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).

Friday, January 9, 2015

Poor decisions

Chroy Changvar (PPCFC U-17s), back row, LtoR: Chanchav, Soksela, Sakrovy, Chhaya, Senteang, Chanpolin. Front: Noron, Ponvuthy, Noeut, Samnang, Baraing - click to enlarge
Result: Chroy Changvar (Phnom Penh Crown Academy U-17s) 1 Albirex Niigata 3 (Hun Sen Cup).
Two crucial decisions by the match referee Neang Sopharith did the U-17s no favours in their second Hun Sen Cup match in two days. This second defeat means an end to their hopes of Cup progress, with one game still to be played. Twice Albirex keeper Pich Rovinyothin brought down Chhuot Senteang in reckless last-man challenges, one in each half, and both justified a red card. The referee issued one yellow and gave a penalty for the other. In fact, Rovinyothin then saved Mat Sakrovy's spot-kick, just to inflict more injustice.

Under the hot sun with their second 1.30pm kick-off in a row, it was Albirex who threatened first when Keo Soksela was alert to push aside Mart Hasan's low drive and then throw himself in the way of Ek Vannak's follow-up. Soon after Crown striker Senteang raced clear of the backline but sent his fizzing drive over the cross-bar. On 15 minutes the first contentious decision by referee Sopharith saw him wave only a yellow card at Albirex keeper Rovinyothin for a feet-first tackle on Senteang as he raced clear onto Kim Chhaya's pass. It was outside the box but with a clear run on goal, a red card seemed unavoidable. The free-kick came to nothing. Two minutes later Mat Noron weaved into the box, rounded Rovinyothin but sent his angled shot across the face of goal and wide. At the other end Soksela came out to deny ex-PPCFC winger Neou Sosela, but on 25 minutes, the young keeper could only palm Sosela's left-wing free-kick to the far post where the ball hit the head of Chhim Bunsan and sailed into the net. Five minutes later, Soksela kept out two more efforts, whilst at the other end, the Academy cashed in on some quick thinking and speedy reactions. Mat Sakrovy's quickly-taken free-kick sent Mat Noron free and his side-step around Rovinyothin allowed him to plant the ball into an empty net for the equaliser on 34 minutes. With five minutes of the half remaining, Albirex caught the Academy napping down the left wing and Men Seyha's bye-line cross was touched home by Mart Hasan, to put his team ahead once more. before the interval break, Chhaya tried his luck from distance without reward, while Soksela was again out smartly to deny Vannak.

The Academy began brightly and Pov Ponvuthy's bye-line cross-shot was palmed out by Rovinyothin with less than a minute on the clock. Albirex rattled the edge of the cross-bar but with seven minutes of the second-half played, another rash Rovinyothin challenge offered the Academy a way back. Orn Chanpolin's pass through the defence found a willing runner in Senteang, only for Rovinyothin to take his legs away with his flailing arms. Referee Sopharith pointed to the spot but refused to issue another card, either yellow or a straight red. It was clearly a second bookable offence at the very least, but the match official failed to act. As it was, Sakrovy's spot-kick, to Rovinyothin's right was too close to the keeper and the stopper, who shouldn't have been on the pitch, became his team's hero. Rough justice for the Academy. With legs tiring, changes brought on In Sodavid and his pass sent Senteang racing clear again, only for the striker to under-hit his shot directly at the keeper. On 79 minutes, Soksela came rushing off his line as Math Rofazy latched onto Sosela's punted pass and with the goal unguarded, the Albirex winger lobbed the ball inside the far post for his team's third. There was time for Vannak to hit the bar and then blast over as the Academy defence tired visibly, and sank to their second consecutive defeat.
Chroy Changvar: Soksela, Noeut, Baraing, V Samnang. Chanchav, Chanpolin, Sakrovy, Chhaya (Sodavid 67), Noron (Rozak 60), Ponvuthy (Titchhy 78), Senteang. Subs not used: Chanvuthy, Phearath, Sovann, Chansopheak, Piphop. Booking: Samnang. Goal: Noron (34). MOTM: Chanpolin.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Cup debut defeat

