Friday, October 31, 2014

PPCFC prepare

Kouch Sokumpheak answers the questions from Bayon TV
I've been a bit busy with Phnom Penh Crown preparing for their battle of the century with the Vietnam League champions Becamex Binh Duong at 8pm tonight, here in Binh Duong, just outside Ho Chi Minh. I'll bring you the result later but its live on Bayon TV at 8pm in Cambodia, so make sure you watch it. Here the Bayon TV boys are interviewing the Crown captain Kouch Sokumpheak, at training last night. Also a snap of the team before they left Phnom Penh airport en route for Vietnam. We arrived late on Wednesday, managed a training session on the pitch last night and now we're getting focused on tonight's semi-final in the new Toyota Mekong Club Championship. We've been paired with the favourites so we have the toughest game of all.
The PPCFC team before flying out for Vietnam

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Crown unveil

PPCFC staff at the press conference today. LtoR: Heang, Legg, Sokthorn, Schweingruber, Bosma, Carter, Brouwer
Phnom Penh Crown held a press conference this morning at the ASKAP Gold Investment office to announce a series of exciting new developments at the club. Head coach Sam Schweingruber has signed a new 2-year extension to his contract, which is great news for everyone involved with PPCFC. Sam had this to say to the press today: “When I first came, the club was going through a difficult time and it has been hard work to get the right structure and organisation in place. We have continued to progress and were Champions last year. With the strong leadership and support of President Rithy Samnang, the hard work of all the staff and the potential of the young players we have, makes me believe that PPCFC has a great future ahead of it. I am very happy to be chosen to continue to serve the club and to bring further success to the team.” Joining him are two new members of the club’s coaching staff. His new 1st team assistant coach is Jonathan (Jonny) Carter. With over 15 years of coaching experience in the UK, USA, Singapore and Hong Kong, the 39-year-old Welshman holds a coaching A-License and was most recently head coach of Kowloon Cricket Club in Hong Kong. He has run coaching courses and sports camps for many years in Asia and is the author of highly-respected coaching manuals. Another new face is our Academy Technical Director and Performance Analyst, Tom Legg. Tom (27) has coached in the USA, India and the UK and run coaching programs in Kenya and Sierre Leone, where he most recently was the head coach at the Craig Bellamy Foundation and Performance Analyst for the Sierre Leone national team. Englishman Tom holds a UEFA B coaching License and will work closely with our Academy head coach Bouy Dary.

The list of announcements continued with the unveiling of the club’s new website,, which will work in tandem with our Mobile App – the 1st-ever in Cambodia and available as a free download on Apple and Android mobile phones – to bring our fans the most up to date information on Crown’s matches, players and what’s happening at the club. Working very closely with, these are two very exciting developments in bringing the club even closer to its rapidly-growing fanbase both in Cambodia and abroad. We encourage all PPCFC fans to visit the website and download this free App and keep in touch with the club.

Crown are also very happy to announce the appointment of Dentsu Sports Asia (DSA), the Singapore-based sports marketing company, as our strategic partner. The two-year deal will see DSA provide our club with a host of marketing, branding, commercial and sponsorship opportunities. “DSA is always on the look-out for top football clubs in the region and PPCFC definitely fits the bill with its grassroots programme and its desire for commercial growth. We want to start this initiative of forming collaborations with clubs such as these to fully develop football in the south-east Asian region and beyond,” said Kunihito Morimura, President and Chief Executive Officer of Dentsu Sports Asia. Crown President Rithy Samnang, added, “We are proud to have formed this strategic partnership with Dentsu Sports Asia, a leader in the sports marketing industry, and we are confident that this collaboration can take this football club to greater success in the near future.”

Crown announced their 18-man squad that will travel to Vietnam tomorrow for Friday’s Toyota Mekong Club Championship match against the V-League Champions Becamex Binh Duong (8pm, live on Bayon TV). It is: Yaty, Ary, Da, Borey, Sothy, Thierry, Boris, Sokumpheak, Suhana, Makara, Pheng, Srin, Sokthorn, Bosma, Pellegrino, Obadin, Bisan and Ngwa. Two of the players were introduced to the press for the first time, Koen Bosma and Va Sokthorn, although they have already played a number of practice matches for Crown and a third, Sary Matnorotin, who is in Japan right now and last season appeared for AEU, was also included in the news round-up.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

More Academy victories

PPCFC U-17s, back row, LtoR: Chanvuthy, Sakrovy, Noron, Chanchav, V Samnang, Titchhy. Front: Rozak, Phearath, Noeut, Muslim, Piphop (capt) - click to enlarge
Result: PPCFC Academy U-17s 23 Bong Paoun 0 (Cambodia U-17 Youth League).
As it was in their first meeting in the Youth League, it was all one-way traffic from the opening minute of this afternoon's game at Tonle Bati. Coach Bouy Dary used the game to give his squad players a run-out. The U-17s led 11-0 at the interval and top scorer for the game was Mat Sakrovy, who scored five goals in the first-half and another three after the break to hit 8. Mat Noron scored 4, captain Men Piphop scored 3, and Suon Noeut moved up from full-back to net a hat-trick as well. Yeu Muslim 2, Choun Chanchav, Long Phearath and Ian Sodavid also scored. More later.

PPCFC U-15s, back row, LtoR: Samnang, Safy, Savey, Sovannaroth, Chanmony, Panha (capt). Front: Kakada, Pisoth, Piseth, S David, N David - click to enlarge

Result: PPCFC Academy U-15s 8 Chraing Chamres 1 (Cambodia U-15 Youth League).
The Academy U-15s made it six out of six with another comprehensive victory, but conceded their first goal of the season, a penalty. Mao Piseth top scored again, netting five goals, opening the scoring and grabbing another on the stroke of half-time. Chraing Chamres' only attack of the 1st half earned then a penalty, which they scored. After the break, Nop David scored from the penalty spot, Sin Kakada floated in a free-kick and Tong Chanmony fired in an unstoppable shot. Piseth took advantage of some weak defending with two goals from open play, before he wrapped it up from the penalty spot with his fifth. More later.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Crown much too strong

PPCFC v TriAsia, back row, LtoR: Srin, Obadin, Pheng, Bosma, Bisan, Yaty. Front: Sothy, Boris, Makara, Sokumpheak, Pellegrino - click to enlarge

Saturday 25 October 2014: Result: Phnom Penh Crown 5 TriAsia 2 (Friendly).
Crown dominated this practice match, switched to Olympic Stadium, from start to finish, and deservedly won but will be disappointed to concede two goals, as they look to their final preparations before their trip to Vietnam for the Toyota Mekong Club Championships. Strengthened with the return of five players from national team duty, it was fit-again George Bisan who rammed home Crown’s opening goal on 13 minutes. Adriano Pellegrino’s corner found Odion Obadin in space at the back post and his downward header was blasted home by last season’s top goalscorer, who returned to training this week after a couple of months on the sidelines. On 20 minutes, Koen Bosma’s low center found Leng Makara in acres of space but his side-foot effort missed the target. Kouch Dani fired TriAsia’s only opportunity high and wide as the first of three 35-minute periods came to a close. Four minutes after the restart, Pellegrino was fouled on the edge of the penalty box and Bosma wasted no time in spotting space inside the far post and his free-kick was aimed perfectly for Crown’s second goal. Sou Yaty recovered from a poor kick out by stopping TriAsia’s advance with his legs, with Crown quickly going up the other end to extend their lead on 43 minutes. Pellegrino took aim from thirty yards and his low skidding drive went through the arms and legs of the TriAsia goalkeeper and crossed the goal-line before he could recover. Dani struck the cross-bar moments before his teammates pulled a goal back through Sopheak as Crown’s defensive line caved in too easily. Less than a minute later, George Bisan was amongst the goals again as Pellegrino’s pass allowed Bosma all the time he needed to pick out Bisan at the far post with a pinpoint cross and the striker powered the ball home with a forceful header. 53 minutes on the clock.

