finally made their dominance count just two minutes before the break. Titchhy and Orn Chanpolin combined with some neat touches and Chanpolin looked up before sending a dipping drive over Jiajun's head from twenty yards out for the game's opening goal. Crown continued to push on with another Sodavid effort going straight to Jiajun and Titchhy's left-foot effort taking a deflection across the face of goal.

Crown came out strongly at the start of the second-half with Chhaya sending a 25-yard free-kick straight at Jiajun and Noeut causing problems on the flanks, with Jiajun punching his dangerous cross clear. Titchhy was set up by Men Piphop but miskicked under pressure, before the visitors stunned the home crowd into silence. Fifteen minutes into the second period and some sloppy defending allowed Li Guohao to cross, Yang Quan's shot was pushed out by Samnang only for Li Canming to be waiting to tap the ball home at the far post. The equaliser had come against the run of play, which prompted Crown coach Bouy Dary to ring the changes, with top scorer Senteang sent on to add power up front. Titchhy burst into action with a dazzling run but his shot was blocked, with Senteang setting up Chhaya, whose shot was held at the second attempt. Moments later Senteang charged down a clearance by Guokang and found himself one on one with Jiajun, but the keeper stood his ground and kept out the striker's shot with his body. With seven minutes of the game remaining, off-the-ball fisticuffs in the Crown penalty area saw home substitute Mat Sakrovy cautioned and Guangdong skipper Guokang red-carded for his second offence. It was just the encouragement the home side needed. With their next attack, Chhaya's long corner to the far post saw Baraing arrive late and the central defender smashed his shot past Jiajun without hesitation, with just four minutes left to play. The crowd erupted, though they were less vocal moments later as Yao Yongrun shaped to shoot, only for Ouk Sovann to dive in to block the effort just six yards from goal. There was still time for Sakrovy to fire wide and for Chhaya to see his shot touched onto the foot of the post by Jiajun, who then caught Noeut's long range effort at the second attempt. The match ended with Crown collecting their first win on home soil in the Asia U-16 Champions Trophy and leaving coach Dary to comment: "First-half we played okay and created some chances but didn't have enough numbers in the box. We changed some players in the second-half and we deserved to win. But at the start of the second-half we were not good at all. We were asleep but woke up after they scored and created a few chances. We should be happy with the result but we know we can do better. We remain in 3rd position and for the last 3 games we have to fight really hard." 
PPCFC Academy v Guangdong: S Samnang, Chansopheak (Chanchav 75), K Chhaya (Muslim 90+4), Baraing, Sovann, Chanpolin, Sodavid (Rozak 90+3), Piphop, Ponvuthy (Senteang 70), Noeut, Titchhy (Sakrovy 80). Subs not used: Chanvuthy, T Chhaya. Booking: Sakrovy. MOTM: In Sodavid - powerhouse performance. Goals: Chanpolin (43), Baraing (86).

