Saturday, February 21, 2015

Honours shared

PPCFC starting XI, back row, LtoR: Kochi, Boris, Sokthorn, Thierry, Obadin, Bisan. Front Row: Matnorotin, Sothy, Sokheng, Pisa, Booysen - click to enlarge
Result: Phnom Penh Crown 2 African All Stars 2 (Friendly).
Honours were shared at the end of this often bruising 3x35 minute practice match at RSN Stadium this afternoon with both teams having spells on top before the game petered out to a hard-fought draw in the third period. Japanese goalkeeper Jun Kochi was commanding in goal for Crown early on as he made himself big in the face of some marauding African XI attacks, stopping three attempts on goal in the first sixteen minutes. George Bisan was wayward at the other end though Shane Booysen's chipped effort was headed off the goal-line as play switched from end to end. Bisan, from Booysen's tricky wing play, had a chip shot cleared from the under cross-bar before the same combination came up with Crown's opening goal on 31 minutes. Floored by another crass defensive tackle, Booysen's delivery into the box was spot-on and Bisan powered in a header from six yards out. A nice return goal after the striker arrived back from a five-week visit to his Nigerian homeland on Thursday. Bisan found space a minute later but his chipped effort missed the far post by a whisker, and with the last kick of the first period, Booysen's low shot was fumbled and Ouk Sothy's follow-up struck the keeper's body and was cleared. 

Both teams made changes at the break and it was the African XI that came out with guns blazing. The visitors fielded a line-up containing many of the best foreign players in the C-League throughout the game with Dzarma Bata, the league's top scorer amongst their ranks. Svay Rieng's James Adekunle was booked for a scything tackle from behind on Bisan, and they grabbed an equaliser ten minutes after the restart. A right wing cross was headed in at the near post which keeper Yok Ary couldn't keep out, and a minute later, they went ahead after Jeongho Kim failed to halt Nelson Oladiji's charge down the flank. Crown recovered their composure and Momoh Sumaila's run past three players set up Bisan for a low drive which the keeper kept out. A minute later, an acrobatic save at the foot of the post from Kim's header at a corner signalled a warning bell for the visitors which they failed to heed. On 61 minutes, Booysen, who'd been a threat all game, delivered a second cross from a corner and Leng Makara directed his header into the corner of the net for a deserved equaliser. The third period failed to live up to the previous two and the only effort of note was a free-kick by the visitors that rebounded off the cross-bar to leave honours even.
PPCFC vs AASXI: Kochi (Ary 36), Pisa (Srin 36 (Pisa 71)), Sokheng (Da 36 (Sokheng 71)), Boris (Obadin 71), Obadin (Kim 36), Thierry (Suhana 36), Sothy (Sokthorn 71), Sokthorn (Makara 36 (Thierry 71)), Matnorotin (Sumaila 36), Booysen (sub 71 (Boran 92)), Bisan (Tola 71 (Matnorotin 90)). Subs not used: Usarphea, Charly, Polo. Bookings: None. MOTM: Booysen - his deliveries and exciting wing play are a joy. Goals: Bisan (32), Makara (61).
PPCFC line-up 2nd period, back row, LtoR; Srin, Bisan, Kim, Boris, Momoh, Ary. Front: Da, Makara, Suhana, Booysen, Sothy - click to enlarge

Monday, February 16, 2015

Football for Development

40 coaches on the latest course from PPCFC, SALT & World Vision
Phnom Penh Crown and SALT Academy have once again teamed up with World Vision Cambodia (WVC), this time to host a 5-day Football for Development Initiative Level 1 Youth Coaching Course at RSN Stadium, that began on Monday morning. 40 young football coaches from around the country will receive technical skills and life skills training over five days with the program vision of developing, nurturing and strengthening young people and the next generation of leaders across Cambodia. Crown have already partnered World Vision to produce 2 videos on combating child malnutrition and joined in the WVC national youth festival, as part of a joint program with AFC and Asian Football Development Project for the One Goal campaign to improve child nutrition and adopt healthy lifestyles. The Football for Development Initiative is an important pathway to improve young people in Cambodia and PPCFC is 100% behind this exciting new initiative, with club President Rithy Samnang at today's launch alongwith World Vision's National Director Jason Evans.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Another double success

PPCFC U-17s, back row, LtoR: Noeut, Ponvuthy, Sodavid, Senteang, Baraing, Samnang (capt). Front: Titchhy, Chhaya, Soksela, Sakrovy, Chanpolin - click to enlarge
Result: Phnom Penh Crown Academy U-17s 5 Bayon Wanderers 2 (Friendly).
At RSN this afternoon, the Crown Academy took on local expat team Bayon who lost to the senior team the previous week. It took until the 25th minute to open the scoring through Pov Ponvuthy, who placed his drive inside the far post. Crown added a second goal ten minutes later when Chhuot Senteang netted at the second attempt running onto an In Sodavid through ball. Three minutes after the half-time break, Mat Sakrovy skilfully grabbed a third when he nutmegged two players and blasted home his shot from 15 yards. After a series of play swaps, Yeu Muslim rolled in the fourth on 59 minutes after neat work from Mat Noron. Bayon scored a couple of goals on the break before Muslim missed a couple of sitters from close range. Ouk Sovann wrapped up the goalscoring with a smart finish a minute before the end, from Orn Chanpolin's pass, for a deserved victory.

PPCFC U-17s: Soksela, Noeut (Chanchav 52), Baraing (Chansopheak 52), Titchhy (Piphop 52), V Samnang, Chanpolin, Sodavid (Sovann 52), Chhaya (Noron 52), Sakrovy (Phearath 52), Ponvuthy (Muslim 52), Senteang (Rozak 52). Booking: Rozak. Goals: Ponvuthy (25), Senteang (35), Sakrovy (48), Muslim (59), Sovann (89). 
PPCFC U-15s, back row, LtoR: Samnang, N David, Chetra, Savey, Sovannaroth, Safy (capt). Front: Kakada, Rina, Piseth, Samel, Panha - click to enlarge
Result: Phnom Penh Crown Academy U-15s 6 Daniel FC 5 (Friendly).
It was all one-way traffic in the first-half at RSN Stadium this afternoon with Sin Kakada opening the scoring on 17 minutes after Ky Rina went close a couple of times. Kakada has developed a habit of scoring excellent goals and this solo effort was another one to add to the collection. Mao Piseth scored twice in as many minutes, the first coming on 26 minutes with a drive from the edge of the box. His second was a through ball from Kakada which he tried to chip over the keeper but fortunately netted at the second attempt. Kakada rounded off the half with a 25-yard effort that the keeper dived full length to keep out. The second half saw a goal glut and Daniel grabbed two quick-fire efforts before Tong Chanmony lashed in a 25-yard screamer on 57 minutes that flew into the top corner. Piseth rolled in his hat-trick on 70 minutes after a weak kick out from the keeper and Chanmony tapped home from a yard six minutes later from Piseth's low cross but Daniel never gave up and the match ended 6-5 in favour of the young Academy boys. Near the final whistle both San David and Chriv Sokundavann went very close with efforts.

PPCFC U-15s: S Samnang, Panha (Chanmony 46), Chetra (Punlork 61), Savey, Safy, Sovannaroth, Samel (Davann 61), Rina (Pisoth 61), Kakada (N David 79), N David (S David 46), Piseth (Panha 79). Goals: Kakada (17), Piseth 3 (26, 28, 70), Chanmony 2 (57, 76).