Dutchman Bosma tried an audacious chip from just inside the half-way line and Obadin failed to keep his shot down as a corner was laid back into his path. Five minutes into the third period and substitute Baldwin Ngwa’s headed goal put Crown in total control. Sos Suhana picked out Va Sokthorn’s run into the box and his chest down and pass to Ngwa was spot-on. Two chances in a minute came and went as both Ngwa and Khim Borey missed the target, before Soeukirin made Crown pay for waiting for an offside whistle by firing home TriAsia’s second goal on 81 minutes. The goal will give coach Sam Schweingruber much to work on before the team head to Vietnam next Wednesday. Ngwa was denied by the keeper’s legs, who also saved Sokthorn’s 20-yard drive.  Borey missed a simple chance that was identical to Makara’s earlier miss and then sent a stooping header a foot wide. Ngwa was causing problems and went close with three more opportunities including a toe-poke against the upright from Borey’s incisive pass.   
PPCFC v TriAsia: Yaty (Ary 71), Pheng (Pisa 71), Srin (Da 58 (Sokheng 88)), Boris (Chhaya 105), Obadin, Sothy (Suhana 63 (Chanpolin 105)), Sokumpheak (Sodavid 88), Makara (Sothy 71 (Sovythang 88), Bosma (Sokthorn 71), Pellegrino (Baldwin 71), Bisan (Borey 63 (Titchhy 105)). Goals: Bisan 2 (13, 53), Bosma (39), Pellegrino (43), Ngwa (75).

Monday, October 20, 2014

Cambodia end on a high note

Cam v Brunei, back row, LtoR: Udom, Sovan, Laboravy, Piseth. Pheng. Yaty. Front: Suhana, Chhoeun, Samoeun, Visal, Sokumpheak (capt) - courtesy of Masayori Ishikawa/CAMPA/Khmer Goal
Result: Brunei 0 Cambodia 1 (AFF Suzuki Cup).
Cambodia ended their AFF Suzuki Cup qualification competition with a 1-0 victory over Brunei in Laos this afternoon, their 2nd win in 4 games, but it was not enough to qualify. Myanmar and Laos go through to the finals, with the Burmese claiming top-spot in a 2-1 decider. Chhin Chhoeun scored the game's only goal on 56 minutes, taking a Prak Mony Udom pass in his stride and sending his finish low inside the near post. Cambodia had other chances with Kouch Sokumpheak and Sos Suhana going close in the first-half. Khuon Laboravy and Chan Vathanaka should've extended the lead but failed in front of goal, and a very poor Brunei team, who left their first-choice keeper and their captain on the bench, nearly snatched a draw late on when they hit the upright. Cambodia deserved their win, with 4 Phnom Penh Crown players starting the game: Sokumpheak, Sou Yaty, Suhana and Hong Pheng. Ngoy Srin missed out through suspension. 
Cambodia starting XI: Yaty, Samoeun (Virak), Pheng, Piseth, Sovan, Visal (Vathanaka), Udom, Sokumpheak, Chhoeun, Suhana (Chanrasmey), Laboravy. Subs not used: Sophea, Sovannrithy, Daravorn, Soksana, Sothearath. Goal: Chhoeun (56).

Sunday, October 19, 2014

U-15s make it five

PPCFC U-15s, back row, LtoR: Kakada, Savey, Chetra, Sovannaroth, Safy, Samnang. Front: Sophara, Panha, Piseth (capt), Pisoth, N David - click to enlarge
Result: PPCFC Academy U-15 6 Chhlam Samut 0 (Cambodia U-15 Youth League).
Captain for the day Mao Piseth gave the Academy U-15s a fifth minute lead and they went onto dominate their opponents to record their 5th victory in as many matches at Tonle Bati. Sin Kakada provided the pass to Piseth, but the striker did all the hard work for his own second goal, dodging the attentions of three defenders and firing in a superb finish on 28 minutes. Sok Panha let fly from 25 yards and his shot took a deflection off a defender's head to put the Academy 3-nil ahead on the stroke of half-time. Seven minutes after the restart, Nop David set up Kakada for another excellent finish as Crown made all the running. On 66 minutes San David produced an audacious lob from 20 yards for a fifth and Yue Safy's deflected shot made it six in the final minute.

Match report to come.

Power play by Polin

PPCFC U-17s, back row, LtoR: Chanvuthy, Sodavid, Senteang, Chanpolin, Sovann, Chhaya. Front: Piphop, Ponvuthy, Chansopheak, Baraing, Noeut (capt) - click to enlarge
Result: PPCFC Academy U-17 6 Civil Aviation 1 (Cambodia U-17 Youth League).
Another powerful performance from the Academy U-17s as they took the game to Civil Aviation, who in particular, had no answer to a man-of-the-match display by midfield dynamo Orn Chanpolin. It was the lanky youngster who fired in a Kim Chhaya free-kick from the edge of the box after just 3 minutes. He rose highest to nod home an In Sodavid corner six minutes later. Despite Civil Aviation's heavy-handed tactics, Pov Ponvuthy tapped home Ken Chansopheak's centre on 26 minutes before Chanpolin's twice-taken penalty, on 36 minutes, made it four at the break. The penalty incident caused a 4-miunute stoppage as most of the CA team walked off the pitch after Chanpolin's first penalty was saved, but the kick was ordered to be retaken for encroachment. Chanpolin took his tally to 4 goals on 59 minutes, taking advantage of a poor clearance with a dipping drive. Goal number six fell to Yeu Muslim, who took Suon Noeut's pass in his stride and slotted the ball inside the far post for another convincing win at Tonle Bati. 

Match Report to come.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Cambodia miss out again

Cam v Myanmar, back row, LtoR: Piseth, Vathanaka, Laboravy, Sovannrithy, Pheng. Yaty. Front: Sovan, Samoeun, Srin, Sothearath, Sokumpheak - click to enlarge
Result: Myanmar 1 Cambodia 0 (Aff Suzuki Cup).
The Cambodia national team lost 1-0 to Myanmar as their AFF Suzuki Cup qualification came to a premature end with one game still to play, in Vientiane, Laos this afternoon. Kyaw Ko Ko slotted home a penalty on 42 minutes as Myanmar went to the top of the five-team table. TV replays were inconclusive as Sok Sovan had his back to the camera when Japanese referee Iida Jumpei adjudged he'd handled a harmless cross into the penalty area. Cambodia huffed and puffed but didn't cause the Myanmar back-line too many problems, though Khuon Laboravy should've done better with a chance early in the second half. Coach Lee Tae-Hoon surprisingly left his super-sub Sok Chanrasmey on the bench until just twenty minutes to go and his introduction failed to inspire his teammates as it did against Timor-Leste. In fact, it needed two more very good saves from Sou Yaty to keep Cambodia in the game towards the end, as Cambodia failed to find a way through and are out of contention for a qualifying spot once again. Four Phnom Penh Crown players started the game; captain Kouch Sokumpheak, Sou Yaty, Hong Pheng and Ngoy Srin, with Sos Suhana an unused sub. With Laos beating Timor-Leste 2-0 in the later game, the two qualifiers have been confirmed as Laos and Myanmar, who go forward to the competition's final stage.
Cambodia v Myanmar: Yaty, Samoeun (Chhoeun 69), Pheng, Piseth, Sovan, Sovannrithy, Srin (Chanrasmey 70), Sokumpheak, Sothearath (Udom 58), Vathanaka, Laboravy. Subs not used: Sophea, Visal, Daravorn, Suhana, Virak, Soksana. Bookings: Srin.

Friendly reverse

PPCFC v Police, back row, LtoR: Ngwa, Bosma, Odion, Borey, Chanpolin, Ary. Front: Makara, Sokheng, Da, Sothy, Pellegrino - click to enlarge
Result: Phnom Penh Crown 1 National Police 3 (Friendly).
Crown came unstuck against Police in this afternoon's practice match at RSN Stadium, going behind on 14 minutes and couldn't find the net as two periods of thirty minutes flew by. Khim Borey, Koen Bosma and Odion Obadin all went close without troubling the scoreboard. At the start of the third period, in fact just 20 seconds in, a tug by Seut Baraing after he'd just come on as a substitute earned him a red card, Crown reduced to ten men and Police's Borey netted from the penalty spot. The homse side pushed forward and dominated the ball and on 80 minutes Bosma curled a 20-yard free-kick into the top corner, but Crown were caught by a breakaway and Police's Borey scored their third on 88 minutes. 