Obadin on the mark

PPCFC v TriASia, back row, LtoR: Bisan, Makara, Boris, Obadin, Ary, Pellegrino. Front; Sothy, Srin, Pheng, Borey, Sokumpheak - click to enlarge
Match Result: Phnom Penh Crown 2 TriAsia 1 (Metfone C-League).
Crown coach Sam Schweingruber was without his injured goalkeeper Sou Yaty and the suspended Bin Thierry but welcomed back from injury the defensive duo of Kok Boris and Odion Obadin for this important clash with TriAsia. A win was vital for the league leaders as they maintain their march to the Metfone C-League championship. The opening fifteen minutes of the game was bogged down in midfield and it was Crown who forced the first noteworthy chance when George Bisan moved onto Boris' long ball and set up Adriano Pellegrino for a shot, which was blocked, as was Leng Makara's  follow-up at the far post. TriAsia then grabbed the initiative on 18 minutes as Thul Sothearith's long ball caught the Crown backline napping and Suong Virak sped away and tucked his shot under Yok Ary's body for the game's opening goal. A minute later and Ary's feet stopped Virak from doubling the lead. Former Crown player, Virak was causing problems with his quick feet and his low cross was touched wide at the far post by Friday Nwakuna as TriAsia posed all the questions. That was until the 26th minute when Crown used Route 1 football to level matters. Ary's long kick was headed on by Bisan, Pellegrino nodded it sideways and as it dropped, Bisan unleashed a thunderbolt volley from the edge of the area that gave Hem Simay absolutely zero chance as it arrowed into the top corner. Crown were level, though Virak twice sent in long range efforts that Ary collected comfortably. On the half hour, Kouch Sokumpheak sent Ngoy Srin sprinting away on the left flank and as he tussled with En Vichhay in the penalty area, referee Khuon Virak pointed to the spot after seeing the defender use his hands to gain an advantage. It took nearly two minutes for the TriAsia protests to die down as Bisan stepped up to smack the penalty against the foot of the left upright, with Simay's fingertips helping it on its way. With TriAsia still celebrating, Srin's quick throw-in was pounced on by Khim Borey and his header into the six yard box was nodded in by Odion Obadin to put Crown 2-1 ahead. It was a mere twenty seconds after the penalty miss, and 32 minutes into the game. Borey's long ranger was easily held by Simay, while Tomohiro Masaki's header was touched over the bar by Ary. From the corner, Hong Pheng was on the post to head away Nuth Sinoun's goalbound effort for the last serious action of the first-half.  

Dani Kouch whipped his drive a yard wide early on after the restart but it was the introduction of Khmer-Dutch midfielder Chan Sokha that briefly livened up proceedings. Crown's Ouk Sothy was booked for lashing out at the new arrival and after just five minutes on the pitch, Sokha was red-carded by referee Virak for a high foot on Sothy. TriAsia were down to ten men with 62 minutes of the game played. Bisan powered his way towards goal and his vicious drive rebounded off Simay's gloves, while Sokumpheak chanced his arm from 25 yards, but his shot veered well wide. TriAsia lost one of their coaches, when he was sent to the stands but they looked to have been presented with a gift when Virak adjudged Crown keeper Ary to have picked the ball up twice and gave an indirect free-kick just nine yards from goal. With the whole Crown team on the goal-line, Seng Kosen wasted the chance, sending it wide of the far post. Crown lost Pellegrino with a knee injury and Virak was again lively, nipping in behind the Crown defence, only to find Ary's legs blocking his way to goal, with six minutes left on the clock. Pheng and Sos Suhana exchanged passes with Pheng racing into the area only to send his shot high and wide. With five minute of stoppage time added on, Borey sent Suhana sprinting clear only for Simay to punch his angled shot away. It was the final action of the game as Crown collected three more valuable points, extending their lead to eight points and registering the double over TriAsia. 

Sam Schweingruber's after-match comments were: "We stay on top with another hard-fought win but we struggled a bit on the bumpy pitch, struggled with relaxing and getting into our groove. We found ourselves a goal down but managed to get ahead before halftime, which was very good, mentally strong to keep pushing. An amazing goal by George, a brilliant strike. He could've scored with the penalty but I think the keeper got a touch onto the post. But very happy how quickly we reacted to that, that's a sign of mental strength. We deserved to win, they didn't really create but I wish we were more relaxed and in control of the game and the ball. Towards the end we were too nervous, we should be keeping the ball and riding the time out. When they did get dangerous through 32 who I thought had a really good game, Ary did very well to save the situation." 
PPCFC v TriAsia: Ary, Pheng, Srin, Boris (Pisa 90+2), Obadin, Sokumpheak, Sothy, Makara (Suhana 58), Borey, Pellegrino (Sosela 81), Bisan. Subs not used; Soksela, Da, Dara, Morslim. Bookings: Srin, Sothy. MOTM: Srin - showed adventure down the flanks. Goals: Bisan (26), Obadin (32).