Crown add to their ranks

South Korean Jeongho Kim returns to join PPCFC
Phnom Penh Crown have announced the re-signing of the highly-popular utility South Korean player Jeongho Kim and are looking at other foreign acquisitions ahead of the new season, believed to be starting in late March of early April. The Federation are yet to confirm the start date or fixtures. The 23-year-old Kim was with the club last season and made a big impression despite his limited number of opportunities in the first-team, as Crown collected the Metfone Cambodia League Championship. He netted three league goals before he left the club in August and was training with Boeungket at one stage. Head coach Sam Schweingruber had this to say about the return of the highly-popular player: “Jeongho was an important player in our squad last season, even though he didn’t play enough. Whenever we gave him playing time, he impressed and showed his potential in training and in games. We first tried to sign him again last year but as Jeongho was asking for more playing time, we didn’t know we could agree to his demands. Finally, after the departure of Adriano and recent developments, we have agreed terms and hope that our Korean jewel will come to shine in 2015!" As a schoolboy Jeongho was a star striker for his school in Busan, earning a scholarship at the prestigious Kwangoon University and training spells overseas. His University playing career was cut short with a serious ankle injury but last season he showed his potential in a variety of positions, both in defence and as a striker, and that ability to play in a variety of positions, will be invaluable to Crown again this season.
Wing wizard Shane Booysen has spent the past year in Thailand
Involved in their friendly match with BBU on Saturday were four trialists, including the easily-recognisable, Momoh Degule Sumaila (aged 29), who has been a regular with Boeungket for the past three years. In fact the Nigerian midfielder made his debut for them against Crown, scoring, in June 2011. In goal for PPCFC was the experienced Jun Kochi, a 31-year-old Japanese import who has been playing in Thailand for Army, Sriracha and Pattaya after a career in his home country and a stint in Singapore with Albirex Niigata. Making quite an impression with two goals and some quick footwork on the wing was 26-year-old Shane Booysen who spent the past year in Thailand with Rbac Mittraphap and then BCC-Tero, after moving from his South African homeland where he appeared for Mamelodi Sundowns, Gleneden and iKapa Sporting academy. Also getting a start was striker Marcel Hugues Togbe (25), from Ivory Coast, who had spells in Oman with Al-Nadha and Al-Oruba before moving to Thailand with Nakhon Ratchasima. It will be up to coach Sam Schweingruber how he progresses with his foreign signings ahead of the new season. It's believed clubs will be allowed 5 foreigners, with three to play at any one time, though that small detail is not yet confirmed by the Federation, with Crown now confirming they have three on their books in Jeongho Kim, Odion Obadin and George Bisan.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

SVR win as expected

The Hun Sen Cup final went pretty much the way everyone expected with home team Svay Rieng winning, albeit at the death, 2-1 against Nagaworld, with a Nob Tola goal in the first minute of injury time deciding the tie. On the hour Naga's Sun Sophana levelled Prak Mony Udom's 1st-half opener, but Sun Sovannrithy was then red carded by referee Tuy Vichheka, which incurred the wrath of not only the Naga players but also Khmer football fans on Facebook, leaving the match official in doubt what they thought of him. Tola's late late winner gave the Military Police-backed team a third success in the country's only cup competition. Udom won the golden boot with 24 goals. The 2014 winners National Police came unstuck in the third-place play-off, going down 3-0 to TriAsia.

Booysen impresses

PPCFC vs BBU, back row, LtoR: Kochi (GK), Sokthorn, Thierry, Obadin, Boris, Togbe. Front Row: Sokheng, Pisa, Matnorotin, Suhana, Booysen - click to enlarge
Result: Phnom Penh Crown 3 Build Bright Utd 1 (Friendly).
Crown offered up some excellent free-flowing football in the first-half of today's practice match at RSN Stadium and deservedly led 3-0 at the break. Coach Sam Schweingruber gave a start to three players on trial, with Shane Booysen and Marcel Togbe only arriving the day before, both having been with clubs in Thailand in recent months. Japanese goalkeeper Jun Kochi has been with the squad for a few days, also making the short hop-over the border. It was a lively start and South African Booysen wasted no time in showing his worth on the left flank. On seven minutes, he controlled the ball, swerved past two players and let fly with a shot that hit the net before the BBU keeper could move. One-nil and perhaps the best start a trialist could ask for. Sary Matnorotin's center missed Togbe's boot by inches and Va Sokthorn sent in a curling free-kick that was cleared off the goal-line before Crown struck their second on 15 minutes. Kochi's drop-kick was well-aimed and Togbe, an Ivorian striker, took on his marker and his cross to the far post was perfection as Matnorotin volleyed the ball home. Booysen's quick feet and speed off the mark was devastating and his pass to Sos Suhana, who moved the ball onto Sokthorn, saw the French-Khmer import sky his shot from fifteen yards out. More Booysen magic saw Sokthorn set up Matnorotin but his volley missed the target by inches. Crown were rampant at this stage with Bin Thierry firing wide from the edge of the area and Booysen missing the target from close range after Odion Obadin's header was fumbled by the keeper. With less than thirty minutes gone, Matnorotin was sent clear by Suhana but he screwed his chip shot horribly wide before Crown made four changes. Just before the break, a scuffle broke out with Rim Bunhieng squaring up to Kok Boris and then Crown had Ouk Sothy to thank for heading an effort off the line from a corner. On the stroke of half-time, Booysen registered his second, sprinting clear onto Jeongho Kim's long ball down the middle, and lobbing the ball into the net from 25 yards.

The second period started slowly before BBU were back in the game after a howler of a refereeing decision on 58 minutes. Thierry's free-kick was blocked by the goalscorer who was standing just five yards from the dead-ball, he played a one-two with a colleague and netted, with no-one quite believing the referee allowed the goal to stand. Thierry went close to cancelling out the mishap but his 20-yard effort was touched wide at the foot of the upright. More substitutions didn't help the flow of the game but Booysen struck a volley well over from Ngoy Srin's center and Togbe sent a free-kick inches over the bar after he was fouled. Booysen and Togbe combined neatly with the South African sending his skidding drive just wide before two very good saves denied Crown more goals. Firstly, Thourng Da broke into the box from Um Tola's pass only to see his shot saved and then Matnorotin set up Booysen, but his vicious shot was fisted clear and the game came to an end, with Crown victorious. 
PPCFC vs BBU: Kochi (Ary 46), C Pisa (Sothy 32 (Suhana 78), Sokheng (Da 46), Boris (Matnorotin 66), Obadin (Srin 32 (C Pisa 80), Thierry (Booysen 66), Suhana (Kim 32), Sokthorn (Obadin 66), Matnorotin (Makara 32 (S Pisa 66), Booysen (Sumaila 46), Togbe (Tola 83). Subs not used: Ursaphea, Chaly, Lavy, Polo. Booked: Obadin, Makara. MOTM: Booysen. Goals: Booysen 2 (7, 45), Matnorotin (15).

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Crown win, Cambodia don't

Result: Phnom Penh Crown 7 Bayon Wanderers 2 (Friendly).
With six players on national team duty and the Academy playing live on TV in Svay Rieng, the remainder of the Crown senior team met local expat team Bayon Wanderers in a practice match at RSN Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Coach Sam Schweingruber gave playing time to some players who've been training with the team this week, including former Crown utility player Jeongho Kim and ex-Boeung Ket midfielder Momoh Degule Sumaila. Crown came out 7-2 victors with Leng Makara, Odion Obadin, Kim (with his first touch) and Long Boran scoring in the opening half. After the break, Sor Polo, Kim again and Chey Chetra netted with Ouk Sothy missing a penalty.
PPCFC Line-up: Ary (Ursaphea 46), C Pisa (Lavy 46), Sokheng (Chetra 46), Boris (Charly 60), Obadin, Sothy (Apollo 80), S Pisa (Makara 70), Makara (Kim 30), Boran, Momoh, Tola (Polo 46).

Cambodia NT, back row, LtoR: Chanrasmey, Rithy, Thierry, Piseth, Laboravy, Sereyroth. Front: Sovannrithy, Chhoeun, Suhana, Pancharong, Sokthorn - click to enlarge
Six Phnom Penh Crown players were part of the Cambodia National Team that lost 5-2 to South Korean club side Hwaseong FC on Saturday in a friendly at Svay Rieng. Bin Thierry, Sos Suhana and Va Sokthorn played in the opening 45 minutes, with the match all-square at 2-2 at half-time. Sun Sovannrithy and Khuon Laboravy, from a Suhana assist, netted for the national team, with the Korean leveller coming with the last kick of the first-half. In the second period, Sary Matnorotin, Ngoy Srin and Thourng Da were in the line-up as coach Lee Tae-Hoon changed all eleven players, but the game didn't go to plan with Da getting booked and Hwaseong looking dangerous against a young Cambodia line-up, that conceded further goals on the hour and then two more late strikes to a team from Korea's fourth tier of football. Not the result the large crowd were hoping to see from the national team, who have World Cup qualifying games coming up next month.
Postscript: Phnom Penh Crown's goalkeeper Sou Yaty was in the Cambodia national team line-up for the match having a few days earlier left the club to join Boeungket for a substantial fee. Yaty was the MCL Goalkeeper of the Year last season but was one of four players suspended by Crown after their pre-season trip to China. All four players including Kouch Sokumpheak, Khim Borey and Hong Pheng, have now left the club.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Nine in a row, and on TV

