Saturday, February 27, 2010

The passion of the cup

The Hun Sen Cup final next week will be between Phnom Penh Crown and the National Defense Ministry after those two teams came out on top in today's semi-finals. The Army team had the easier of the semis, beating Preah Khan Reach 1-nil, albeit against the odds and the formbook. However, the real drama of the day came about in the afternoon's first match between Crown and their big rivals, Naga Corp. This match had just about everything you could ask for in a cup tie. Passion, often mistimed, was evident and that was clear at the card card which reached two reds and 14 yellows. The goals count was just as high with Crown taking a 3-nil lead at half-time with a 3-goal splurge in just seven minutes. Naga, who'd threatened a walk-off just before the interval, came back strongly and pulled back the deficit, the game finishing 3- 3 at full-time, with the Naga equaliser coming from the penalty spot with five minutes to go. In extra time they blew the chance of a win by failing from the penalty spot with almost the last kick of the game and that meant a penalty shoot-out. It was 3-3 after the first five spot-kicks and onto sudden death. The drama continued to unfold when Teab Vatanak had to retake his penalty (he'd missed in extra time), which was saved and then Phuong Narong stepped up to fire Crown into the final before bursting into floods of tears. It was time for everyone to draw a huge breath of air. This game was certainly a glorious advert for the good, and bad, of Cambodian football. More later, after I've had a lie down in a darkened room.

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