More from the game later.

Thursday, October 16, 2014


Cambodia's starting XI v Timor-Leste, back row, LtoR: Piseth, Sovan, Sovannrithy, Pheng, Laboravy, Yaty. Front: Srin, Suhana, Daravorn, Soksana, Sokumpheak (capt) - courtesy of Masayori Ishikawa/CAMPA/Khmer Goal
Result: Timor-Leste 2 Cambodia 3 (AFF Suzuki Cup Qualifying).
The Cambodia national team found themselves a new poster pin-up boy when Sok Chanrasmey left the substitutes bench with thirty minutes of the game remaining, and turned this AFF Suzuki Cup qualifying match on its head with a hat-trick of goals to earn his team a 3-2 victory, after they trailed by two goals with fifty minutes of the game played. The shock of the round said the TV commentator as Cambodia's national team came back from the dead to beat Timor-Leste in Laos this afternoon. Entering the fray as a replacement for Ngoy Srin, the TriAsia substitute Chanrasmey was on for five minutes before he netted his first on 65 minutes as Prak Mony Udom pulled the ball across the face of goal for an easy tap-in. While Sou Yaty kept his team in the game with a world class save at the one end, Chanrasmey was in space to direct his header into the corner from a Khuon Laboravy cross at the other on 78 minutes. And the Cambodian players were in seventh heaven just four minutes later as Chan Vathanaka lashed a shot against the cross-bar and as it bounced down, Chanrasmey made sure it counted as he headed the ball home. A turnaround of monumental importance to keep Cambodia's qualifying chances alive. There was still time for Laboravy to hit the foot of the post. In truth, whilst the victory was sweet for Cambodia, their opponents visibly wilted as the game wore on, playing their third game in six days and having lost two of their better players, recalled by their Kuwaiti club. The first-half was pretty poor fare by any standard and it was Timor who took a 25th minute lead when a free-kick took a deflection en route, caught Yaty going the wrong way and all he could do was palm it onto the knee of Barbosa who accepted the gift. Six minutes after the break, Timor pulled further in front when Bertoldo found space in the box and finished with a flourish, back-heeling the ball past Yaty. It was the only piece of flair Timor produced, despite a sprinkling of Brazilians in their line-up. Two quick substitutions by Cambodia's Korean coach Lee Tae-Hoon and the new faces combined to open the door for Cambodia's revival, which they took full advantage of.  "We were a bit lucky today as Timor had played two matches straight and it was obvious that they were tired. They were also missing two key players,” said Lee after the match. “We had some defensive problems, so this is something which we need to work on.” Cambodia now meet the favourites to progress, Myanmar on Saturday, hoping to keep their renewed dream alive.
Cam v Timor: Yaty, Pheng, Sovannrithy, Daravorn, Piseth, Sovan, Sokumpheak, Suhana (Udom 54),  Srin (Chanrasmey 60), Soksana (Vathanaka 35), Laboravy. Subs not used: Sophea, Visal, Samoeun, Sothearath, Chhoeun, Virak. Bookings: None. MOTM: Chanrasmey. Goals: Chanrasmey 3 (65, 78, 82).

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Diary dates

A few dates for your diary. The Metfone Cambodian League will begin on 25 March 2015 according to an announcement from the football federation. That of course depends on whether the new Olympic Stadium pitch will be ready in time. The grass will be torn up sometime this month and with the help of a $500,000 infusion of FIFA money, a new artificial grass surface will be laid. It should be ready by late February we are told. Because of the work taking place, the Hun Sen Cup rounds involving C-League teams will be played at the Army Stadium and they will begin from 8 January 2015 as a season precursor. There is still no word about the play-off dates for the Division 1A teams and the two clubs that finished at the foot of the C-League table in July. Albirex Niigata have been in serious training since the regular season ended and have signed a number of players from other clubs including former Crown players Noeu Sosela, San Narith and Men Seyha. They are determined to retain their C-League status. There is no word from Kirivong, whose key players have already moved onto other clubs. With the advent of home & away for some clubs in the 20-14 C-League, Svay Rieng have announced a four-team tournament (the three invited teams are from adjoining provinces in Vietnam) over the Water Festival in November period to open their new stadium in the province. The latest news from Phnom Penh Crown's new RSN Stadium is that they are well into the swing of building their new grandstand and have begun work on their new playing surface in the past week. They are targeting the end of the year to complete all the major building works, including seating on all four sides of the stadium in Tuol Kork.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Opening defeat

Cambodia v Laos, back row, LtoR: Sovan, Laboravy, Vathanaka, Samoeun, Piseth, Yaty. Front: Pheng, Suhana, Visal, Srin, Sokumpheak (capt) - photo by Masayori Ishikawa/Khmer Goal - click to enlarge
Result: Laos 3 Cambodia 2 (AFF Suzuki Cup Qualifying).
Cambodia's Suzuki Cup adventures began with a 3-2 defeat against the hosts Laos in Vientiane, but it was a close-run game in which the visitors showed their battling qualities to drag themselves level after going two goals behind in the second-half. Five Phnom Penh Crown players started the game. The first-half was a close affair which Cambodia just shaded according to the tv pundits but neither team could break their duck and it was goal-less at the break. Both Kouch Sokumpheak and Sos Suhana went close early on, in the opening half. The home team came out at the start of the second half with real purpose, no doubt inspired by coach David Booth's half-time blast, and opened the scoring on 54 minutes when two Cambodian defenders failed to deal with a long ball and Sihavong scored with a well-placed drive. Sou Yaty in the Cambodian goal was in the thick of it, with three good saves but didn't reach a ball delivered into the corridor of uncertainty between the last defender and the keeper, and Khampheng got the merest of touches to claim Laos' second on 70 minutes. To their credit Cambodia responded just three minutes later with a cracking goal from Khuon Laboravy as he bamboozled the Laos defenders and let fly with his trusty left foot. Cambodia's tails were up and just two minutes later, substitute Sok Chanrasmey got his knee to a Laboravy center and eased the ball over the line, despite Laos claims for offside. Game on and a great recovery from the visitors, albeit relying on a long ball strategy for their offensive moves. However, their hopes were dashed just six minutes later when Khampheng took a leaf out of Wayne Rooney's book the night before, and curled a free-kick over the wall and past Yaty's despairing dive, for what turned out to be the game's clincher. Yaty had to make two more saves whilst Laboravy took a tumble in the box but the referee was having none of it. To be honest, he went down too easily. And that was that. Laos just about deserved it on the balance of play, but Cambodia showed they weren't there just to make up the numbers.

After the game, Lee Tae-Hoon, the Korean coach of Cambodia, had this to say. “We missed our chances in the first half and let our guard down early in the second, allowing those two goals which put a lot of pressure on us. It is always very hard when it comes to playing the opening game against the hosts. We have to do better in our next match. There are a lot of things we need to get right.” David Booth, the successful coach of Phnom Penh Crown in 2011, who took over the Laos team just a few weeks ago, said: "We didn’t play well in the first half and we kept giving the ball away but in the second half we were a lot stronger. Maybe the players thought we had done enough when we went two goals up and they lost their concentration and let in two quick goals. They could have easily given a third away at that point but we got the lead back and held on for the win, which was very important for our first game.” Cambodia face Timor-Leste in their next game on Thursday, who will be cock-a-hoop after their 4-2 win over Brunei in the opening game. Murilo de Almeida grabbed a hat-trick to make his mark in the tournament. Timor have six players playing abroad - two are playing in Kuwait, three in Brazil and one in Thailand - with the remainder from the local amateur league. Cambodia will have their work cut out to kickstart their Suzuki Cup hopes into life.
Cambodia NT: Yaty, Pheng, Visal, Piseth, Sovan, Samoeun, Srin (Sothearath), Sokumpheak, Suhana (Chanrasmey), Laboravy, Vathanaka. Subs: Sophea, Udom, Chhoeun, Daravorn, Soksana, Virak, Sovannrithy. Bookings: Sokumpheak, Srin. Goals: Laboravy (73), Chanrasmey (75).
Ex-PPCFC coach David Booth, now with Laos, emerged victorious
Cambodia's Lee Tae-Hoon, ponders his next move at the press conference