Monday, June 23, 2014

League Round-up

Week 17 MCL league table - from
Phnom Penh Crown maintained their 5 point lead at the top of the Metfone C-League table with a slightly less than convincing 4-2 win over the bottom club Albirex Niigata in Week 17. They were never seriously threatened but coach Sam Schweingruber will have something to say about conceding two goals. George Bisan wrapped it up with his 17th goal, of the season from the penalty spot at the start of the 2nd half. Four different nationalities scored for Crown. That doesn't happen often. Nearest challengers Boeung Ket limped home 3-2 against Western University but should've put the game to bed with some glaring misses in front of goal. Western took the lead with a thunderous Ly Saroth free-kick but Khuon Laboravy, Keo Sokpheng and Chan Vathanaka gave the Rubbermen a commanding lead before Chan Vannak made their sweat a bit before the final whistle. The championship race is now a two-horse affair, especially after NagaCorp could only muster a 1-1 draw with TriAsia on Saturday. Chim Sambo for Naga and Nuth Sinoun for TriAsia got the goals. In the other games of less significance, Kirivong moved out of the relegation places with a 3-0 win over Army, two goals from Savour Ratankvisa doing the damage. On Sunday, 1-1 was the final score between AEU and BBU as the two university teams came to a stalemate. Yusuke Yamagata opened the scoring for BBU with George Kelechi levelling just before the break. Sunday's game under lights saw Svay Rieng burst into a two-goal lead against National Police, including another brace for in-form striker Bata Dzarma, only for Samuel Oseika to pop up with two goals to end it at 2-2.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Crown march on

PPCFC v Albirex, back row, LtoR: Suhana, Srin, Makara, Bisan, Kim, Ary. Front Row: Da, Pheng, Pellegrino, Borey (capt), Sothy - click to enlarge
Result: Phnom Penh Crown 4 Albirex Niigata 2 (Metfone C-League).
Crown arrived at the Olympic Stadium for this top v bottom clash with Japanese-club Albirex Niigata without five of their starting line-up. Suspension saw Bin Thierry and Kouch Sokumpheak on the sidelines, with injury forcing Sou Yaty, Odion Obadin and Kok Boris to watch from the stands. Albirex have been improving of late and are not a team to underestimate, despite their place at the foot of the league ladder. A slow start saw Crown with a few attempts on goal though it was Albirex who came closest to open the scoring. Jeongho Kim's recovery tackle on the marauding Yusuke Ueda took a deflection off Ngoy Srin and edged towards the goal-line, only for Thourng Da to clear the danger with his quick reactions. Crown had already gone close when Sos Suhana ghosted in behind the Albirex defence but just failed to get a touch to Adriano Pellegrino's decisive pass, Ouk Sothy sent a long distance attempt into the arms of the keeper and George Bisan's touch was a little too heavy as he broke through. Pellegrino's set pieces are a danger to any team and from two of his corners, Kim headed wide under pressure, and then Hong Pheng will wonder how he managed to skim his free header wide of the upright. It was all Crown as Khim Borey tried an ambitious 30-yarder, another Kim header from a Pellegrino corner caused panic but was scrambled clear, and Borey, popping up on the right flank, saw his drive edged inches wide. Next, Borey's near post header went tantalisingly wide, and Leng Makara's pass to Pellegrino saw the Australian send a snap-shot into the far corner of the net only to turn around and see the flag raised. The breakthrough finally arrived on 31 minutes. A foul on Bisan allowed Pellegrino to whip a free-kick from the right flank into the crowded box and smack onto the forehead of Kim, who nodded home for his second goal in as many games.