PPCFC U-15s, back row, LtoR: Samnang, Chanmony, Chetra, Savey, Sovannaroth, Safy (capt). Front: Kakada, Samel, S David, Piseth, Panha - click to enlarge
Result: Phnom Penh Crown Academy U-15s 2 FFC Academy 0 (Friendly).
In this showpiece match before the Cambodia National Team game at Svay Rieng's new stadium, the younger Crown Academy boys were seeking to extend their winning record against the FFC Academy to nine matches and with the TV cameras at the game, it added some extra spice to the friendly encounter. After a few minutes to settle, the Crown Academy sparked as Mao Piseth robbed a defender of the ball but his low drive was gathered at the near post by FFC keeper Yi Bunheng. However, the keeper had no chance when Piseth lashed a half-volley past him for the opening goal on 15 minutes, after Tong Chanmony's cross was only partially headed clear. Sin Kakada was enjoying his number 10 role and sent a 25-yard shot wide before Piseth curled a free-kick from a tight angle, just inches wide of the far post. Another Piseth shot was charged down and Pich Sovannaroth poked his shot wide from just outside the box. Kakada and Sovannaroth both tried their luck from distance without success as the first-half came to an end with Crown in control. Six minutes after the break, Svang Samnang was twice called upon to deny Sean Sopheatra, who found space in the Crown penalty area and Tray Vichet miskicked when free at the far post. On the hour, Sem Dona's barge on Kakada gave referee Srei Vannareth no option but to award a penalty and substitute Nop David stepped up to cheekily score with a Panenka penalty kick, that he chipped down the center of the goal. A minute later Sovannaroth's pass found Piseth but his fierce drive was too high. Sovannaroth was enjoying lots of possession in an unfamiliar midfield role and sent in two more shots, though both missed the target. Crown captain Yue Safy blocked a break into the area by Lon Then, and Samnang was quick off the mark to rob Seang Chanthea as he broke clear of the offside trap. Despite the FFC's revival, Crown remained dangerous and Piseth's shot on the turn was held by Bunheng, who then tipped a 30-yard effort from the Crown striker onto the cross-bar. Moments later, Kakada's shot was deflected into the path of Piseth who blasted the ball wildly out of the stadium, before FFC spurned a great opportunity to reduce the deficit with six minutes left to play. Ky Rina's tackle on Chanthea saw him booked and a penalty kick awarded, but Vichet screwed the spot-kick wide of Samnang's right-hand post. Dona was fortunate to only see yellow for a knee-high tackle on Kakada as both teams tired in the hot sunshine and Samnang collected Son Somchhai's shot as the game came to an end. Crown maintained their 100% record against the FFC with their ninth success on the trot in the last twelve months, to make it clear who is the dominating force in junior Cambodian football.

PPCFC U-15s: Samnang, Samel (N David 46), Chetra, Safy, Savey, S David (Punlork 62), Sovannaroth (Pisoth 76), Chanmony (Davann 89), Panha (Rina 46), Kakada, Piseth. Subs not used: Rafat. Bookings: Chanmony, Rina. MOTM: Piseth - always dangerous. Goals: Piseth (15), N David (60 penalty).
The FFC Academy starting XI, lost their 9th consecutive match to PPCFC

Friday, February 6, 2015

Handed a lesson

PPCFC U-17s, back row, LtoR: Sakrovy, Senteang, Soksela, Rozak, Titchhy, V Samnang (capt). Front: Piphop, Ponvuthy, Noron, Chansopheak, Baraing - click to enlarge
Result: Phnom Penh Crown Academy U-17s 0 Nagaworld 8 (Friendly).
The Crown Academy U-17s were on the wrong end of a scoreline that they often inflict on other teams when they met the Nagaworld first-team at RSN this afternoon. The youngsters enjoyed good spells at the beginning of both halves but were made to pay for some sloppy defending against the semi-finalists in the Hun Sen Cup. Goalkeeper Keo Soksela was called upon to keep out a shot from Prak Chanratana early on, whilst Mat Sakrovy sent a shot from distance over the bar and Men Piphop kicked air instead of the ball, just twelve yards out, from Mat Noron's center. Naga took the lead on 23 minutes as Soksela dallied with the ball at his feet, lost possession and was made to pay with the first goal. Two minutes later Chhim Sambo broke from his own half after a Crown corner was cleared, sprinted past Sraing Titchhy and neatly slotted it past Soksela as he came off his line. Two goals in as many minutes. Naga added a third just four minutes later when captain Vat Samnang was dispossessed in his own area and paid the price for not clearing his lines. Soksela dived full length to pull off a good save and Naga hit the woodwork before they struck the fourth, five minutes from the break, as the Crown defence parted like the Red Sea and Naga went in four goals to the good.

Coach Bouy Dary made six changes at the break and Naga brought on recently departed Khim Borey against his old club. As in the first-half, the Academy held their own for the opening thirty minutes of the half with Kim Chhaya having his blast blocked by Om Thavrak after some neat one-touch build-up play. Then Long Phearath ventured forward and weaved past the last man, only for his shot to be blocked by the Naga goalkeeper. On 75 minutes, Naga made seven changes of their own and the fresh faces made light work of the tiring Crown defenders. Barry Lelouma rolled in number five a minute later, former Crown striker Baldwin Ngwa scored a brace on 80 and 84 minutes, using his strength top power his way through, and Lelouma robbed Vat Samnang for Naga's 8th goal, two minutes into stoppage time. A final scoreline that the Academy U-17s will not want to see repeated anytime soon. Injuries kept out Ouk Sovann, Suon Noeut and Kung Chanvuthy.
PPCFC U-17s: Soksela, Chansopheak (Chhaya 46), Baraing (Rozak 82), V Samnang (capt), Titchhy (Chanchav 46 (Senteang 72)), Sakrovy, Rozak (Chanpolin 46), Piphop (Phearath 46), Noron (Sodavid 46), Ponvuthy, Senteang (Muslim 46).

Monday, February 2, 2015

Results and community involvement

PPCFC U-17s vs SVR, back row, LtoR: Chanpolin, Sakrovy, V Samnang, Chanchav, S Samnang, Rozak. Front: Noeut, Noron, Ponvuthy, Muslim, Baraing - click to enlarge
Saturday 31 January 2015: Result: PPCFC Academy U-17s 2 Svay Rieng U-19s 1 (Friendly).
Ouk Sovann produced another brilliant free-kick three minutes from the end of a match which the Crown Academy U-17s dominated but couldn’t find the killer touch until Sovann’s moment of top quality. His 20 yard dead-ball, awarded for a foul on In Sodavid, curled over the wall and into the top corner for yet another stunning goal from the defender, who was a half-time replacement. Orn Chanpolin was off target with the first goal attempt and then Yeu Muslim followed that with a rasping low drive that was pushed aside by the SVR keeper. Chanpolin's next attempt was held easily enough before Mat Sakrovy will kick himself for fluffing an easy chance, set up by Pov Ponvuthy. Vat Samnang sent a free-kick a few feet wide, before Crown opened the scoring with just two minutes of the first-half remaining. Sakrovy's 25-yard effort wasn't held by the keeper and Muslim was on hand to turn the ball into the unguarded net. With six changes to the Crown line-up at the break, they reestablished their grip on the game as Sodavid's fizzer was held at the second attempt and Muslim's close-range effort was blocked by the keeper's body from Sodavid's bye-line pull-back. Sodavid then had another edge of the box shot pushed aside by the busy man between the sticks. Against the run of play, Svay Rieng levelled on 59 minutes as Crown failed to clear the danger, though that merely sparked the home team in to renewed efforts to win the match. Muslim met Sodavid's bye-line cross perfectly but couldn't keep his header under the bar and Sakrovy fed Suon Noeut and he by-passed the last defender only to have his shot saved by the keeper.
With the clock ticking, up-stepped Sovann to strike his glorious winner, and there was still time for Noeut to get a touch to a Sakrovy cross at the far post, but it went wide of the target. Nevertheless, a well-deserved victory for the Crown Academy against their biggest foes. 
PPCFC U-17s: S Samnang, Noeut (Sodavid 46), Baraing (Chansopheak 46), V Samnang (Noeut 69), Chanchav (Sovann 46), Rozak (Piphop 46), Chanpolin, Sakrovy, Ponvuthy (Titchhy 46), Noron (Phearath 46), Muslim. MOTM: Muslim. Goals: Muslim (43), Sovann (88).

Sunday 1 February 2015: Result: PPCFC Academy U-15s 9 Chamkarmon 6 (Friendly).
Sunday’s practice game at RSN Stadium saw goals galore as the Academy U-15s took on the adult team from Chamkarmon. Sin Kakada netted a hat-trick and the other Crown scorers were Chriv Sokundavann 2, Svang Samnang 2 and 1 each for Nop David and Tong Chanmony. Next Saturday, the U-15s travel to Svay Rieng to play the Federation Academy.
The PPCFC U-14s get their 3rd place medals in Singapore

U-14s finish 3rd in Singapore Soccer Sixes
The PPCFC U-14 boys returned home from Singapore with their medals for finishing in 3rd place in the youth tournament of the Singapore Soccer Sixes. Whilst we didn’t recapture the trophy we have won for the two previous years, the boys put up a strong showing and did very well. Mit Samel top-scored with 8 goals. Here are their results:
vs Muhamadiyah Welfare (Singapore) – Won 5-0 (Samel 2, Makara 1, Pisoth 2)
vs Bali Sports Foundation – Won 6-1 (Makara 1, Samel 1, Darapich 1, Pisoth 2, Rina 1)
vs Youth Football Phuket (Thailand) – Lost 2-4 (Pisoth 1, Samel 1)
vs Muhamadiyah Welfare (Singapore) Semi-Final – Lost 3-6 (Samel 1, Pisoth 1, Rina 1).
vs Bali Sports Foundation Third Place play-off – Won 3-0 (Samel 3).