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Rozak inspires win

PPCFC U-17s, back row, LtoR: Chanvuthy, Sakrovy, Senteang, Chanchav, Chanpolin, Baraing. Front: Sovann, Ponvuthy, Sodavid, Phearath, Rozak (capt) - click to enlarge
Result: Phnom Penh Crown Academy U-17 4 Boeung Ket 1 (Cambodia U-17 Youth League).
Crown began in confident fashion, passing the ball cleanly while Boeung Ket were content to defend in numbers. Mat Sakrovy headed over a Long Phearath free-kick and Orn Chanpolin had a long range shot deflected inches wide of the upright. The BK goalkeeper did well to punch a Seut Baraing free-kick to safety after Ouk Sovann was fouled. At the other end Kung Chanvuthy made a diving save but from the resulting corner, he was clearly impeded as he went for the ball, but the referee turned away as Boeung Ket stabbed the ball home to take the lead, much to Chanvuthy's disgust. Four minutes later on 28 minutes, Crown were level. In Sodavid's short pass put Sath Rozak in space 25 yards out and he drilled an arrow-like scorcher into the bottom corner. It was his third attempt on goal in five minutes. Sodavid then set up Sakrovy but he powered a shot against the crossbar, a long distance drive from Seut Baraing stung the keeper's hands before Sakrovy went close on two more occasions. With four minutes of the first-half remaining, a foul on Chhuot Senteang gave Sovann the excuse to try his trademark free-kick and he didn't let his teammates down. Twenty-five yards from goal he curled the ball over the wall and in off the inside of the post. 2-1 to Crown. And there was still time for both Sakrovy and Senteang to miss very presentable chances before the break.

The one-way traffic continued after the interval. Sodavid had a shot blocked by a forest of legs, another Sovann free-kick was caught by the keeper, who then took out Chanpolin around his ears, as he was clean through and touched the ball past the stopper, only for the referee to blow for a foul by Chanpolin. A decision no-one could fathom. It was at the very least a red card and a penalty. Yeu Muslim broke clear but his shot was saved by the keeper's legs, Baraing sent a free-header over the bar from close in before Crown claimed their third on 75 minutes. Rozak's through ball was pounced on by Suon Noeut, who cut inside a defender and let fly with a hard drive inside the near post. Crown piled on the pressure, with Muslim's snap-shot tipped over the bar and then he screwed another shot across the face of goal. Sakrovy's drive was touched onto the cross-bar by the keeper until on 87 minutes Men Piphop blasted in the Academy's fourth from ten yards out, to make it 2 wins in two games.
PPCFC U-17s: Chanvuthy, Sovann, Phearath, Baraing, Chanchav, Chanpolin (Piphop 82), Sodavid, Rozak (capt), Ponvuthy (Noeut 66), Sakrovy, Senteang (Muslim 63). Subs not used: S Samnang, Chhaya, Titchhy. Bookings: Ponvuthy. MOTM: Rozak - led by example. Goals: Rozak (28), Sovann (41), Noeut (75), Piphop (87).

4 in 4

PPCFC U-15s, back row, LtoR; Rafat, Samnang, Safy, Sovannaroth, Chanmony, Chetra. Front: Kakada, Pisoth, Piseth, Panha, N David (capt) - click to enlarge
Result: Phnom Penh Crown Academy U-15 2 Svay Rieng 0 (Cambodia U-15 Youth League).
The Academy U-15s made it 4 wins in as many league games with a dominant performance at Tonle Bati on Sunday morning. After SVR struck the cross-bar early on with their only real threat of the game, Crown took control and Svang Samnang should've opened the scoring when put through by Mao Piseth, but fired straight at the goalkeeper. The same player opened the scoring 18 minutes when Piseth's shot was saved and Samnang followed up to head home. Piseth had an angled shot saved and Samnang blasted a Lim Pisoth pass over the crossbar before half-time. Piseth screwed a good chance across the face of goal before the clock ticked onto 63 minutes and Sok Panha added a clinical finish under the advancing keeper to Vuth Sophara's neat through ball, to seal the victory. Twice in the space of a minute in stoppage time Sophara went close, but found the SVR goalkeeper in good form, as Crown took the three points on offer and lead the league table.

PPCFC U-15s; Rafat, Chanmony, Chetra (Savey 59), Safy, Sovannaroth, Samnang (Sophara 51), Kakada (Rina 69), N David (capt), Panha, Pisoth, Piseth. Subs not used: Samel, Punlork, Davann. MOTM: Kakada. Goals: Samnang (18), Panha (63).

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Tough win

PPCFC v San Siro, back row, LtoR: Borey, Bosma, Pisa, Ngwa, Obadin, Ary. Front row: Pellegrino, Da, Boris, Sokheng, Chanpolin - click to enlarge
Result: Phnom Penh Crown 2 San Siro XI 1 (Friendly).
The Crown first-team beat the African San Siro team 2-1 at RSN Stadium this afternoon in a practice match. The African team had recently lost 4-2 against the Cambodia national team and were littered with MCL players from different clubs. In the first of three thirty-minute halves, Baldwin Ngwa, back after injury, twice went close, with a mistimed attempt and then a header that went the wrong side of the upright. Adriano Pellegrino also sent a powerful free-kick inches wide before the break. Pellegrino drilled in a low shot which the keeper spilled but Ngwa just failed to get a touch, he was also close to a Koen Bosma cross which Leng Makara blasted into the side netting at the back stick. The substitute also saw another shot blocked by the San Siro stopper and Ngwa was unlucky to see an effort cleared to safety after he flicked the ball over the keeper. In the final minute of the second period, Odion Obadin arrived late to power a header into the net, feeding off a delightful Bosma free-kick to give his team the lead. Just 4 minutes into the third period, Makara smashed the ball against the cross-bar from Pellegrino's pass and then headed Va Sokthorn's cross into the keeper's hands. Three minute later and Ngwa's first effort was blocked but his second attempt spun off a defender's leg and found the corner of the net for Crown's second. Matnorotin poked a shot wide from Pellegrino's floated cross but it was San Siro that scored next, on 78 minutes, after an error from Kok Boris. Moments later, Thourng Da was alert to clear the danger from his own line. There was little further goalmouth action as the game came to a close with victory in Crown's favour.
PPCFC V San Siro: Ary, Da, Pisa (Sokthorn 58), Boris, Obadin, Chanpolin (Sothy 31), Sokheng (Matnorotin 61), Pellegrino, Bosma (Sovythang 72), Borey (Makara 45), Ngwa (Borey 77). Subs not used: Soksela, Baraing, Chhaya, Sovann, Titchhy, Sodavid. Bookings: None. MOTM: Pellegrino. Goals: Obadin (60), Ngwa (67).

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Late show for the NT

Cam v CTaipei, Back Row, LtoR: Udom, Sovan, Piseth, Visal, Laboravy, Yaty. Front: Vathanaka, Srin, Pheng, Virak, Sokumpheak (capt) - click to enlarge
Success for the Cambodia national team is rare, so a 2-0 victory on foreign soil, in Taiwan against the Chinese Taipei NT earlier this evening, is cause for a celebration. It was an international friendly against a national team who play as rarely as the Cambodian team do, so it was pretty level-pegging on paper and that's pretty much how it turned out in the game itself. Neither team covered themselves in any glory in the 90 minutes. However, it was in the 4 minutes of stoppage time added on at the end of the game that Cambodia will recall for many moons to come. That's when Chan Vathanaka, a peripheral figure for the ninety, burst into life with two goals to sink the home side, who had switched off and were thinking of their hot showers a mite too early. The victory, just days before the tough task of qualifying for the AFF Suzuki Cup in Laos which starts on Sunday, should lift the players spirits for starters. Cambodia were led out by captain Kouch Sokumpheak, making his return to the stadium where his team, Phnom Penh Crown were robbed of the AFC President's Cup in 2011. It just so happened that the Taiwan Power coach facing him that day is now in charge of the country's national team, so there was a certain element of pay-back extracted for Sokumpheak and four other members of the Cambodia NT, who were involved on that devastating night three years ago. In fact Sokumpheak made a decisive tackle in his own box to snuff out a rare Chinese Taipei attack early on and his Crown teammate Sou Yaty also came to his side's rescue, as he often does. A few minutes before the break, Chen broke into the box and it was Yaty's outstretched hand that turned his shot away for a corner and sent the teams in goalless at the break. The first-half was a non-event, with the home keeper only called on to catch a couple of crosses.