Albirex, with their second strike on goal, were inches away from levelling the scoreline. Former Crown defender Sen Sarak launched a 40-yard free-kick goalwards and it dipped viciously onto the crossbar before being cleared. Less than a minute later, Crown too had struck the woodwork, as Borey cut inside from the left and his 25-yard effort rebounded off the upright. A Pheng thrust into the box was cut out just in time and Suhana headed a corner over the top before Pellegrino made his mark on the game. Thirty yards from goal, his free-kick skill was again much in evidence as he curled the dead-ball into the top corner to make it two-nil with six minutes of the half remaining. Within a minute Crown registered their third. Makara threaded a pass through for Borey to run onto, he avoided the keeper and from a very acute angle, rolled in his perfect touch via the far post. It was no more than Crown deserved. A minute before the break and Albirex showed they were no slouches. Ueda, a recent addition from Singaporean football, gave Srin the slip and fired a shot from the edge of the box past Yok Ary to reduce the deficit.

Albirex changed their goalkeeper at the break but it didn't change their fortunes. Just 49 seconds into the second half and Crown were handed another opportunity on a plate. Makara's chip into the box was controlled by Bisan and as he went around the new keeper, Chhim Busan tapped his ankle and referee Tuy Vichheka pointed to the spot. Bisan stepped up to confidently to dispatch his 17th goal of the season in the second minute of the half.  A few minutes later and the Nigerian hitman was again in the thick of it as he bypassed one defender but sent his powerful drive a foot over the crossbar. Makara challenged keeper Mat Muslim for a Pellegrino chip which referee Vichheka wrongly viewed as high feet, Kim tried his luck from 35 yards out but to no avail and at the other end, Tatsuta Kazuki's attempt was deflected into Ary's hands. Makara was guilty of a bad miss ten minutes in, when Pheng's center found him and Pellegrino in acres of space, but the striker skimmed his header wide of the mark, and soon after, the same player's drive was held by the keeper above his head. Seventeen minutes into the second half and Albirex took advantage of some sloppy marking by the league leaders. Chea Virath's free-kick found the head of Kheng Sopanha and his touch took a deflection and nestled in the corner of the Crown net to make it 4-2. Hearts in mouths time a few minutes later as Ueda crossed for Kazuki but his prod at the far post was blocked by Ary, who gladly grabbed the ball at the second attempt. As a contest the match got bogged down in midfield mediocrity, with few bright moments, though a one-two between Suhana and Bisan saw the Crown hotshot lob the ball over the bar from just outside the area. The final action was Touch Sokheng's cross that gave Muslim a few flutters as it landed on the roof of the net. The whistle blew and Crown celebrated another three points, maintaining their five point lead over their nearest challengers, Boeung Ket, who'd beaten Western Uni 3-2 in the game before. 

At the final whistle, Crown head coach Sam Schweingruber gave this assessment. "With 5 games to go it's about winning games. For me we were much better in both halves but we made some mistakes. Very frustrating as we have these moments where we lose focus. A sign of a team that is still a work in progress. I hate conceding goals and being 4-1 up but not playing how I want us to play. That said, we had a lot of players working hard and giving their best until the end, a couple of really good goals that we scored - 3 from set pieces - showing how important that is for us, and how we need to create more chances and opportunities from open play."
PPCFC v Albirex: Ary, Pheng, Da, Srin, Kim, Sothy, Suhana (Sokheng 83), Makara, Borey (Sosela 90+1), Pellegrino (Pisa 90+4), Bisan. Subs not used: Soksela, Dara, Morslim. Booking: Sothy. MOTM: Pellegrino - continues to thrive and drive. Goals: Kim (31), Pellegrino (39), Borey (40), Bisan (47 pen).

Muslim nets winner in Laos

PPCFC v Lao Toyota, back row, LtoR: Titchhy, Chanpolin, S Samnang, Senteang, K Chhaya, Sovann (capt). Front Row: Ponvuthy, Noeut, Sodavid, Baraing, Piphop - click to enlarge
Result: Phnom Penh Crown Academy 1 Lao Toyota - Laos 0 (Asia U-16 Champions Trophy).
Academy coach Bouy Dary was able to select his strongest line-up for this away match in Vientiane, the capital of Laos. A crowd of 2,022 watched at the National University Stadium, including a continegent of supporters of locally-based Cambodians. The match-winning goal came courtesy of substitute Yeu Muslim with just three minutes of the match remaining, from Suon Noeut's right wing cross. It was Crown's second success on the road in three matches, having also claimed victory in China on the opening day of the campaign. Coach Dary's view at the final whistle; "I think our desire to win was the difference. We dominated the first half and we should have scored a few goals in the half. In the 2nd half I changed a few players for tactical reasons and the boys showed tremendous fighting spirit, which is why we deservedly won the game." 