In Sodavid and his all-girl team at Andong

The Phnom Penh Crown Academy players and coaches spent a recent Saturday afternoon in the relocation village of Andong, about 20kms outside of Phnom Penh, putting on a mini-football festival with the Development for People of Cambodia organisation and their 220 children, who had a fabulous time. It was a fun afternoon for everyone, the appetite for exercise and football amongst the children, who ranged from 6-13, was clearly evident and we will be returning to Andong in the near future. 

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Crown knocked out

PPCFC vs SVR, back row, LtoR: Srin, Matnorotin, Pisa, Sokthorn, Thierry, Boris (capt). Front: Ary, Suhana, Sokheng, Makara, Sothy - click to enlarge
Result: Phnom Penh Crown 1 Svay Rieng 4 (Hun Sen Cup Q-F).
Phnom Penh Crown were knocked out of the Hun Sen Cup at the home of Svay Rieng, in the quarter-finals, the same stage they exited the competition a year earlier. They travelled the 140kms to the provincial capital with a fully-fit squad of Khmer players and coach Sam Schweingruber opted for a striking duo of Bin Thierry and Va Sokthorn against the competition favourites, Svay Rieng. In front of a large home following, Prak Mony Udom tried his luck from 20 yards out by Yok Ary caught the free-kick comfortably. Another Udom free-kick saw Ary punch clear only to be clattered by Nob Tola after the ball had gone, with no action taken by referee Lim Buntheoun. Crown's first opening came on 16 minutes as Sos Suhana sent Leng Makara surging forward but his shot was held comfortably low down by Aim Sovannarath. Sary Matnorotin joined Chhom Pisa in the referee's notebook with less than twenty minutes played as Buntheoun tried to unnecessarily stamp his authority on the tie. Tola sent a near post header wide of the mark for the home team and Thierry headed down for Sokthorn, only for his shot to blaze high and wide. On 26 minutes Udom's pace undid the Crown back-line and as Ary came out to challenge, the SVR striker slipped past him and rolled the ball into an unguarded net for the opening goal. Ngoy Srin got on the end of a Thierry free-kick but headed wide and Matnorotin fired a shot inches wide from Touch Sokheng's center. As Crown pressed, Sokheng blasted a shot high and Matnorotin had two opportunities to level but failed. The first arrived from Leng Makara's cross but he placed his shot wide, and then Thierry's pass found him in the box but he waited too long to pull the trigger and his shot was blocked. With SVR nerves fraying, keeper Sovannarath was cautioned for an altercation with Srin and from the resulting corner, Ouk Sothy headed onto the top of the net to leave SVR with a slender lead at the break.

Crown stopper Ary dived full length to fingertip a drive from Udom around the post seven minutes after the restart and moments later, Sovannarath was writhing around in agony after an innocuous challenge by Makara. A hopeful cross was missed by two defenders though Udom sent his finish a long way clear of the cross-bar, and then Srin sent a header too high from Thierry's free-kick. Crown found themselves two-goals behind on 69 minutes as Srin dallied on the ball just inside the SVR half, Udom robbed him and sprinted clear to finish with precision. It was the turning point of the match. Ten minutes later, Tola turned Pisa inside out in the box and drove a third past Ary and a minute later, Udom set up Phany Rotha and he calmly slid the ball inside the far post for two SVR goals in as many minutes. Game effectively over though Crown refused to lie down and finished strongly, albeit too late to rescue the tie. Long Boran's blast from Matnorotin's center was tipped over acrobatically by Sovannarath, and Sokthorn's low drive was held at the second attempt. In the first minute of stoppage time, Matnorotin found the run of Srin and his cross-shot was met by a lurking Um Tola for a tap-in to give Crown a consolation goal. Moments later, Tola fed Boran but his fierce strike was inches too high as the final whistle blew on Crown's hopes of cup success this season. Head coach Sam Schweingruber gave his verdict: "In the 1st half we counted we had 7 shots, they had five, but we were not brave enough, not doing what we asked them to do in the box, way too many touches and not brave enough to try to score. To concede the 1st goal was not acceptable, but up front we needed to do better. We had a plan for the 2nd half, we had a few half chances before we conceded again. The 2nd goal we gave away was unacceptable. I am very angry with the way we defended, but we have to look forward and try to sort it out.".
PPCFC vs SVR: Ary, Pisa, Sokheng, Boris, Srin, Sothy, Suhana, Matnorotin, Makara (Boran 74), Thierry (Tola 84), Sokthorn. Subs not used: Usarphea, Chetra, Lavy, Charly, Da, Polo. Bookings: Pisa, Matnorotin. SVR 4 bookings. MOTM: Matnorotin. Goal: Tola (90+1). Referee: Lim Bunthoeun.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Crown to meet Svay Rieng

PPCFC vs Boeungket, back row, LtoR: Srin, Thierry, Sokthorn, Polo, Pisa, Ary. Front Row: Makara, Boran, Suhana, Da, Boris (capt) - click to enlarge
Result: Phnom Penh Crown 0 Boeungket 1 (Hun Sen Cup Group C).
With both teams already through to the last eight, Crown rested four players with knocks and bookings, with one eye on the weekend's quarter-final which will be played in Svay Rieng. The opening salvo came from Crown and Long Boran who won a tackle but fired his shot meekly wide in the second minute. A minute later a Bin Thierry free-kick was met by Sor Polo but his header missed the target too. A weak header out by Chhom Pisa gave Ly Ravy a sight of goal by Yok Ary was equal to the strike, and minutes later Khuon Laboravy went around Ary but lost control as Ngoy Srin cleared the danger. Ary was again in the action, diving to the foot of the upright to turn Laboravy's free-kick past the post on 22 minutes. Crown were relying on counter-attack and it nearly paid off as Leng Makara sprinted onto Sos Suhana's through ball, only to touch it wide as Peng Bunchhay came out of his area to challenge him. The final action of the half came as Polo tried his luck from long distance but Bunchhay dealt with it comfortably.

Va Sokthorn moved onto a loose ball but his aim was off target as the second-half got underway, his shot going wide of the post. Thierry was booked for complaining to the match referee after he received an elbow in the face, and moments later lax marking at a corner saw Crown concede in the fourth minute after the restart. Keo Sokpheng's corner kick was hoisted into the box, Laboravy jumped unopposed and with Ary's view blocked, the ball found its way inside the post. Laboravy was Boeungket's only danger and Ary grabbed the ball off his toe and the striker then missed a sitter, after Kok Boris had deflected a cross to him just eight yards from goal. On 56 minutes, Makara outfoxed Ros Samoeun but his strike was kept out by Bunchhay's feet, and Ary did the same to Laboravy a few moments later. Srin was booked for a late challenge and was lucky not to see red a little while later, after referee Vichheka missed a leading forearm challenge on Sok Pheng. Um Tola arrived in place of Polo and was just off target with a volley from Makara's right-wing center. Just after the hour, Touch Pancharong escaped a booking for a deliberate handball on the edge of the penalty area, while Thierry's free-kick was blasted into the defensive wall. Boran got a shot on target which Bunchhay fumbled and Sokthorn's goal-bound touch was on cleared off the line by Ly Ravy. Pancharong was finally cautioned for a rugby tackle on Chey Chetra and then stood on the ball to stop a quick free-kick. Referee Vichheka was oblivious to Crown's appeals. With the game entering the final twenty minutes, Crown upped their game and Thierry's speculative 30-yard drive was held by Bunchhay at the second attempt. Sokthorn led the Rubbermen's defence a merry dance but his perfect cross was headed over the top by Suhana from eight yards as a great opportunity went begging. At the other end of the pitch, Srin got in a timely block on Laboravy after Pisa's wayward backpass. Sok Sovan came to Boeungket's rescue with a timely block as Sokthorn blasted a Makara pass goalwards, and as play swung to the other end, Ary was quickly out to take the ball from Chan Vathanaka. Bunchhay was booked for time-wasting and then came to his side's rescue with a game-winning save at the foot of the post from Thierry's 35-yard free-kick in the fourth minute of injury time.