Chroy Changvar/PPCFC U-17s, back row, LtoR: Sakrovy, Chanchav, Soksela, V Samnang, Senteang, Chanpolin. Front: Ponvuthy, Noron, Noeut, Baraing, Rozak - click to enlarge
Result: Chroy Changvar (PPCFC Academy U-17s) 1 Kirivong SSC 2 (Hun Sen Cup First Round).
The Academy U-17s, playing under the name of Chroy Changvar District, suffered a first game defeat in the Hun Sen Cup qualifying round at Tonle Bati. They struggled to maintain their bright start after they opened the scoring on 5 minutes. Suon Noeut's cross was kicked clear to captain Orn Chanpolin who rifled in a shot from the edge of the box into the far corner. A perfect start. Two minutes later Mat Sakrovy tried his luck from 35 yards out which Kirivong keeper Kun Thnou dived to keep at at the foot of the post. 17 minutes in and Chhuot Senteang will wonder how he failed to head in from right in front of goal as Mat Noron's cross eluded everyone. Sakrovy's next shot lacked power and on 23 minutes, Noron should've done better with his 10-yard drive after Senteang blocked the keeper's clearance kick. Kirivong's In Vichheka missed three presentable chances, with Keo Soksela's legs getting in the way of the third effort and Heng Kimhong lashed a shot against the Academy cross-bar. The equaliser arrived on 37 minutes as Nop Chanborareasmey got to the bye-line and his driven cross rebounded off Soksela's gloves and over the goal-line. Three minutes later and Kirivong took the lead when the ball went through Samnang's legs and Chanborareasmey had the simple task of tapping home for a soft goal. Soksela had to dive low to keep out a Sos Nasiet headed chance just before the whistle. The first half had started brightly for the Academy but their fizz was well and truly flat by the interval break.

Five minutes into the second period and Pov Ponvuthy threw himself forward to head Noron's cross goalwards but Thnou covered the ground to palm the effort wide. With Kirivong dangerous on the break, the double goalscorer was denied and so was In Savdy as Soksela stood firm. Some rugged challenges gave the Academy a series of free-kicks outside the box but they failed to deliver any telling opportunities. Vichheka's late arrival in the box was denied by Soksela and moments later his ill-timed challenge on Ponvuthy gave the referee no alternative but to issue a second yellow, followed by a red card, on 85 minutes. In fact referee Khuon Virak had been on the field less than 30 seconds after he replaced an exhausted Sam Sirann in the middle, and it took him a few moments to realise Vichheka had already been booked. In the final minute of normal time, Mom Sophal's waist-high foot into Soksela's midriff deserved the straight red card it received, as Kirivong desperately clung on to their lead. Two minutes into time added on, Senteang bustled his way through the middle but couldn't find a finish to test Thnou, and then in the 4th minute of extra time, he sent a header the wrong side of the post from Noeut's cross, when it seemed easier to score. A golden chance to equalise that went begging as the Academy went down to an opening cup defeat in their first competitive senior match.
Chroy Changvar: Soksela, Noeut, Baraing (Phearath 67), V Samnang, Chanchav, Chanpolin,. Sakrovy, Rozak (Muslim 79), Noron (Chhaya 78), Ponvuthy, Senteang. Subs not used: Chanvuthy, Sodavid, Sovann, Titchhy. Injured (N/A): Piphop. Chansopheak. Goal: Chanpolin (5). MOTM: Soksela.

Upcoming World Cup qualification

The FIFA World Cup will next be held in Russia in June 2018. It's hard to believe but the qualifying games for the competition will begin in March of this year. That's just two months away. The AFC qualification stages begin much earlier than anyone else. After 10 February Cambodia will know who they must beat, over two legs, to progress. The AFC will be combining in part the qualification for the 2018 World Cup as well as the 2019 Asian Cup. As a result, this will permit the qualification process to last longer than in the past. AFC Qualification will consist of four rounds. The first round will feature the lowest ranked teams, with home-and-away ties to reduce the pool of eligible teams to 40. The first round matches will take place on March 12 and 17, with the draw to be held on February 10, 2015. While the AFC has not come out and said it, the October 2014 FIFA Rankings will likely be used to determine the teams that will compete in the first round and they are likely to be Macau, Cambodia, Chinese Taipei, Mongolia, Brunei, Bhutan. The 2nd round is due to be played in groups, eight groups with five teams, playing home & away from June 2015. We await 10 February with great interest. How the World Cup preparation for the Cambodia national team will impact on the latter stages of the Hun Sen Cup and the prep for the C-League remains to be seen. Taking the best players away from their clubs at such a crucial time for training camps will not sit well with the clubs, though Lee Tae-Hoon, the national coach has indicated his disinterest in the World Cup before (vs Laos in 2011), so maybe he won't even bother.