The second half wasn't any better until just after the hour. Hong Pheng, getting his first start for the NT, sent over a cross which Khuon Laboravy volleyed wide of the upright with his shin. Moments later the home side sent an overhead kick against the cross-bar before a flurry of substitutions took the heat out of the game just as it was warming up. With Chhin Chhoeun on for his pace, he got behind the home defence but lost his bearings and allowed the keeper to get in a tackle when a simple dink would've put his side ahead. Yaty had to drop on a late low drive but the game appeared to be heading for a nondescript ending with no goals when Chinese Taipei switched off, allowed Chhoeun to whip over a cross and Vathanaka was lurking at the far post to volley the ball home. Cue delirious celebrations. The stopwatch had just ticked past 90 minutes. Exactly four minutes later, a breakaway presented Vathanaka with a sight of goal and his aim was true for his second and confirmation of a very rare away victory for Cambodia. There were yellow cards a plenty, including Crown's Ngoy Srin and Pheng, but they won't mind one iota. No-one will call the game a classic, both teams found it impossible to string passes together or attack in a coherent fashion, but keeping going until the final whistle is a football basic and that's what Cambodia did in spades this evening. Full credit to them for doing just that.
Cambodia NT: Yaty, Pheng, Visal, Sovan, Piseth (Sovannrithy 74), Srin (Sothearath 73), Sokumpheak, Udom (Chanrasmey 58), Virak (Samoeun 43), Laboravy (Chhoeun 73), Vathanaka. Subs not used: Sophea, Sothy, Daravorn, Soksana,  Bookings: Srin, Sovan, Piseth, Pheng. Goals: Vathanaka (91, 94).

Sunday, October 5, 2014

A thumping victory

PPCFC U-17s, back row, LtoR: Chanpolin, Sodavid, Senteang, Chanchav, Sovann, Chanvuthy. Front: Ponvuthy, Piphop, Noeut, Baraing, Phearath - click to enlarge
Result: Phnom Penh Crown Academy U-17s 25 Bong Paoun U-17s 0 (Cambodia U-17 Youth League).
The Academy U-17s set about retaining their U-17 title with a thumping 25-0 win over newcomers Bong Paoun at Tonle Bati this afternoon. The new boys, who won the ISF U-17 Youth League in August, conceded after just 37 seconds and it was all downhill from there. The half-time score was 10-0. Crown netted another fifteen after the break and without a dozen excellent saves by BP goalkeeper Torn Prohpov, the result would've been more crushing. Suon Noeut top scored with 8 goals, followed by Chhuot Senteang and In Sodavid with 5 each. Men Piphop scored 4 and there was 1 each for Pov Ponvuthy, Ouk Sovann (pen) and an own goal. And the Academy were without six of their players because of an Islamic holiday and injuries.

PPCFC U-17s: Chanvuthy, Sovann, Phearath, Chanchav, Baraing (S Samnang 62), Chanpolin (V Samnang 48), Sodavid, Piphop, Noeut, Ponvuthy, Senteang (Titchhy 69). Bookings: None. MOTM: Noeut - eight goals and never stopped running. Goals: Noeut 8 (25, 28, 62, 74, 75, 77, 88, 89), Senteang 5 (1, 19, 57, 58, 67), Sodavid 5 (3, 45, 46, 65, 85), Piphop 4 (34, 72, 76, 83), Ponvuthy (15), Sovann pen (21), Own Goal (36).

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Missed opportunities

PPCFC v BBU, back row, LtoR: Borey, Boris, Obadin, Kotamake, Sokthorn, Ary. Front: Chanpolin, Bosma, Matnorotin, Chhaya, Pisa - click to enlarge
Result: Phnom Penh Crown 0 BBU 1 (Friendly).
Phnom Penh Crown failed to find the net in this afternoon's practice match with BBU at the RSN Stadium, despite having more possession and creating numerous chances, especially in the third of three 35 minute halves. The Crown squad was without 11 players, either on the injured list or away with the national team, so there were starting places for Va Sokthorn, who arrived from France a few days earlier, and two of the club's Academy players. Koen Bosma's free-kick opened up the BBU backline on fifteen minutes but Sary Matnorotin headed well over from a good position. Bosma then supplied Khim Borey but he hesitated and allowed the BBU keeper to recover the ball. The same pair combined soon after with Borey heading over the crossbar from ten yards out. Sokthorn had his first attempt, controlling Bosma's chip but sending his shot high and wide. The final chance of the first half, one of three 35 minute periods, fell to Borey who brought down Matnorotin's long ball with ease but sent his chip inches wide of the upright with the keeper off his line. Yok Ary was out quickly to tackle BBU's first foray in the second half, but it was Borey who again fired wide from Sokthorn's neat pass. BBU capitalised on a sloppy piece of defending by Crown as Rim Bunheang's shot from twenty yards found the corner of the net with 50 minutes played. It was a lead that BBU would not relinquish despite spending the rest of the game on the back foot. Crown fluffed two more good opportunities before the end of the second-half. First, Bosma's chip sent Borey in on goal but he shot well over, and then a Bosma free-kick was headed wide by Leng Makara as he was challenged by the keeper.

Coach Sam Schweingruber continued to ring the changes, introducing three more Academy players amongst his substitutions. In the third half, Crown completely dominated but lacked a killer touch in front of goal, with strikers George Bisan and Baldwin Ngwa, both injured, watching from the stand. Borey, playing as a central striker for the first time in a long while, was guilty again when put through by Matnorotin, and fired across the face of goal. Touch Sokheng then teed up Matnorotin, who was free in the middle but steered his goal attempt wide of the target. Soon after the same player saw his drive saved by keeper Sos Proshim, who kept his team in the match with a series of stops late on. Borey sent a free-kick wide of the upright, Makara again headed wide, a Ly Morslim diving header was deflected into Proshim's hands, and then Chhom Pisa, in acres of free space, lobbed his shot wide as well. With the final two chances of the game, Bosma's 20-yard free-kick was finger-tipped over by Proshim and with the last kick of the game, a corner fell to Odion Obadin and his acrobatic overhead kick was again saved by the keeper with another touch over the crossbar. The final whistle blew and BBU recorded a 1-nil success.
PPCFC v BBU: Ary (Soksela 71), Pisa (Dara 36 (Sovann 71)), Chhaya (Sodavid 36 (Makara 90)), Boris (Kotamake 57 (Boris 90)), Obadin, Chanpolin (Morslim 71), Kotamake (Sokheng 36), Sokthorn (Baraing 71), Matnorotin (Makara 36 (Matnorotin 71)), Bosma (Pisa 71), Borey (Bosma 90). Bookings: None. 
This afternoon's practice match gave Va Sokthorn (pictured below) the opportunity to start his first game in Crown colours, after he arrived from France just a few days ago. Sokthorn is 27 and has lots of experience in the amateur Championnat de France leagues, the fourth tier of the French football system, with teams like ES Torcy, FC Montceau Bourgogne, US Motte Servolex, SO Chambery Foot 73 and last season scored 17 goals in 14 matches for Le Creusot JO. His Khmer parents are from Kratie and Prey Veng, though he was born in Le Creusot in eastern France. Sokthorn signed his contract in July, when he successfully completed his try-out.
Va Sokthorn, another French-Khmer player to join our ranks