PPCFC Academy v Lao Toyota: S.Samnang, Noeut, K Chhaya, Baraing, Sovann, Chanpolin, Sodavid (Chanchav 90), Piphop, Titchhy (Chansopheak 63), Ponvuthy (Rozak 86), Senteang (Muslim 69). Subs not used: Chanvuthy, Phearath, Sakrovy. Bookings: None. Goal: Muslim (87)

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Toyota splash the cash

News came through last week that the champions of 4 Mekong region countries - namely Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam - will contest a brand new competition, the Toyota Mekong Club Championship, to be played at the Hang Day Stadium in Hanoi, Vietnam between 31 October and 2 November this year. Toyota, the world's largest car maker, have been spreading their wealth around in recent times, including the World Cup, AFC Asian Cup and the Thai Premier League and this is another string to their marketing bow it seems. In conjunction with the title sponsorship, Toyota are also launching the ‘Toyota Mekong Football Challenge’ to inspire and groom young talented footballers. Not sure how that will work, but that's the plan. Whoever wins the Metfone C-League, it looks like their players will have a busy off-season period with the Cambodia national team due to play in Laos in the AFF Suzuki Cup qualifying tournament from 12-20 October. If Cambodia progress, the finals will start at the end of November, with this new club competition squeezed in between. There is also the U-21 competition in Brunei, the Hassanal Bolkiah Trophy, which will be in August. There was also some talk of starting the C-League earlier as well though nothing more has been said about that.

Monday, June 16, 2014

MCL look back

The MCL table courtesy of

The action at the weekend in the Metfone C-League saw Phnom Penh Crown extend their lead to five points over 2nd-placed Boeung Ket, who went down to the reigning champions Svay Rieng. Crown did it the hard way, beating Western Uni 2-0 despite losing Bin Thierry to a red card for an errant elbow on the stroke of half-time. Goals by Leng Makara and two minutes after the restart, Jeongho Kim with a sublime volley, earned the league leaders the points at the Army Stadium. In the game before, bottom-club Albirex Niigata deserved the three points against a poor BBU side but were caught out in stoppage time by Prum Putsethy's header, which made it 2-2. Albirex started like a train and were two goals up, both from new face Yusuki Ueda until Adeyanju Omokafe reduced the arrears and Putsethy sent the Japanese team to their knees at the final whistle. For Boeung Ket, they will look at the numerous chances missed by wunderkind Chan Vathanaka, as they went down 2-1 to Svay Rieng. A penalty and other golden opportunities were fluffed before the striker let fly from almost 30 yards to level the game after Bata Dzarma fired Svay into the lead. Prak Mony Udom popped up six minutes from the end to tap home to leave Boeung Ket regretting those missed chances. Two goals from Japanese import Reijin Tani helped National Police to a 3-2 success over Army at Olympic Stadium. Touch Roma and Chhin Chhoeun netted for Army but Ol Ravy clinched the points for the Police midway through the second-half. Police are now in 4th spot, and a place behind them are TriAsia who rolled over Kirivong without much difficulty. Friday Nwakuna netted twice, with Sok Chanrasmey and Suong Virak also getting in on the act, while In Vichheka scored for Kirivong, who are now in the relegation places with Albirex. NagaCorp relied on their old guard to get a 3-1 win over AEU, with Teab Vathanak, with 2 goals, and Sun Sovannrithy on the scoresheet on Sunday.