Both teams go through to the quarter-finals, with Crown to face home team Svay Rieng on Sunday at 6.30pm. Boeungket meet Naga at 4pm the same afternoon. Crown head coach Sam Schweingruber spoke after the final whistle; "Everything we did today was in preparation for Sunday's game, we didn't want to take a risk with certain players like [Matno]Rotin, so we left him on the bench. The first half went to plan, we looked in control, comfortable and a few times looked good on the counter-attack. Quite happy. 2nd half - we should never concede on a set piece, our preparation was very specific. Very disappointing as it was a very average corner kick. We must do better. It changed the game, it became a lot more open, but we had enough chances to get a draw. At times we were very good, particularly Sokthorn who was unstoppable today. It was frustrating we didn't do better. Now we know we play Svay Rieng, and we will do everything possible to win that game on Sunday."
PPCFC vs BKet: Ary, Pisa, Da, Srin (Sothy 90), Boris, Thierry, Suhana, Makara, Boran (Chetra 68), Sokthorn, Polo (Tola 59). Subs not used: Usarphea, Matnorotin, Lavy, Charly, Sokheng. Bookings: Thierry, Srin. MOTM: Sokthorn - always causing problems. Ref: Tuy Vichheka.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

20 goals in a day

PPCFC vs Battambang, back row, LtoR; Matnorotin, Srin, Polo, Sokthorn, Boris, Ary. Front: Sokheng, Makara, Pisa, Suhana, Sothy - click to enlarge
Result: Phnom Penh Crown 15 UYFC Battambang 0 (Hun Sen Cup Group C).
Crown coach Sam Schweingruber was without defender Thourng Da and striker Um Tola for his team's second tie in the Hun Sen Cup Group C at Tonle Bati. Both were missing through injury. The match began as expected, with Crown in the ascendency and it took just three minutes for debutant striker Sor Polo to strike the foot of the post. On five minutes, Sos Suhana tapped in the opening goal after Battambang keeper Tit Angsron juggled and dropped Touch Sokheng's center. Angsron did better when Va Sokthorn's shot was heading for the bottom corner, diving full length to push it aside. It was one-way traffic in Crown's favour and Leng Makara volleyed acrobatically onto the cross-bar from another Sokheng cross. With 18 minutes gone, Crown struck their second, as Sokthorn fed Makara and he burst through the middle before tucking his shot home. Other chances went begging before Crown scored their third goal. Polo sprinted through only to earn a yellow card for a foot up on Angsron who had left his box, Ouk Sothy sent a header over the top and Sokthorn had a goal ruled out for another foul by Polo on the overworked Angsron. That third goal arrived on 37 minutes as Chhom Pisa and Suhana combined to find Polo in the area, he took a touch before lacing the ball into the roof of the net for a debut goal from eight yards out. Sary Matnorotin had two attempts to get on the scoresheet but couldn't find the target until two minutes before the break, when he took the ball off the toe of Suhana, raced clear and finished with ease. Half-time and 4 goals ahead. 

With Ngoy Srin pushing into midfield, the central defender turned provider just three minutes after the break as Angsrom saved his drive, only for Sokthorn to turn in the loose ball. Eight minutes in and Matnorotin was in acres of space as he looped his header over the stranded keeper from Sokheng's center. Battambang were struggling to contain a rampant Crown team as they pushed in search for more goals. Polo was a few inches too high with a fierce drive and Suhana sent a volley wide from Sokthorn's cross, when it looked easier to score. On 64 minutes, Makara raced to the bye-line and pulled back for Sokthorn to set up Ouk Sothy for a simple score. Substitute Bin Thierry was on the field for just three minutes before he tapped in Crown's eighth just fifty seconds after Sothy's goal. Turning provider for Thierry's goal was Matnorotin who unselfishly squared the ball. Minutes later and Thierry had an attempt cleared off the goal-line, though Angsron was injured in the build-up and was replaced in goal by Battambang defender San Sotyan. Crown lost captain Kok Boris at the same time, with an ankle injury. Continuing their search for goals, Sokthorn's effort was cleared off the line by Ang Lyhor before Thierry volleyed over from six yards out. Goal number nine arrived on 76 minutes as Sokthorn fed Srin and his bye-line pull-back was tucked in by Suhana. A minute later and Srin sent Makara through, though he was fortunate the stand-in keeper kicked the ball against him and he rolled in his second goal. 

Yok Ary was finally called into action as ex-PPCFC Chea Dara's 25-yard free-kick looked to be creeping inside the post. At the other end Sotyan was happy to keep out Thierry's free-kick but he had no chance on 87 minutes as Srin released Lous Charly and his rolled cross was snapped up by Makara at the far post for his hat-trick goal. A minute later and Matnorotin also claimed his treble as Makara moved onto Pisa's long ball over the top and served it on a plate for his teammate to tap in. In the final minute a quickly-taken free-kick by Thierry found Srin in space and he fired in low to claim a deserved goal. In time added-on, Crown kept surging forward and claimed two more goals. Srin evaded three challenges on the edge of the box and set up Sokthorn, who was in no mood to miss. In the fourth minute of injury-time, Thierry claimed Crown's 15th when he won the ball and fired in a 20-yard low drive that went under the body of Sotyan to complete the demolition of the province team. Crown's second win in as many games takes them through to the quarter-finals with one Group C game still to go against Boeung Ket on Wednesday. 
PPCFC vs Battambang: Ary, Pisa, Sokheng, Srin, Boris (Boran 69), Sothy, Sokthorn, Matnorotin, Suhana (Charly 79), Makara, Polo (Thierry 61). Subs not used: Usarphea, Chetra, Lavy. Bookings: Polo, Sokheng. MOTM: Srin - all action 2nd half. Goals: Suhana 2 (5, 76), Makara 3 (18, 77, 87), Polo (37), Matnorotin 3 (43, 53, 88), Sokthorn 2 (48, 90+3), Sothy (64), Thierry 2 (64, 90+4), Srin (90).
PPCFC U-15s vs FFC, back row, LtoR: Chanmony, Sovannaroth, Savey, Chetra, Safy, Samnang. Front: Kakada, Pisoth, Piseth, S David, Panha - click to enlarge

Result: Phnom Penh Crown Academy U-15s 5 FFC Academy 1 (Friendly).
The Crown Academy maintained their winning record against the Federation Academy at Tonle Bati this morning with a comfortable victory. Chea Savey had to clear the ball from his own goal-line early on but after that it was Crown who forced the pace and Sok Panha rattled the top of the cross-bar with a cross-cum-shot. The same player gave his team the lead on 13 minutes when Mao Piseth's free-kick was deflected to him and he sent a half-volley into the net from six yards out. Piseth went close but saw his initial shot saved and from the resulting corner, his volley cleared the bat. Svang Samnang looked assured as he saved an FFC breakaway with his feet and on 20 minutes, Sin Kakada, with a 20-yard effort that eluded the FFC keeper's waving arms, put the Crown Academy further ahead. With the match bogged down in midfield, a save from Panha brought the first-half to a close. Four minutes after the restart, Kakada's perfect through ball saw Piseth hold off his marker and clipped in Crown's third goal. Ten minutes into the half and FFC took advantage of some sleepy defending to snatch a goal back. Crown were still dominant and on 67 minutes, Savey's thrust through the middle and shot were denied only for San David to slot the rebound into the net. Cue a cartwheel from the diminutive youngster. Kakada wrapped up the scoring on 77 minutes when he let rip from 30-yards out and his thunderbolt struck the bar and bounced over the line. A great strike to complete a dominant performance from Crown.

PPCFC U-15s vs FFC: Samnang (Rafat 46), Sovannaroth, Chetra (Davann 46 (Chetra 78), Safy, Savey (Davann 83), S David (N David 70), Pisoth (Samnang 61), Piseth, Kakada (Chanmony 78), Panha (Punlork 61), Chanmony (Rina 46). MOTM: Kakada. Goals: Panha (13), Kakada 2 (20, 77), Piseth (49), S David (67).

Friday, January 23, 2015

Adriano heads to Udon

Adriano celebrates his championship success with his girlfriend Izabelle, and her hair!
Phnom Penh Crown have announced that Australian midfield playmaker, Adriano Pellegrino, has left the club to join Thailand Div 2 Northeast team Udonthani FC for a substantial fee. Adriano, who joined Crown halfway through last season and made a massive contribution with his assists and goals as they won the Metfone C-League Championship, played in a friendly for Udonthani against Muangthong United earlier this week and scored the winning goal in the final minute to impress his new club and their supporters.
Crown head coach Sam Schweingruber made it clear that Adriano's departure was a big loss. "As a head coach, I obviously am very sad to see Adriano move on to find a new challenge in Thailand. We were extremely lucky to have such a talented and experienced player with our club for the last 9 months and we benefited on many different levels. He has helped our team with his skills but also with his leadership and pushed us in the right directions. We would have liked for Adriano to help us defend our MCL title but understand that what we can offer in Cambodia is not a match to what he can get in a different league or club. I wish him all the best for his future. As a club we are fortunate to have more than a month to find a strong replacement and will look for players to come on try out and help fill the gap that the departure of Adriano has left. Our performance against Army has shown what our team is capable of achieving if we work as a unified team and our coaching staff will do whatever possible to ensure we are going to be successful in the new season."