Monday, January 5, 2015

4 suspended

Phnom Penh Crown Football Club Statement:
Following a serious breach of club rules, Phnom Penh Crown Football Club have taken internal disciplinary action against 4 senior players - Sou Yaty, Hong Pheng, Khim Borey and Kouch Sokumpheak - and have suspended these 4 players from first-team activities for the duration of the Hun Sen Cup competition.
The behaviour of these players during and following the recent tournament visit to China, including their refusal to train with the team, has left the club's management with no alternative but to take this course of action.
Phnom Penh Crown Football Club is committed to its core values of Respect, Honesty, Fairness and Professionalism, and we expect our players and staff to abide by these guiding principles at all times. 

No further comment by the club on this matter.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Close encounter

PPCFC, back row, LtoR: Sokthorn, Thierry, Boris, Pisa, Chaly, Usarphea. Front Row: Da, Sothy, Sokheng, Tola, Srin - click to enlarge
Result: Phnom Penh Crown 5 Phnom Penh Crown Academy U-17s 4 (Friendly).
This afternoon's internal friendly match at RSN Stadium was full of fireworks and goals. The senior Crown team held on to win 5-4 but the Academy put up a great fightback and nearly clinched a draw, as both sides took their Hun Sen Cup preparation seriously. The Academy kick-off their cup matches next Thursday whilst the seniors must wait until later in the month. Both sides were without players with a Muslim holiday taking away three of the senior regulars, and injury robbing the Academy of some of their squad. Sam Schweingruber used the opportunity to give game-time to a few trialists, of whom Chey Chetra shone. The match started at a frantic pace and on six minutes the seniors took the lead. Um Tola threaded a pass through to Va Sokthorn, he avoided a Sraing Titchhy tackle and swept the ball past Kung Chanvuthy. Four minutes later Lous Chaly brought down In Sodavid and Seut Baraing tucked away the penalty kick with ease to level the score. Chanvuthy was alert to deny two close range efforts from Thourng Da, but couldn't stop Ouk Sothy's far post header from Touch Sokheng's corner as the senior team went ahead again on 17 minutes. Chances went begging at both ends, with Sath Rozak spurning a golden opportunity, and Sokheng doing likewise. On 28 minutes, the Academy were level again when keeper San Usarphea's weak clearance was returned with accuracy from 20 yards by Mat Sakrovy. 2-2. Sokthorn's snap-shot was cleared by the head of Pov Ponvuthy before Tola added a goal on his return to the club he left early last year. Bin Thierry's high center was dropped by Chanvuthy and Tola was on hand to smash the ball home on the half hour. Both Sodavid and Baraing had free-kick's from distance held by Usarphea, before the senior team took a commanding lead two minutes into injury time at the end of the first period of three 35-minute halves. A Thierry corner to the near post was headed firmly past Chanvuthy by Chhom Pisa to make it 4-2.

There was a lack of goalmouth activity until the 24th minute of the second period when a neat move involving Tola and Ngoy Srin gave Chey Chetra the chance to roll the ball inside the far post with a smart finish. Chanvuthy then came to the rescue to deny Sokheng, Tola and a fizzer from Sokthorn, which the stopper palmed over the bar with a flying stop. In the final period, the Academy piled on the pressure, helped by a red card for Thierry, for kicking the ball away, on 81 minutes. Orn Chanpolin fired wide and Sodavid's drive was held by Usarphea. Sokthorn rolled a shot inches wide at the other end but it was effectively one-way traffic despite the addition of three foreigners in the seniors line-up. Pisa's knee stopped Mat Noron's effort and then Chetra got in the way of another shot from the winger. Chhuot Senteang had two good chances but failed to find the target before the youngsters got a goal back on 100 minutes. Noron set up Sodavid and he calmly slotted the ball into the corner. Five minutes later and nerves fraying, Long Phearath's ball over the top was taken in his stride by Yeu Muslim and his cool finish under pressure made it 5-4. With the seniors hanging on, the final whistle went to bring down the curtain on a thoroughly entertaining friendly.
PPCFC seniors: Usarphea, Pisa, Da (Sokleng 94), Boris (Obadin 71), Srin (Chaly 64 (Pellegrino 71)), Thierry (Chetra 36), Sothy, Chaly (Sokleng 36 (Thierry 71)), Sokheng (Boris 80), Sokthorn (Srin 83), Tola (Lee 71).
PPCFC U-17s: Chanvuthy, Noeut, Baraing (Phearath 68), Titchhy (Noron 90), Chanpolin, Sakrovy (Rozak 85), Rozak (Chanchav 55), Sodavid, Ponvuthy (Senteang 68), Noron (V Samnang 71), Senteang (Muslim 45). Yellow card: Chaly. Red card : Thierry (81). Goals: (Seniors) Sokthorn (6), Sothy (17), Tola (30), Pisa (35+2), Chetra (59): (Academy) Baraing (10 pen), Sakrovy (28), Sodavid (100), Muslim (105).
PPCFC U-17s, back row, LtoR: Sakrovy, Senteang, Sodavid, Chanpolin, Titchhy. Chanvuthy. Front Row: Rozak, Noron, Noeut, Ponvuthy, Baraing - click to enlarge