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Strong showing

PPCFC U-17s, back row, LtoR: Sodavid, Chanpolin, Chanchav, K Chhaya, Senteang, S Samnang. Front: Sakrovy, Piphop, Ponvuthy, Baraing, Sovann - click to enlarge
Result: PPCFC Academy U-17 3 Albirex Niigata 4 (Friendly).
The Crown Academy U-17s put up a strong showing against a full-strength Albirex Niigata squad in this afternoon's friendly game at RSN Stadium. The final score was 4-3 to Albirex but it was a close call as the teams took advantage of four periods of thirty minutes to give their full squads game-time. Crown threatened first but Mat Sakrovy fluffed the opportunity before Albirex took the lead through Kazuki Tatsuta on 9 minutes. Four minutes later Chhuot Senteang was wrestled to the floor for what looked like a penalty, only for a free-kick to be awarded. Kim Chhaya stepped up to blast the ball at goal which Mak Theara couldn't keep out to make it 1-1. ten minutes later Tatsuta netted his second after a neat one-two. Just two minutes into the second period and Ouk Sovann levelled the scores again. A foul on Yeu Muslim and Sovann curled one of his trademark free-kicks inside the near post from twenty yards out. Muslim had a shot blocked before ex-Crown Noeu Sosela raced onto a ball over the top to put Albirex back in front. Both Orn Chanpolin and Muslim came close but both shots were just off-target. In the third period, no goals but Senteang's drive was touched over the top and Mat Noron blasted over when well-placed, while Albirex hit the upright. Four minutes into the final quarter, a weak punch out allowed Albirex to rifle in a shot which Suon Noeut could only deflect into the net with his head. Another Sovann free-kick almost caught out the Albirex keeper who managed to fingertip it over the bar before Crown scored their third with three minutes remaining as Muslim's 25-yard drive was tipped onto the bar and Ly Morslim finished off the rebound from close range.

PPCFC U-17s: Samnang (Soksela 91), Sovann (Chanchav 61), Chhaya (Phearath 31 (Chhaya)), Baraing (V Samnang 61 (Baraing (Sodavid 91))), Chanchav (Noeut 27 (V Samnang 102), Chanpolin (Sovann 91), Sodavid (Sakrovy 61), Piphop (Ponvuthy 91), Ponvuthy (Morslim 61), Sakrovy (Noron 31 (Muslim 91)), Senteang (Muslim 31 (Senteang 61)). Goals: Chhaya (13), Sovann (32), Morslim (117).

The previous afternoon the Academy U-15s defeated Chraing Chamres Youth at RSN Stadium 5-1 in a friendly game, with Mao Piseth scoring 4 (33, 42, 50, 70 mins) and Vuth Sophara 1 (38), and that was after the opposition took a 16th minute lead.

The Cambodia U-17 Youth League begins this Sunday (5 Oct), with all matches at Tonle Bati on Sunday afternoons. There are 4 teams in the league. The PPCFC Academy U-17s games are as follows:
Sun 5 Oct v Bong Paoun 2pm
Sun 12 Oct v Boeung Ket 2pm
Sun 19 Oct v Civil Aviation 2pm
Sun 26 Oct v Bong Paoun 2pm
Sun 2 Nov v Boeung Ket 2pm
Sun 16 Nov v Civil Aviation 2pm.

Monday, September 29, 2014

U-15s three in three

PPCFC U-15s. Back Row, LtoR: Rafat, Sovannaroth, Sivey, Panha, Safy, Samnang (capt). Front: Kakada, Piseth, Nop David, Rina, San David - click to enlarge
Result: Phnom Penh Crown U-15 Academy 4 Takeo 0 (Cambodia U-15 Youth League).
On a very soggy pitch at Tonle Bati, the Academy U-15s did their best to play football despite the awful conditions in their third U-15 Youth League game. Constant rain left patches of water on the playing surface, which curtailed much of the Academy's usual passing style. They took an early lead in the 35-minute match of two halves, through Mao Piseth in the 4th minute. Captain Svang Samnang's long distance drive was spilled by the Takeo goalkeeper and Piseth was on hand to poke in the loose ball. In the 15th minute, another strong run to the byeline and center by Samnang was nodded in by a stooping Piseth for their second goal. Six minutes later, a one-two between Piseth and Sin Kakada, saw the latter's delightful through ball turned in with an equally deft touch by Piseth for his hat-trick. In time added on, Kie Rina made a timely goal-line clearance to keep the interval score at 3-0 to Crown. Into the second half and Kakada sent Samnang rampaging through the middle but his shot was well saved by the keeper, who was hurt in the follow-up from Sok Panha. Coach Bouy Dary was comfortable enough to make three changes as Crown controlled the tempo and a fourthn goal arrived two minutes into stoppage time when Vuth Sophara's pass sent Piseth clear and his execution was spot-on for his, and Crown's fourth goal. That m,ade it three wins in as many games.

PPCFC U-15s v Takeo: Rafat, Rina (Sophara 68), Sovannaroth, Safy, Savey (Punlork 64), N David (Pisoth 61), S David, Samnang, Panha, Kakada, Piseth. Subs not used: Davann. Bookings: S David, Savey. MOTM: Piseth - 4 goal hero. Goals: Piseth 4 (4, 15, 21, 72).
PPCFC 1st Team, back row, LtoR: Kotamake, Sovythang, Bosma, Sokheng, Obadin, Ary. Front: Dara, Borey, Boris, Matnorotin, Da - click to enlarge

Result: PPCFC 1st Team 5 PPCFC U-17 Academy 0 (Friendly)
The Phnom Penh Crown senior team played an in-house practice match at RSN Stadium on Saturday afternoon (27 September) against the club's U-17 Academy team and had their work cut out during a first-half which the Academy held the upper hand. Yeu Muslim had an early chance for the youngsters which he fluffed, and then broke clear midway through the half, racing onto a Seut Baraing long ball, but Yok Ary stood up and diverted his shot wide. A back-pedalling Ary did well to tip a Mat Sakrovy left-foot dipping drive over the bar and just before the break, Odion Obadin's long legs did just enough to take Ouk Sovann's cross off the toes of Muslim. The only serious threat from the seniors came a minute earlier when a poor Kung Chanvuthy kick-out was returned by Khim Borey and Sary Matnorotin, on trial from AEU, twice crashed in drives which Chanvuthy saved at point-blank range on both occasions.

Tes Sophat, in charge of the seniors in Sam Schweingruber's absence, brought on his not-so-secret weapon, Baldwin Ngwa, at the break and he proved to be the difference between the two sides. Koen Bosma tried an effort from distance with less than a minute on the clock but it fizzed wide. Ngwa got his first shot on target a minute later, but Chanvuthy kept it out and Matnorotin blasted the rebound over the bar. The U-17s keeper was much busier in the second period and he slapped away another Bosma stinger before Ngwa opened the floodgates on 53 minutes. Borey's center to the near post was met by the Cameroon striker, who turned neatly and rolled his shot into the corner. Chanvuthy did well to push away Borey's 25-yard drive but with an hour gone Ngwa tapped in his second after the keeper fumbled a cross-shot from Borey. Soon after Ngwa headed wide and then over the top, Chanvuthy turned aside a Borey shot then pushed a cracking Bosma drive onto the cross-bar. At the other end, Mat Noron failed to compose himself and blasted well over from ten yards out, but that was an exception to the rule as the senior team continued to press. Ly Morslim and Ngwa set each other up, but both failed to hit the target. With the first-team leading by two goals, the Academy had a guilt-edged chance to get back into the game when Obadin was guilty of a trip on In Sodavid, but Suon Noeut blasted the ball well over from the penalty spot, with 7 minutes to go. A minute later, Ngwa won two challenges, fed George Bisan and he poked the ball home from close range. Another minute gone and the seniors added a fourth as Morslim found Pekko Kotamake's run into the box and the Finnish midfielder finished coolly. Two minutes remaining and Ngwa claimed his hat-trick when Morslim skipped down the right flank and crossed for the striker to find the target with another deadly touch. There was still time for Chanvuthy to deny Ngwa twice more and he then sent a header just wide of the upright as the final whistle blew. 
PPCFC 1st Team: Ary (Soksela 46), Dara (Pisa 24) Da, Boris, Obadin, Kotamake, Sokheng (Bisan 59), Matnorotin (Morslim 69), Borey, Sovythang (Ngwa 46), Bosma. MOTM: Ngwa. Goals: Ngwa 3 (53, 60, 88), Bisan (84), Kotamake (85).
PPCFC U-17s: Chanvuthy, Sovann (Chansopheak 59), Phearath (V Samnang 63), Chanchav (Sakrovy 83), Baraing (Ponvuthy 74), Chanpolin, Sodavid, Rozak (Piphop 17), Sakrovy (Noron 46), Ponvuthy (Senteang 46 (Muslim 86)), Muslim (Noeut 46).
PPCFC U-17s, Back Row, LtoR: Chanvuthy, Chanpolin, Chanchav, Rozak, Sodavid, Sakrovy. Front: Sovann, Ponvuthy, Muslim, Baraing, Phearath - click to enlarge