Born in Adelaide, Australia, Adriano played his early football with Adelaide City, Adelaide United, Western Strikers and North Eastern Metrostars, as well as a stint in Greece with Panachaiki. In 2008 he joined A-League team Perth Glory for 3 years, before moving to Central Coast Mariners, also in the Australian League, where he registered nearly 100 A-League appearances in total and played in the 2013 AFC Champions League. He played a game for AEU earlier last season on his way to Kedah in the Malaysian League, but that deal fell through and their bad luck was Crown's good fortune. The former Australian U-20 international joined Crown in May last year, just a few hours before his two-goal debut against AEU and went onto collect a championship medal at the season's end. I'm sure he will be a success in the northeast of Thailand at Udonthani.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Cup success

PPCFC vs Army, back row, LtoR: Srin, Matnorotin, Thierry, Sokthorn, Ary, Boris (capt). Front: Pisa, Da, Sokheng, Suhana, Sothy- click to enlarge
Result: Phnom Penh Crown 4 Army 0 (Hun Sen Cup Group C).
With the competitive debuts of Sary Matnorotin and Va Sokthorn, Crown started slowly in the sunshine at Tonle Bati in their opening Group C match of the Hun Sen Cup. Yok Ary was called into a simple save from Pov Phearith's free-kick before coach Sam Schweingruber was forced into an early change, as Thourng Da left the field with a knee injury on 12 minutes, to be replaced by teenager Chey Chetra. Crown's first sight of goal came on 23 minutes as Ngoy Srin's ball to Bin Thierry, allowed the midfielder to create space for a shot but his strong drive went whistling wide of the target. Sokthorn went down claiming he'd been pulled over in the box but referee Khuon Vireak was in no mood to listen to Crown's pleas throughout the match. The opening goal came as Crown asserted themselves, on 29 minutes. Touch Sokheng, who had an outstanding game at left-back, fed Thierry, and his deflected cross sat up perfectly for Matnorotin to get a left-foot half-volley on target for the first of his two goals. The teenager could've scored again three minutes later, set up by Sokthorn after a neat interchange, but Um Sereyroth in the Army goal came out quickly to deny him. A wayward back-pass from Srin allowed Touch Roma space but his lob was well off target. With two minutes of the first-half remaining, Sereyroth was twice called upon to produce outstanding stops to keep his team in the tie. Matnorotin's cross to the far post was headed powerfully goalwards by Thierry, only for the keeper to tip it over the bar. Moments later, a 25-yard free-kick by Thierry was finger-tipped around the foot of the post by the stopper. In injury time, Ary pushed away a cross-shot from Phourng Soksana, but Army were well off the pace.

It took just 39 seconds of the second-half for Crown to continue their dominance. Sokthorn, who was the man-of-the-match in most observer eyes, broke clear and his cross was met by the forehead of Thierry, only for his header to miss the goal by inches. Three minutes later and Sokthorn set up Sos Suhana but his lob cleared the cross-bar. Ouk Sothy tried his luck from distance but Sereyroth was equal to it before Matnorotin clinched his second on 59 minutes. Ary's long drop-kick was headed on by Sokthorn and Matnorotin held off his marker and coolly rolled the ball past the keeper for Crown's second goal. Phearith struck the foot of the Crown upright with a free-kick, but it was all Crown and on 70 minutes, Sokthorn got the goal his performance deserved. Thierry held the ball up well and as it was cleared, Sokthorn took a touch and then blasted a left-foot screamer into the top corner from 25 yards out. A special strike, which must've looked good on the live TV cameras. Leng Makara and Um Tola entered the fray and the two combined with ten minutes to go, when Makara's 40-yard sprint set up Tola, but his finish struck the foot of the post and out to safety. Chetra set up Sokthorn but his shot was blocked low down by Sereyroth. With two minutes to go, captain Kok Boris stepped up to fire home his team's fourth goal from the penalty spot after Thong Udom had handled Makara's shot on the goal-line and was dismissed by referee Vireak. It was Sokthorn who released Tola, his initial shot was stopped by Sereyroth and that allowed Makara two strikes at goal, his second being punched away by last-man Udom. The game ended on a sour note as Ke Vannak's flying elbow caught Tola in the face and the striker was carried off with a bloody mouth. Crown, after this confident performance, will meet Battambang on Sunday in their next cup outing at Tonle Bati; the youngsters from the northwest were beaten 10-2 by Boeung Ket.  
PPCFC vs Army: Ary, Pisa, Da (Chetra 12), Srin, Boris, Thierry (Tola 79), Sothy, Sokheng, Sokthorn, Matnorotin (Makara 74), Suhana. Subs not used: Usarphea, Boran, Polo, Lavy, Charly. Booking: Sothy. MOTM: Sokthorn. Goals: Matnorotin 2 (29, 59), Sokthorn (70), Boris (88 pen).

Monday, January 19, 2015

Hun Sen Cup additions

Phnom Penh Crown open up their Group C Hun Sen Cup account this week, against the National Defense Ministry (Army) team at Tonle Bati on Thursday 22 Jan (kick-off 3.30pm). Crown head coach Sam Schweingruber has selected a squad of 19 Cambodian players - as no foreign players are allowed to participate. The squad includes 8 new faces, who have recently joined the club after trials, and Sam had this to say about the new signings: “Under pressure to fill the squad for the forthcoming cup matches, we have signed a number of young players with potential. All of them need time to adjust to the higher level of football at Phnom Penh Crown but they are working hard to catch up. As we have seen in the last few friendly games, some of them already have had some impact and we hope to see more from them in the next few months.”
The squad numbers for the Hun Sen Cup are as follows: (* = new signing):
1 - Yok Ary GK; 3 - Thourng Da; 4 - Touch Sokheng; 8 - Ouk Sothy; 9 - Bin Thierry; 13 - Um Tola*; 15 - Long Boran*; 16 - Sary Matnorotin; 17 - Sos Suhana; 18 - Kok Boris; 20 - Va Sokthorn; 23 - Leng Makara; 26 - Ngoy Srin; 28 - San Usarphea* GK; 31- Chey Chetra*; 33 - Sor Polo*; 34 - Hour Lavy*; 35 - Lous Chaly*; 30 - Chhom Pisa.
The next two Hun Sen Cup matches will be played on:
Sun 25 Jan - PPCFC vs UYFC Battambang - 3.30pm @ Tonle Bati
Wed 28 Jan - PPCFC vs Boeung Ket Angkor - 3.30pm @ Tonle Bati.

Goalkeeper San Usarphea (aged 23) is from Battambang and joins us after playing half a dozen matches for CMAC in the Division 1A play-offs. He was with BBU for a spell last season.
Midfielder Hour Lavy (aged 20) was born in Svay Rieng and has played with Chhlam Samuth and at BBU for the past two years. He was recently with CMAC for their Division 1A challenge.

Striker Sor Polo (aged 19) was born in Sihanoukville and played for his home town team since he was 14 years old. He scored 7 goals in 6 matches as Sihanoukville won the recent Division 1A play-offs.
Winger Chey Chetra (aged 17) comes from Kirivong in Takeo and recently played for Western University in the SEA University Games in Indonesia. He spent the last two years with the Suphanburi FC Academy in Thailand.

Striker Um Tola (aged 25) was born in Battambang, played for the Samdech Ov High School and his provincial team as a youngster. He also played for the Crossroads club, the SALT organization, Western University for three years and a brief spell with the Thaneakea Srov team. He played for Western University in the C-League during 2012.
Another Battambang-born winger, Long Boran (aged 23), also played for Western University for two years, alongside Tola. He appeared for Samdech Ov High School and his provincial team, as well as the SALT Organisation and Thaneakea Srov before moving to live in Phnom Penh in 2011 to study.

Winger Lous Charly (aged 18) comes from Thmor Koul in Battambang, played for Monivong High School, and also represented Battambang Police for the last two years.
Midfielder Sean Pisa (aged 18) joined Crown as part of the transfer deal that took Hong Pheng to Boeung Ket. Another native of Battambang, he played for Thaneakea Srov in his home town before ten matches for BBU and three games for Boeung Ket, who he joined last year. He is unavailable for the Hun Sen Cup.