Friday, January 2, 2015

Academy awards

Orn Chanpolin receives his awards from the president and his family
The Phnom Penh Crown Academy held their end of year awards ceremony in Chrey Thom as everyone welcomed in 2015. Club President Rithy Samnang and his family were on the stage with head coach Sam Schweingruber and Academy manager So Dany to present the awards to the Academy boys who were outstanding in each category during 2014. Here's the full list of award winners, and congratulations to all of them. Crown is very proud of the Academy's achievements in 2014 at both U-17 and U-15 levels and hope the boys continue their progress to become professional footballers.
Most Improved Player:
· U-15: Chea Savey
· U-17: Mat Noron
Most Valuable Player:
· U-15: San David
· U-17: Orn Chanpolin
Most Improved English:
· Ouk Sovann
Top Scorer:
· U-17: Suon Noeut (FFC Youth League)
· U-15: Mao Piseth (FFC Youth League)
· U-17: Chhout Senteang (ACT U-16)
Best Student:
· Orn Chanpolin
Player's Player of the Year:
· U-15: Mao Piseth
· U-17: Chhout Senteang
Best Goalkeeper of the Year:
· Svang Samnang.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Academy in Hun Sen Cup

2 new kits for the Hun Sen Cup: Academy players LtoR: Baraing, Chhaya, Senteang, Chanvuthy, Sovann, Sodavid, Chanpolin - click to enlarge
The Phnom Penh Crown Academy will take part in the Hun Sen Cup 2015 competition, which begins on 8 January, and will represent Chroy Changvar district in Pool B of the Phnom Penh preliminary round. Of the 8 city teams, 3 will qualify for the knock-out rounds alongwith the regional qualifiers and the 8 best teams in the C-League last term. The Chroy Changvar team will be made up of the Crown Academy U-17 players under head coach Bouy Dary and could conceivably be drawn against the senior Crown team in the later stages if they qualify. The three matches in their pool of 4 teams will be as follows:
Thur 8 Jan v Kirivong - KO:1.30pm at RSN Stadium.
Fri 9 Jan vs Albirex Niigata - KO:1.30pm at PE School
Sun 11 Jan vs Tuol Kork (who will be Svay Rieng 'B') - KO:3.45pm at RSN Stadium.

The Academy youngsters are pictured with their two new playing kits for the cup competition, sponsored by 855Crown.Asia.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Two more victories

PPCFc U-17s, back row, LtoR: Chanpolin, Sodavid, Soksela, Chanchav, Chhaya, Senteang. Front: Noeut, Muslim, Noron, V Samnang, Baraing - click to enlarge

Result: Phnom Penh Crown U-17 Academy 1 BBU 0 (Friendly).
The Crown Academy left it very late, the 3rd minute of time added on, to win this hard-fought friendly match at RSN Stadium this afternoon. The match-winner was Chhuot Senteang with a powerful header from Seut Baraing's corner, as Crown finished the game the stronger of the two teams. The match started slowly with the Academy stepping up their game with Baraing and In Sodavid having shots held by the BBU keeper, before BBU hit the post at the other end with a header. Senteang broke clear only to screw his shot well wide and the game remained scoreless at the break. Senteang was denied by both keeper and goal-post just 40 seconds into the 2nd half and with BBU going close twice, it was Crown who pulled the strings in the last ten minutes. Senteang, free, drove across the face of goal, Orn Chanpolin whacked a 25-yard drive against the cross-bar and Sraing Titchhy's shot was deflected wide by a desperate lunge. Then Senteang sealed the result with his fine header on 93 minutes. PPCFC U-17s vs BBU: Soksela, Noeut, Baraing, V Samnang, Chanchav, Chanpolin, Chhaya, Sodavid (Piphop 64), Noron (Phearath 78), Muslim (Titchhy 56), Senteang. Bookings; Chhaya, Titchhy. Goal: Senteang 90+3.