The new head coach of Boeung Ket is John McGlynn, the Englishman who parted company with Phnom Penh Crown a month ago, after a year or so as one of Sam Schweingruber's backroom team. He spent thirty years in Australia after emigrating from Liverpool, played in the forces team down under and coached teams in the Western Australia region of the country before coming over to Cambodia. Boeung Ket were looking for a new man at the helm after Prak Vuthy announced he was stepping down. He led them to the title in 2012 but had to settle for consecutive runners-up spots in the past two seasons.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Narrow defeat for Cambodia

Ouk Sothy (blue, 10) in action v Indonesia
After stumbling to a 4-1 defeat in Malaysia at the weekend, the Cambodia national team will feel much better about their showing in the second of their road-trip international friendlies, suffering a single-goal defeat to Indonesia in Surbaya this afternoon. And the game's only goal came from a penalty, conceded by Ros Samoeun, which left the players debating the award with the Malaysian referee, to no avail. Dutch-born Raphael Maitimo converted the spot-kick past Sou Yaty moments before the half-time whistle. Indonesia were wayward with most of their first-half chances though Prak Mony Udom went closest when he sent a shot across the face of the goal on 22 minutes. After the break Suong Virak was thwarted just before the hour, though the home side thought they'd made the game safe in the closing stages only for Christian Gonzales' goal to be ruled out for offside. As you might imagine, coach Lee Tae-Hoon was satisfied with his team's performance despite the defeat; "I think the outcome of the game is quite good. Our players played well. The team is grateful to Indonesia and PSSI, who've given us the opportunity to play today. Indonesia is a level above us, so this game provides us with good lessons." The Indonesia coach Alfred Riedl said the hot weather was a factor and he gave chances to players who hadn't played before; "Cambodia is not a good team but they made it difficult for us." After the reverse they suffered against Malaysia, Lee will be almost ecstatic that his team went down to only a single goal. The squad now return to Phnom Penh for more preparation ahead of their 1-game visit to Taiwan, which will be quickly followed by their AFF Suzuki Cup qualifiers in Laos from 11 October. Four Phnom Penh Crown players started the match with a fifth, Hong Pheng, an unused substitute.
Cambodia v Indonesia: Yaty, Samoeun, Visal, Sovan, Daravorn, Srin (Chanrasmey 67), Sothy (Sothearath 46), Sokumpheak, Udom (Chhoeun 75), Virak (Sovannrithy 62), Soksana (Laboravy 42). Subs not used: Vichet, Piseth, Pheng, Vathanaka.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

On show

The PPCFC players at AEON Mall for the launch of the Toyota Mekong Cup
Almost as soon as the friendly match against NagaCorp finished yesterday, seven of the Phnom Penh Crown players headed to the AEON Mall for a launch by the Toyoya (Cambodia) Company of the upcoming Toyota Mekong Club Championship. On a stage in the middle of the new mall, the Crown players and general secretary Ly Heang responded to media questions and posed for photographs. Toyota are putting up a lot of money - $75K for the winners no less - for a competition to find what they are calling the Champion of Champions, of the Mekong region obviously. The players in attendance were Koen Bosma, Adriano Pellegrino, Bin Thierry, Kok Boris, Khim Borey, Yok Ary and Sos Suhana. Afterwards the players headed off for their Pchum Ben holiday break.

While everyone is enjoying their Pchum Ben holiday in Cambodia, Crown's head coach Sam Schweingruber will be spending the holidays in Japan, as he flies out for a week of instructing other coaches and 450 children in Nagoya, the third largest city in Japan. As a FIFA instructor, Sam will be supporting the Japan Football Association's grassroots program. He was recently doing the same thing in China for a month.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Two good halves

PPCFC V Naga starting XI, back row, LtoR: Chanpolin, Mathnorotin, Bosma, Borey, Sokheng, Ary. Front: Pellegrino, Da, Suhana, Pisa, Chhaya - click to enlarge
Result: Phnom Penh Crown 3 NagaCorp 2 (Friendly).
Crown played their first pre-season practice match at RSN Stadium this afternoon and dominated for the majority of the game played in three periods of 30 minutes, beating Naga 3-2. Coach Sam Schweingruber sent out an experimental line-up for the first period which included trialist Sary Mathnorotin, new face Koen Bosma and two of the Academy players. The Naga goalkeeper was kept busy as Adriano Pellegrino tested him from distance and then Orn Chanpolin, sent in a low drive which the stopper did well to push around the post. On ten minutes Bosma tested his distance shooting but his effort sailed a foot wide. Three minutes later, the Dutchman opened the scoring with a 20-yard drilled shot that gave the keeper no chance. A free-kick from Khim Borey was saved with little seen of Naga as an attacking threat. Schweingruber made six changes at the break including Amm Sovythang, another trialist from Belgium. He tested the keeper after just a minute and then a deflected Pellegrino drive had the stopper back-pedalling to touch the ball over the bar. Another Borey free-kick was pushed wide and Odion Obadin was inches from scoring with a far post header from a Pellegrino corner. In Sodavid released Chea Dara into the box but he screwed his shot across the face of goal and wide. On 44 minutes, a quick throw by Bosma saw Pellegrino set up Sodavid and the 16-year old sent a 20-yard low drive into the corner to make it two, much to the delight of his teammates. With Crown in full control, Pellegrino's headed pass sent Baldwin Ngwa away and he turned Tieng Tiny inside out before unleashing a left foot drive into the far corner, with 55 minutes played. More changes at the end of the second period followed.

Naga's Barry Lelouma got a shot on target six minutes into the third period, though the referee adjudged Touch Sokheng had kicked the winger and Lelouma scored from the resulting penalty. Sovythang went past two defenders with ease but his shot was blocked and Ly Morslim's follow-up endured the same fate. As the game came to a close, Crown keeper Keo Soksela saved at the feet of Teab Vathanak, only for the referee to point to the penalty spot again. Despite the loud protests that followed, Lelouma netted his second spot-kick to end the game with the home side winning 3-2. 
PPCFC v NagaCorp: Ary (Soksela 61), Da (Pisa 61), Chhaya (Dara 31 (Sokheng 61)), Sokheng (Boris 31), Pisa (Obadin 31 (Dara 86)), Suhana (Chanpolin 61), Chanpolin (Sodavid 31 (Pekka 61)), Borey (Sovythang 31), Mathnorotin (Ngwa 31), Pellegrino (Borey 61 (Chhaya 82), Bosma (Morslim 61). Bookings: None. MOTM: Pellegrino. Goals: Bosma (13), Sodavid (44), Ngwa (55).
PPCFC v Naga, start of 2nd period, back row, LtoR: Ary, Bosma, Pellegrino, Boris, Ngwa, Obadin. Front: Da, Dara, Suhana, Sovythang, Sodavid - click to enlarge

Cambodia sunk

The Cambodia line-up v Malaysia. Srin is wearing 9, Yaty is 1 and Sokumpheak is 8! Pic by