Two more wins

PPCFC U-17s vs Prekchey, back row, LtoR: Rozak, Sakrovy, Chanchav, Samnang, Senteang, Soksela. Front: Noron, Noeut, Ponvuthy, Muslim, Phearath - click to enlarge
Result: Phnom Penh Crown Academy U-17s 4 Prekchey Keila 0 (Friendly).
The Academy came out on top in this practice match at RSN Stadium against one of their fellow Hun Sen Cup teams and dominated the whole game. After keeping the Prekchey goalkeeper busy for most of the first-half, Crown broke the deadlock, with two goals in the last three minutes of the opening period. Both goals were fabulous shots, both from outside the box, that whistled into the back of the net, first by Mat Noron and then Mat Sakrovy. In the 2nd half, Prekchey hit the post but it was all Crown and In Sodavid rounded off another incisive move with a goal on 78 minutes. Sraing Titchhy blasted against the cross bar and then tucked in goal number four from Ken Chansopheak's cross with three minutes left on the clock.

PPCFC U-15s vs Rooy7, back row, LtoR: Chanmony, Chetra, Samnang, Sovannaroth, Rafat. Front:Punlork, Kakada, Rina, S David, Samel, Piseth - click to enlarge

Result: Phnom Penh Crown Academy U-15s 10 Rooy7 1 (Friendly).
This was a one-sided practice match which the Academy U-15s dominated from start to finish, leading 3-nil at the interval of two 35-minute periods at RSN Stadium. Tong Chanmony opened the scoring with a class drive into the roof of the net from Mit Samel's pass on six minutes. Nann Punlork's 20-yard grounder crept under the keeper's body on 15 minutes and there were close shaves from Sin Kakada, Chanmony who hit the cross-bar and Mao Piseth, who led the defence a merry dance. On 32 minutes Piseth tucked away Kakada's cross with a volleyed scissor-kick to give the Academy a three-goal interval lead. Crown were on the front front from the restart and Svang Samnang tested his range from the edge of the box, which the keeper turned aside. In the third minutes, Chanmony and Piseth toyed with the defence and the latter volleyed in his second of the game. Kakada found the top corner with a superb 25-yard effort eight minutes in as Rooy7 struggled to cope, though they scored a breakaway a minute later to get on the scoresheet. However, a minute later, order was restored as Chanmony finished off a nice move from Samnang and Piseth. The Crown striker was in sparkling form and another jinking run saw his effort deflected over the bar. On 54 minutes Samel fed Samnang and he planted the ball in the far corner with a slide-rule finish. Substitute Lim Pisoth sent a skidding shot in off the post from well outside the penalty area on 62 minutes for number eight, though Kie Rina was disappointed to see his thunderbolt turned away at the final moment by a flying goalkeeper. Samnang produced a stunning 25-yard drive into the top right-hand corner of the net on 65 minutes and in the final minute, Piseth grabbed his hat-trick with a typically cool finish from Pech Sovannaroth's pass to end the game at 10-1.

PPCFC U-15s: Rafat, Rina (Pisoth 36), Chetra (Samel 51), Sovannaroth, Samnang (Chetra 66), Punlork (Rina 51), Samel (Safy 36), Kakada (Punlork 66), S David (Davann 25), Chanmony (S David 46), Piseth. MOTM: Piseth. Goals: Piseth 3 (32, 38, 70), Chanmony 2 (6, 45), Samnang 2 (54, 65), Punlork (15), Kakada (43), Pisoth (62).

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Beaten by BBU

PPCFC 1st half, back row, LtoR: Sothy, Pisa, Sokthorn, Thierry, Boris, Ary. Front row: Matnorotin, Srin, Sokheng, Chetra, Da - click to enlarge
Result: Phnom Penh Crown 2 BBU 5 (Friendly).
It took just 34 seconds for this practice match at RSN Stadium to explode into life. A push in the back of Va Sokthorn and a penalty was awarded. Bin Thierry stepped up to plant the spot-kick to the keeper's right and Crown had the lead with just over a minute on the clock. The home team went close when a Thierry free-kick was volleyed a foot past the near post by Touch Sokheng and Chey Chetra raced into the area but no-one could get a touch to his whipped cross. Rim Bunhieng's free-kick struck the outside of Yok Ary's post and on 23 minutes, BBU took the lead from another dead-ball situation. Bunhieng's 25-yard strike avoided the wall and Ary could only punch the ball into the net at the near post. Ngoy Srin, playing in attack for the first time, didn't get the power he needed when free in the box and a minute later, Sary Matnorotin poked the ball wide from five yards as Sokthorn's corner missed everyone. A BBU defender received his second yellow card and a red on the half-hour but the visitors were allowed to replace him and within twenty seconds, they were in front again. A corner found its way to the back post and BBU struck their second on 35 minutes. Just two minutes later they went further ahead as Ary and Chhom Pisa got in a tangle, leaving BBU with a simple tap-in. Another free-kick caused more problems and Ary's punch struck a BBU head and bounced onto the cross-bar. Four minutes before the break, Crown were back in the game as Leng Makara broke on the right and his low driven center was sliced past his own keeper by a BBU defender as he attempted to clear. BBU led 3-2 at the break.

BBU came out of the blocks at the start of the second half and within 40 seconds San Usarphea, Ary's replacement was diving to his right to push the ball away. Crown had changed their whole team and were taking time to settle. BBU struck the post again from long range before Long Boran went close at the other end. He whacked a dipping free-kick from the right towards goal and it needed a strong punch by the BBU keeper to keep it out. Two more goals in two minutes gave BBU an unassailable lead as their foreign contingent gave the Crown defence a hard time. On 65 minutes they passed their way through the middle for Richard Omokafe to score and their second came from the right with Mbarga Privat firing inside the near post. Matnorotin burst into the box at the other end but his drive was saved low down and the match ended with little further goalmouth action. Injuries to Sos Suhana, Kok Boris and Sor Polo are a concern for coach Sam Schweingruber with their first Hun Sen Cup game coming up on Thursday.
PPCFC vs BBU: Ary (Usarphea 46), Pisa (Noeut 46), Da (Chaly 46), Boris (Obadin 46), Thierry (Dani 46), Sothy (Sakrovy 46), Sokheng (Lavy 46), Chetra (Boran 30 (Matnorotin 75)), Matnorotin (Makara 30 (Chetra 75)), Sokthorn (Lee 46), Srin (Tola 46). Booking: Da. Goals: Thierry (2 pen), OG (41).
PPCFC 2nd half, back row, LtoR; Usarphea, Makara, Chaly, Lavy, Obadin. Front Row: Lee, Dani, Boran, Tola, Noeut, Sakrovy  - click to enlarge

Thursday, January 15, 2015

A draw and departures

PPCFC vs Army, back row, LtoR: Sothy, Srin, Sokthorn, Boris, Thierry, Ary. Front: Da, Sokheng, Tola, Suhana, C Pisa - click to enlarge
Result: Phnom Penh Crown 2 Army 2 (Friendly).
In this practice match played at the Army Stadium, Crown led with a goal by Va Sokthorn just after the half-hour and should've added more before the break. Sos Suhana tried a lob early on that was easily held, whilst Chhom Pisa headed over from a good position from Touch Sokheng's corner. Another corner gave Ouk Sothy a sight of goal, but he blasted over the bar. As they continued to press, Um Tola's headed pass put in Sokthorn but he screwed his shot wide of the target. Sokthorn nearly returned the favour as he burst into the box but Tola couldn't find the final touch in the six-yard box. Chey Chetra entered the fray and looked lively from the outset. His corner was headed across the face of goal by Sothy before his quick sprint along the left flank set up Sokthorn for a smart finish into the far corner for the opening goal on 31 minutes. Coach Sam Schweingruber made five changes at the break and Adriano Pellegrino was prominent in Crown's forays forward in the second-half. The Australian sent a 30-yard drive well over, before his cross was fired the wrong side of the far post by Sokthorn. Tola also had a good opportunity but sent his shot straight at the keeper. A trip by Odion Obadin gave Army the equaliser from the penalty spot, courtesy of Leng Narin and the post, on 71 minutes, and three minutes later, the home side took the lead. Benefiting from a quick breakaway, Army caught Crown cold in defence and went in front. Crown's fightback began with another 30-yard snap-shot by Pellegrino which the goalkeeper juggled to safety, and then he set up Hour Lavy, but his touch deserted him in the box. Bin Thierry's flighted pass sent Sor Polo into the area but he lifted his drive over the cross-bar. With two minutes remaining, Pellegrino's dangerous free-kick was headed powerfully against the cross-bar and over the goal-line by Hour Lavy for a deserved leveller. There was still time for Thierry's free-kick to cause some consternation in the Army goalmouth but the match ended all-square at 2-2.