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

Result: Phnom Penh Crown U-15 Academy 7 Roy7 Select 3 (Friendly).
The younger Crown Academy team dominated this match from start to finish and showed their adult opponents no mercy, but will be disappointed to concede three goals. At the other end, Tong Chanmony, moved up to striker, scored on 11 minutes from Sin Kakada's pass and Nop David stroked home a penalty on 24 minutes after San David was upended. Roy7 pulled a goal back but Chanmony was enjoying himself, and scored his second on 27 minutes and then headed his hat-trick on 31 minutes from Sok Panha's pinpoint center. Crown hit the woodwork three times through Mao Piseth and twice by Chanmony before the break. Twelve minutes into the 2nd half, Chanmony netted his 4th with a lob courtesy of Kakada's pas, new face Phom Oay slotted home on 76 minutes after a clearance hit teammate Kie Rina, and Piseth walked in a goal from the half-way line two minutes later. Roy7 scored two more but were well beaten on the day. PPCFC U-15s v Roy7: Samnang (Rafat 46), Panha (Rina 68), Kakada (Samel 68), Safy, Savey (Chetra 79), N David (Sovannaroth 31), S David (N David 73), Pisoth (Davann 46), Chetra (Punlork 46), Piseth, Chanmony (Oay 57). Goals: Chanmony 4 (11, 27, 31, 57), N David (24 pen), Oay (76), Piseth (78). 

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Crown's new faces win

PPCFC v Albirex, back row, LtoR: Sokleng, Makara, Pisa, Thierry, Boris, Obadin. Front: Yaneat, Da, Polo, Sokthorn, Usarphea - click to enlarge
Result: Phnom Penh Crown 3 Albirex Niigata 2 (Friendly).
PPCFC coach Sam Schweingruber used this afternoon's practice match at RSN Stadium, to give match-time to eight players on trial, mixed in with some of his regular senior team. The plan got off to a great start when Leng Makara headed home the first goal from close range after 7 minutes, from Odion Obadin's headed pass and Chhom Pisa's deep cross. Just three minutes later, Thourng Da's run and pass set up Sor Polo, a winner of the Division 1A championship with Sihanoukville, and he slotted the ball neatly under the oncoming goalkeeper for number two. Crown kept the Albirex keeper busy with goalbound attempts from Makara and Thierry, while Sim Vutha rattled the home cross-bar with a 25-yard drive. Da cleared from under his bar at the start of the second period before Va Sokthorn broke into the box but was denied by the keeper. In the 17th minute of the second of the 3x30-minute periods, Crown added a third as Pisa linked with Prom Yaneat to set up Sokthorn and he fired in a well-worked goal. There was time for Polo and Makara to both be denied by the Albirex stopper before the visitors pulled a goal back, against the run of play. A poor challenge from behind by Pisa allowed Nov Sosela the opportunity to reduce the arrears from the penalty spot on 56 minutes. Albirex scored a second on 73 minutes, with a snap-shot from the edge of the area but Schweingruber made more changes to tighten up and George Bisan broke clear only to have his shot palmed aside. Orn Chanpolin sent a 25-yarder skidding through a forest of legs and then Bisan will wonder how he didn't score after being put through, with his final touch being toe-poked over the cross-bar by a defender. Crown deserved the victory though made heavy weather of it in the latter stages of the match. Crown's trialists were: Sor Polo, Eung Sokleng, Nhett Run Samnang (all Sihanoukville), goalkeeper San Usarphea, Hour Lavy (both CMAC), Lous Chaly (Battambang), Prom Yaneat (Western U), Lee Jung Bin (South Korea).