The answer, as most people expected, was that Cambodia couldn't spring a surprise result, going down 4-1 to hosts Malaysia in a rare international friendly match this evening in Selangor. Substitute Sok Chanrasmey scored a consolation goal for Cambodia in a game that went pretty much to plan for the home team, who are in the middle of a series of friendlies before they participate in the AFF Susuki Cup. Cambodia too are hoping for a place in that competition, if they can get through the qualifiers being played next month in Laos. This game against Malaysia and one against Indonesia on 25 September are part of their build-up.
The Star Online had this match report from tonight's game: The Malaysians were quick off the block and forced four corners in quick succession in the opening five minutes. And they did not have to wait long to open the scoring, courtesy of midfielder Joseph Kallang Tie in the eighth minute. The Sarawak skipper dispossessed Cambodian defender Sok Sovan on the edge of the box and slotted home past the outrushing Sou Yaty. Malaysia’s second goal in the 15th minute had a touch of good luck. Striker Abdul Manaf Mamat’s stiff shot was parried by Yaty back into the danger area. The ball ricocheted off the unfortunate Moul Daravorn’s knee and into his own goal. Cambodia coach Lee Tae-Hoon threw the lively striker Sok Chanrasmey into the fray for the second half, and the change invigorated the visitors. Still, it was Malaysia who got their third goal in the 65th minute, with Joseph latching onto a through ball from Bobby Gonzales before applying a cool chipped finish. But there was no stopping Sok Chanrasmey on 80 minutes when he sprung the Malaysian offside trap to score. Substitute Baddrol Bakhtiar restored Malaysia’s three-goal advantage with a powerful strike from outside the box two minutes later, after another defensive error. Crown's Ouk Sothy and Hong Pheng eneterd the fray with ten minutes to go, marking their senior team debuts, alongside Ngoy Srin.
Cambodia NT v Malaysia: Yaty, Srin, Samoeun, Daravorn, Sovan, Sovannrithy, Sokumpheak (capt), Sothearoth, PM Udom, Chhoeun, Soksana.

Can Cambodia spring a surpise?

Cambodia's national team are in Malaysia for a friendly later tonight and if they pull off a shock victory, it could spell the end for the Malaysian head coach Dollah Salleh. He himself admits he's walking on thin ice after losing back-to-back friendlies to Tajikistan (4-1) and Indonesia (2-0) in recent weeks and that a convincing win over Cambodia is expected. For the visitors, a positive result would be an unexpected achievement, as of course Cambodia are preparing for the AFF Suzuki Cup qualifying competition in Laos next month, while Malaysia, as one of the strongest teams in Southeast Asia, will be in the competition proper. There they will meet defending champions and co-hosts Singapore and three-time champions Thailand, alongwith one of the two qualifiers. That could be Cambodia, though most pundits are suggesting its more likely to be Myanmar and hosts Laos that go through from the five-team qualifying pool, that also includes Brunei and Timor-Leste. South Korean coach Lee Tae-Hoon sprang a surprise earlier this week when he announced the 20-man Cambodia squad for the Malaysia game, and a further match against Indonesia on 25 September. Two players he's been supportive of since he took charge of the team in August 2010, Sos Suhana from Phnom Penh Crown and Boeung Ket defender Touch Pancharong have been dropped from the touring party, alongwith Kok Boris and Bin Thierry from Crown and Svay Rieng's keeper Sar Sophea and Hoy Phallin. The word is that the door has not been shut on their inclusion in the Suzuki Cup squad but it doesn't look likely they will make it. The match against Indonesia, led by Alfred Riedl and who've recently beaten Pakistan and Nepal and drawn with Yemen and Qatar in friendly games, whilst Cambodia have been completely absent from international matches for the whole of this year, is a replacement fixture after Lebanon withdrew. Fortunately, Cambodia were in the region. In the third of their Suzuki Cup warm-up matches, all away from home, Cambodia will play Chinese Taipei in Taiwan on 8 October, just a few days before they head to the qualifiers in Vientiane. Despite playing no senior international friendly matches for what seems like an eternity, Cambodia moved up two places in the FIFA world rankings to 199 in the latest table, published two days ago. They were previously at 201 out of a total of 208 countries but it seems the rankings pay scant attention to the fact that this national team has not played a match in anger since they lost 2-0 to Guam in November 2013. Mind-boggling.
The Cambodia NT squad v Malaysia & Indonesia: *Yaty, Vichet, Visal, Sovan, Samoeun, Piseth, *Srin, Daravorn, *Pheng, Sovannrithy, Udom, *Sokumpheak, *Sothy, Virak, Sothearath, Chanrasmey, Vathanaka, Chhoeun, Soksana, Laboravy. * denotes PPCFC players.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Late goals win it

PPCFC U-15s v CA. Back row, LtoR: Rafat, Chanmony, Sovannaroth, N David, Safy, Samnang (capt). Front: S David, Piseth, Chetra, Panha, Kakada - click to enlarge
Result: Phnom Penh Crown U-15 Academy 2 Civil Aviation 0 (U-15 Youth League).
Played at Tonle Bati, this was a tight game in Crown's second Cambodia U-15 Youth League program. Returning from injury, Mao Piseth fired over when well placed, Sin Kakada had a shot well saved and on the half-hour Piseth brought out a brilliant stop from the CA keeper. Goal-less at half-time. Crown suffered a blow ten minutes into the second period when Yet Chetra was booked twice in the space of two minutes and saw red. Both challenges were mis-timed and the dismissal was warranted. However the reduction to ten-men inspired the Crown Academy boys who quickly took control and on 59 minutes they took the lead. Svang Samnang, more often wearing the gloves between the goal-posts, strode confidently forward from his deep-lying midfield position, broke through two tackles and calmly slotted the ball into the corner of the net. On 68 minutes the result was sealed. Kakada sent over an inch-perfect cross and Piseth was on hand to head the ball inside the far post and give the Academy a 2-0 winning scoreline. 

PPCFC v Civil Aviation: Rafat, Chanmony, Chetra, Safy, Sovannaroth, Samnang, S David, N David, Kakada, Panha, Piseth. Subs not used: Pisoth, Savey, Punlork, Rina, Samel, Davann. Bookings: Chetra (+ red card). Goals: Samnang (59), Piseth (68).
Footnote: The players who didn't play against Civil Aviation played an 8-a-side against a FFC Academy team a few hours later and won't be keen to remember the scoreline, losing 11-0, during the three periods of twenty minutes each half. Their excuse was they had eaten too much at lunchtime.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Cambodia held

The starting XI for Cambodia v JFL
Seven Phnom Penh Crown players took to the pitch for the Cambodia national team in this afternoon's 2-2 draw with the Japan Football League's touring team in a friendly at Olympic Stadium. Kouch Sokumpheak led the team in the goalless first-half alongside Ngoy Srin and Sos Suhana. Both teams struggled to get out of first gear in the opening 45 minutes in front of a healthily-sized audience, though the touring team, who'd beaten both Laos and Myanmar U-23s 3-0 in recent days, were the crisper passing and moving of the two sides. Starting the second-half for the NT were Kok Boris, Ouk Sothy and Sou Yaty, with Crown's Hong Pheng coming on for Sothy for the final thirteen minutes. Bin Thierry didn't get off the bench. The opening twenty minutes of the second half was all Cambodia. JFL sat back and allowed the home team to dominate and Prak Mony Udom saw his effort tipped over the top. A ball in the face for Sothy made him see stars as his legs buckled and he crumpled to the ground, and it took the NT coach Lee Tae-Hoon running onto the pitch for local referee Thong Chankethya to stop play. Why the referee didn't understand the seriousness of the situation is beyond me - everyone else did. Ten minutes in and a mistake by the JFL keeper and Chhin Chhoeun fired home the opening salvo. Udom and Khuon Laboravy also went close before Sok Chanrasmey got the final touch at close quarters to send the home fans into raptures. Two goals ahead and looking good. But that's where it ended as the visitors took back control in no uncertain terms. Sou Yaty was the busiest man on the pitch for the last 25 minutes. He pulled off a great save but had no chance with a powerful header from Tanaka on 74 minutes. It was a poorly-defended corner in truth. In the last four minutes of the game, Yaty made three reflex saves, getting himself injured in the process as he clattered into the post, and it came as no surprise when JFL equalised three minutes into stoppage time. The leveller came through Suzuki from the edge of the area as Cambodia were slow to close down. So at the end, a disappointing result for the NT against a team put together from Japan's fourth tier of football. That twenty-minute spell was enough to get the fans on their feet but successfully defending a lead must be the priority for the NT to work on ahead of their Suzuki Cup exploits next month. Upcoming away international games in Malaysia and Chinese Taipei lie ahead before they set sail for Laos.