PPCFC v Army: Ary (Usarphea 73), C Pisa (Lavy 73), Da (Makara 46), Boris (Lee 73), Srin (Obadin 46), Thierry (S Pisa 46 (C Pisa 87)), Sothy (Thierry 73), Suhana (Tola 46), Sokheng (Pellegrino 46), Sokthorn (Polo 73), Tola (Chetra 27). Booking: Obadin. Goals: Sokthorn (31), Lavy (88).

It was also confirmed today that Kouch Sokumpheak and Khim Borey have left Phnom Penh Crown in order to join Nagaworld for a substantial fee. Sokumpheak (27) and Borey (25) joined Crown before the start of the 2011 season, though Borey was loaned to Thai team Sisaket for a season. Sokumpheak won the league championship on two occasions with PPCFC after 4 years with Khemara Keila. Borey spent 5 years with the Army team before joining Crown, and both players have represented Cambodia in international football on numerous occasions. Full-back Hong Pheng joined Boeung Ket earlier this week.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Movement at Crown

George Bisan signs on for another year. Pic Aman Singh.
Lots taking place this week already at Phnom Penh Crown. First-up is a further 1-year extension on the contract of last season's leading goalscorer with 20 goals, George Bisan, that will take him through to the end of 2015. George joined Crown in November 2013 after a year apiece with Chhlam Samuth (on loan) and Boeung Ket, where he was top scorer in both seasons. Born in Kaduna City in Nigeria, the 22-year-old striker started out with Waco Boys Academy and Maracana FC in his home country before coming to Cambodia where he has scored 52 goals in three seasons in the Metfone C-League. Head coach Sam Schweingruber had this to say about his star striker. "After last season's dominance by George in front of goal, we are very pleased to continue to have his support and goals. His physical power has helped him to make a name in Cambodia - often for being unstoppable. He was recently voted our best player at the Mekong Cup where he scored goals for fun and we are proud to have him on our side for the new season again. If his recent development continues, I am convinced his best season in Cambodia is still to come!"

There was also the Hun Sen Cup draw on Wednesday. The draw for the last 16 of the Hun Sen Cup saw 8 qualifying teams join the top 8 teams from last year's Metfone C-League and Crown have been drawn in Group C alongwith Boeung Ket, Army and Battambang. The matches will take place as follows, with locations and kick-off times to be confirmed in a couple of days:
Fri 23 Jan - PPCFC vs Army 3.45pm @ Army Stadium
Thu 5 Feb - PPCFC vs Battambang 1.30pm @ Army Stadium
Mon 9 Feb - PPCFC vs Boeung Ket 1.30pm at Tonle Bati.
The top two teams from Group C will be drawn against the top two from Group D, likely to be Naga and Svay Rieng, in the QF's on 13 & 14 February. The Final will be on 21 February.

On Tuesday, the club announced the sale of defender Hong Pheng to Boeung Ket for a substantial fee. The Battambang-born full-back made 23 appearances last season, scoring twice. He joined Crown in February 2011 from Baksey Chamkrong, and represented the Cambodia national team in the AFF Suzuki Cup last year. He was one of four players recently suspended from first-team activities. Young midfielder Sean Pisa moves in the opposite direction, joining Crown as part of the transfer arrangements, having also played with BBU last season. He originates from Battambang.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Third time lucky

Chroy Changvar, back row, LtoR: Chanchav, Sovann, Soksela, Titchhy, Senteang, Chanpolin. Front: Chhaya, Rozak, Samnang, Sodavid, Phearath - click to enlarge
Result: Chroy Changvar (Phnom Penh Crown Academy U-17s) 3 Tuol Kork (Svay Rieng B) 2 (Hun Sen Cup).
The Academy U-17s finished their Hun Sen Cup competition with a victory over old foes Svay Rieng, though both teams played under the name of city districts, in their first real taste of senior football. The Academy's two previous defeats to Kirivong and Albirex meant they could not qualify for the next round of the competition, so coach Bouy Dary made a number of personnel changes. Crown controlled the match for long periods with Tuol Kork offering token resistance with counterattacks. Sraing Titchhy missed a Kim Chhaya cross by inches and Chhuot Senteang's 25-yard effort crashed against the cross bar but without goal-line technology it was impossible to know if the ball crossed the line as it bounced down. An error by Choun Chanchav gifted the ball to Tuol Kork and An Sokchea made him pay with a sweet strike into the far corner for a goal against the run of play on 21 minutes. That quickly led to two competent saves from Sem Mesa in the Tuol Kork goal, a former Crown keeper, as he denied In Sodavid's long range effort and then Long Phearath's burst into the box. The expected equaliser arrived on 31 minutes as Ouk Sovann produced yet another of his trademark free-kick specials, getting the ball over the wall and the keeper's despairing dive with pace and precision from 20 yards out. Lionel Messi would've been proud of him. Keo Soksela made himself big to deny Sokchea with the last kick of the half as the teams went in level. 

Just 29 seconds into the second-half and Senteang raced clear onto Yeu Muslim's pass and rolled in his team's second with consummate ease. Muslim's shot lacked power to beat Mesa, while Soksela was down quickly to deny Sokchea at the near post. Sath Rozak poked in number three from close range after Sodavid's shot was saved by Mesa on 70 minutes. Chhaya's 30-yard run along the left flank sliced open the Tuol Kork defence to create the opening. Cheam Ratana nicked a goal back eight minutes later as the Academy failed to clear their lines but the Academy were on top and only another great save from Mesa denied Sodavid from netting at close range. Pov Ponvuthy was also denied by the keeper who then watched Senteang's audacious 35-yard lob sail just inches over the bar. A deserved success for Crown, though too late to progress to the next stage of the Hun Sen Cup, as Kirivong claimed top spot with a 1-0 win over Albirex.
Chroy Changvar (PPCFC U-17s): Soksela, Sovann (Noeut 46), Phearath, V Samnang, Chanchav, Chanpolin, Sodavid, Rozak (Ponvuthy 83), Chhaya, Titchhy (Muslim 46), Senteang. Subs not used: Chanvuthy, Sakrovy, Chansopheak, Baraing, Noron, Piphop. Goals: Sovann (31), Senteang (46), Rozak (70). MOTM: Chanpolin.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Win over Naga

PPCFC v Naga, back row, LtoR: Polo, Thierry, Sokthorn, Boris, Srin, Ary. Front: Da, Pisa, Sokheng, Boran, Chetra - click to enlarge
Result: Phnom Penh Crown 2 NagaCorp 0 (Friendly).
Coach Sam Schweingruber used another 7 trialists in this afternoon's practice match at RSN Stadium as he continues his search for a squad to compete in the upcoming Hun Sen Cup. Unable to use the Academy players as they are already in the competition under the banner of Chroy Changvar, Schweingruber's squad, depleted by the suspension of four regulars from last season's line-up, has taken on a fresh look with the recent addition of new faces. For today's practice match with NagaCorp he started with three newcomers and used the others during the three periods of thirty minutes, while injury robbed him of the services of Sos Suhana, Leng Makara and Ouk Sothy. Naga put out their strongest line-up of locals, though chances were few and far between for the opening period. On 11 minutes an underhit Ngoy Srin back pass allowed Sun Sovannrithy to skip past Yok Ary, but he blasted the ball across the face of goal and wide. Crown's only real opportunity was a Bin Thierry free-kick that Samreth Seiha punched clear under pressure. Seven minutes after the break another Thierry free-kick found its way to Chey Chetra and his touch into the path of Chhom Pisa, saw the full-back blast the ball into the net from 12 yards for the opening goal. Naga's response saw Sovannrithy's shot deflected into the arms of Ary by Thourng Da's challenge. For the final period, both sides put on a couple of their foreign contingent to liven matters up and it worked. George Bisan took a pass from Adriano Pellegrino but screwed his shot across the face of goal, while Da headed clear from Baldwin Ngwa's effort. Crown keeper San Usarphea acrobatically turned a shot around the post as Barry Lelouma caused a few uneasy moments, and then Kok Boris went on a fifty-yard sprint upfield and Bisan flashed another shot across the six-yard box as a result. The Nigerian striker was on target with two minutes remaining when Pellegrino's raking pass to the far post fell at the feet of the striker and he buried the ball inside the net. Game over. In the final seconds, Va Sokthorn found Pellegrino and his sweetly-struck shot from 20 yards crashed against the crossbar and bounced behind the goal-line, though both referee and linesman missed it and play was waved on.

PPCFC v Naga: Ary (Usarphea 61), Pisa, Da, Boris, Srin (Matnorotin 31), Thierry (Lee 61), Sokheng, Sokthorn, Chetra (Chaly 61), Boran (Bisan 61), Polo (Tola 31 (Pellegrino 61)). Goals: Pisa (37), Bisan (88).