PPCFC v Albirex: Usarphea (Soksela 61), Pisa, Da (Sokleng 71), Boris, Obadin (Yaneat 75), Thierry (Lavy 31 (Titchhy 75)), Yaneat (Bisan 51), Makara (Chaly 61), Sokthorn, Sokleng (Jung Bin 31 (Chanpolin 75)), Polo (Samnang 61). Goals: Makara (7), Polo (10), Sokthorn (47). 3x30 minute periods.

Monday, December 22, 2014

No change in the MCL

The Metfone C-League play-offs have been and gone, with the composition of the top division unchanged. The two teams in the 2014 relegation places, Kirivong and Albirex Niigata, will return to the fold after succeeding in the 3-team play-off battle at the FFC's Tonle Bati HQ last week. They were supposed to face the best teams from the Division 1A qualifiers, Sihanoukville and CMAC, but the seaside team pulled out leaving the three-teams to battle it out. Albirex made sure of their place with a 2-0 win over CMAC, after a 1-1 draw with Kirivong in the opening tie. A goal-less draw for Kirivong with CMAC, also saw the Takeo-based team return to the top flight too, so effectively no change.

The Olympic Stadium pitch is now being renovated, courtesy of a $500,000 grant from FIFA and an artificial surface will be laid between now and May. The likelihood is that the start of the C-League in 2015, scheduled for late March, will be played at other stadiums, such as the Army Stadium and the new RSN Stadium, with the Olympic pitch not likely to be ready. The Hun Sen Cup will begin in early January with qualifying matches in the provinces and amongst the Phnom Penh qualifiers, before the top eight teams in last season's C-League are invited to join the qualifying teams in the main competition. The teams in the Phnom Penh preliminary round are Army, Western Uni, Civil Aviation and Chbar Ampov (Creek Victory Sport), Kirivong, Albirex, Tuol Kork (Svay Rieng B) and Chroy Changvar. Games will begin on 8 January with three capital teams joining the province qualifiers in the next round.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Double Academy success

PPCFC U-17s, back row, LtoR: Chanvuthy, Sakrovy, Chanchav, V Samnang, Senteang, Chanpolin. Front: Baraing, Phearath, Muslim, Sodavid, Noron - click to enlarge
Result: Phnom Penh Crown Academy U-17s 5 Svay Rieng B 1 (Friendly).
In this afternoon's RSN Stadium practice match, the Crown Academy took their chances and bossed the match for long periods against their traditional rivals Savy Rieng, who will appear in the Hun Sen Cup under the name of Tuol Kork. Mat Noron got on the scoresheet after 4 minutes with a smart finish from Chhuot Senteang's persistence. Noron then did the dirty work, beating two defenders with his quick feet, to set up Senteang for a measured finish on 21 minutes. SVR hit the post and cross-bar, courtesy of a fingertip Kung Chanvuthy save, before pulling a goal back on 36 minutes. Two quick-fire goals from Yeu Muslim after the break put Crown in command and they took charge until the final whistle. Just 24 seconds into the 2nd half and Muslim slotted home after In Sodavid caused headaches for the defence. On six minutes, Sodavid's run and pass gave Muslim another tap-in goal. SVR had a player dismissed for punching Pov Ponvuthy. On 76 minutes, Senteang broke clear and set up Sodavid, who rolled the ball in to make it a convincing 5-1 success for Crown. PPCFC U-17s: Chanvuthy (Soksela 46), V Samnang (Noeut 46), Phearath (Ponvuthy 46 (Phearath 80)), Baraing, Chanchav (V Samnang 71), Sodavid, Chanpolin, Sakrovy, Muslim, Noron (Chhaya 78), Senteang. Goals: Noron (4), Senteang (21), Muslim 2 (46, 51), Sodavid (76).

PPCFC U-15s line-up, back Row, LtoR: S Samnang, Safy, Savey, Sovannaroth, Chetra. Front: Chanomony, Panha, Piseth, S David, Kakada, N David - click to enlarge
Result: Phnom Penh Crown Academy U-15s 3 FFC Academy 1 (Friendly).
The younger Academy team from Crown again dominated their opponents from the FFC Academy, who will join the Dream Asia U-14 competition in Thailand tomorrow. With positional changes giving Crown a new look at RSN this morning, Tong Chanmony gave them the lead after just 23 seconds,when he neatly clipped home from Pich Sovannaroth's through ball. On 29 minutes Chea Savey poked the ball in after San David crashed a corner against the cross-bar. Kie Rina made it 3-nil on 55 minutes when he pulled the trigger after a lay-back by Mao Piseth. FFC reined a goal back but were never in the game and Rina and Piseth went very close to increasing the 3-1 victory scoreline. PPCFC U-15s: S Samnang (Rafat 71), Panha, Kakada (Chetra 71), Safy (Sovannaroth 71), Savey (Pisoth 71), Piseth, Sovannaroth (Davann 36 (Chanmony 71 (Kakada 88)), Chetra (Samel 36 (S David 94)), N David, S David (Punlork 36 (S Samnang  84)), Chanmony (Rina 36 (Savey 100)). Goals: Chanmony (1), Savey (29), Rina (55). 3x35 minute periods. 

