Sunday, July 25, 2010

It's a cruel game

Chhin Chhouern must've thought his goal would earn the Army maximum points
The Army will be asking themselves "when will our luck turn"
Football can be a cruel game. Just ask the players with the National Defense Ministry. They began the season like a train which then came off the rails and whatever they do, they can't seem to get back on track. Their game on Sunday against Phnom Penh Crown was a perfect example. They rode their luck early on, lost their goalkeeper and then scored in time added-on at the end of the first half. They held firm again before losing their centre-half to a red card by an inept referee and conceded an equaliser with just 3 minutes to go. The 1-1 draw was fair for the neutrals but for the Army players, they can't wait for the Metfone C-League season to come to a close. Chhin Chhouern scored for the Army with a scorcher of a goal a minute into additional time at the end of the first half, after Khim Borey had set him up. They'd already had to replace Samreth Seiha in goal on the half hour after he limped off with a leg injury, sustained in a collision with Keo Sokngorn. His replacement Sou Yaty kept his team in front with a double save a minute before the half-time whistle. The Army withstood some early Crown pressure in the 2nd half and looked to be heading for a surprise win when referee Yien Kivatanak stepped in on 67 minutes. Om Thavrak was given a poor pass by Yaty and made a last-ditch tackle to deny Sok Pheng but not in the eyes of the referee. As Thavrak lay prostrate on the ground nursing a knee injury, he flashed his red card. It was a poor decision as Thavrak clearly won the ball before catching Pheng, but that was little consolation for the Army centre-half as he left the pitch on a stretcher. It looked as though the Army would hold out against a toothless Crown side until a neat passing move gave Keo Sokngorn the equaliser with time running out. It was tough luck on the Army, who remain in sixth place, whilst Crown are in 2nd spot but seven points behind leaders Naga.
Phnom Penh Crown in their rather fetching blue and black strip
Om Thavrak is carried from the field after an undeserved red card
Another poor decision from referee Yien Kivatanak had a major impact on the result. At least he got the toss-up right.

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