Sunday, December 14, 2014

A well-earned reward

The Academy party on the beach at Sihanoukville
The Phnom Penh Crown Academy boys headed for a weekend break to Sihanoukville as a reward for winning the Cambodia Youth League championships at both U-15 and U-17 levels. It's a well-deserved holiday for the 36 players plus coaching staff. They enjoyed fishing, diving into the sea, a boat trip to the islands and a beach BBQ.
The Academy fishing champion, Sin Kakada

The Academy's posing diving award went to Mat Sakrovy

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Regulation win

PPCFC U-17s, back row, LtoR: Sakrovy, Chhaya, Chanpolin, Titchhy, Soksela, Sovann. Front: Rozak, Senteang, Noron, V Samnang, Noeut - click to enlarge
Result: Phnom Penh Crown U-17 Academy 3 Chamkarmon 1 (Friendly).
In a match they dominated from the first whistle, the U-17s will wonder how they didn't score a hatful of goals in this match. Mat Noron scored the opener on 27 minutes when he took advantage of a poor pass and fired a shot from the edge of the box inside the near post. The visiting goalkeeper was kept busy though Kim Chhaya should've added a second just before the break, volleying over from a corner. Ten minutes after the break, Pov Ponvuthy was pushed over in the box and Mat Sakrovy slotted home the penalty kick. Chamkarmon pulled a goal back with a header from a corner but that was their only real strike on goal and Yeu Muslim wrapped up the match, volleying in at the near post from Sath Rozak's cross on 72 minutes. PPCFC U-17s: Soksela (Chanvuthy 46), Noeut, Sovann, V Samnang (Phearath 46), Titchhy, Sakrovy (Noron 70), Chanpolin, Chhaya (Muslim 56), Rozak, Senteang (Sodavid 56), Noron (Ponvuthy 46). Goals: Noron (27), Sakrovy (55 pen), Muslim (72).

Monday, December 8, 2014

Crown go out on pens

PPCFC under floodlight, back row, LtoR: Pheng, Srin, Bisan, Obadin, Matnorotin, Yaty. Front: Sothy, Suhana, Da, Borey, Sokumpheak - click to enlarge
Final Result: PPCFC 1 Diamond FC (China) 1 [Diamond won 8-7 on penalties] - (2014 Yunnan-Asean International Tournament).
Phnom Penh Crown were beaten in a penalty shoot-out under floodlights and exited this pre-season tournament in Mangshi City, Yunnan, China. One of China’s best amateur clubs, Diamond held their nerve as penalties decided this Quarter-Final tie, after the teams drew 1-1 at the end of 90 minutes. Sary Matnorotin had given Crown the lead on 38 minutes with their first goal of the competition in Crown’s third match.  The Chinese levelled from an uncleared corner on 51 minutes. Crown had chances to win the game in both halves but didn’t convert them and then fell to sudden-death penalties 8-7 with Borey and Makara having their spot-kicks saved. Line-Up: Yaty, Da, Pheng, Srin, Obadin, Sokumpheak, Sothy, Suhana, Borey, Matnorotin, Bisan. Subs: Ary, Sokheng, Pisa, Boris, Makara, Sokthorn, Pellegrino. Goal: Matnorotin. Penalties scored: Pheng, Obadin, Sokumpheak, Bisan, Srin, Da, Sokthorn.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Another nil-nil

PPCFC in China. Back Row, LtoR: Vanny, Sothy, Sokthorn, Srin, Bisan, Matnorotin, Sam, Pheng, Obadin, Makara, Pisa, Yaty, Sophat. Front Row: Da, Pellegrino, Suhana, Borey, Sokheng, Ary, Sokumpheak, Boris - click to enlarge
Sunday 7 December 2014; Result: Phnom Penh Crown 0 Muangthong United (Thailand) 0 (2014 Yunnan-Asean Int Tournament).

In their second group match of the 2014 Yunnan-Asean International Tournament being held in Mangshi City, Yunnan Province, China, Phnom Penh Crown were held to a second consecutive goal-less draw against Muangthong, one of the better youth teams in Thailand. Head coach Sam Schweingruber commented on their second match in two days:  "The game today (vs Muangthong United U-19s) was very disappointing. The 1st half was okay, we had good possession and created a few chances. Our defence was solid but we didn't have enough going forward, things just didn’t fall our way in the final third of the pitch with miss-control, bad first touches and so on. The 2nd half was pretty boring, we didn’t really get close to scoring despite an okay amount of possession." Crown now meet Diamond FC tomorrow (Monday at 7.30pm), a Chinese amateur team who won the right to join the competition, coming top of a 14-team amateur league, winning most of their matches very easily and have four China League 1 players in their line-up. It promises to be a tough quarter-final tie for Crown. PPCFC v Muangthong: Ary, Pisa, Sokheng (Da 75), Boris, Obadin, Sokumpheak (Makara 53), Suhana (Pellegrino 83), Sothy, Matnorotin, Sokthorn (Srin 66), Bisan (Pheng 70). Subs not used: Yaty, Borey. Bookings: Sokthorn, Srin.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Dominant but no goals

PPCFC v Mengzi: Back row, LTR: Sothy, Srin, Sokthorn, Bisan, Obadin, Yaty. Front Row: Da, Pellegrino, Pheng, Borey, Sokumpheak (capt) - click to enlarge

Result: Phnom Penh Crown 0 Mengzi Wanhao (China) 0 (2014 Yunnan-Asean Int Tournament).
The draw for the Yunnan-Asean International Tournament paired Crown with two teams in their 3-team group. Crown met Mengzi Wanhao, a team from China's League 2, this afternoon in their first tie. Tomorrow they will meet Thailand's Muangthong United U-19s at 4pm.  All 6 teams in the two groups will then move into the quarter-finals, where two winning teams from an amateur competition of 14 teams, will be added. The quarter-final matches will be played on Monday 8 Dec, semi-finals on 9 Dec and the final on 10 Dec. Back to today's game and despite dominating possession for long periods, Crown couldn't convert the many chances they created and had to settle for a point in their group game. The matches are taking place in Mangshi City, Yunnan, SW China and the other three Asean club teams are Muangthong (Thailand), Yadanarbon (Myanmar) and Sabah FA (Malaysia). Crown head coach Sam Schweingruber gave his thoughts on the 0-0 draw with Mengzi Wanhao. "All in all I was happy with the performance but not with the result. We turned our dominance in the second half into good chances but failed to convert them. The opponents frustrated us and the referee didn’t help our attempt to play good football against a physical team. We need to look forward and learn from this, on how to overcome a compact defense and to stay positive in every phase of the game. With only 24 hours to rest it is going to be a chance tomorrow for fresh players to show what they can do on the international stage." The game with Muangthong will kick-off at 4pm in Mangshi City. PPCFC starting XI: Yaty, Da, Pheng, Srin (Pisa 70), Obadin, Sothy (Suhana 73), Sokumpheak, Borey (Matnorotin 78), Sokthorn (Makara 60), Pellegrino, Bisan.
Subs not used: Ary, Boris, Sokheng.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Heading for China

Sam Schweingruber with his eyes on China - pic Masayori Ishikawa
The 18-man Phnom Penh Crown first-team squad fly to Kunming and onto Luxi (Mangshi City) in Yunnan Province, southwest China later today. In two days time they will begin their challenge for the 2014 Yunnan-Asean International Tournament, with six teams invited from half a dozen Asean countries and 2 from China. We will let you know the fixtures as soon as the draw is made. Head coach Sam Schweingruber is allowed to take 18 players under the competition rules and has selected the following: Yaty, Ary, Da, Pheng, Srin, Obadin, Boris, Sokheng, Sokumpheak, Suhana, Sothy, Pisa, Sokthorn, Makara, Matnorotin, Borey, Pellegrino, Bisan. Four club officials will travel with the team for the tournament. Amongst those left at home, Bin Thierry and Koen Bosma are not part of the tournament squad.