Saturday, November 27, 2010

Crown atop the Navy

Kingsley Njoku, 2nd right, collects his 1st goal in a Crown shirt against the Navy today
Phnom Penh Crown played their 2nd friendly of their pre-season programme on their own Tuol Kork training pitch this afternoon, defeating a plucky Navy team 2-1, with all the goals scored in the 1st half. With Khim Borey nursing a slight strain, the rest of the Crown squad were given a run-out with wholesale changes at half-time. Kouch Sokumpheak registered his 1st goal for his new club on 17 minutes when he neatly dragged back a pass from Sun Sopanha, held off a defender and rolled his shot under the advancing keeper. His strike partner, Kingsley Njoku, who had missed a couple of good chances, made no mistake with his next opportunity on 26 minutes. Sokumpheak's header sent Hong Ratana away and his left foot cross found Njoku with time to control, drag the ball away from a defender before firing it into an empty net. A few minutes later he also smashed a drive against the crossbar, but only after the Navy's Meas Sopanha had reduced the arrears, after a sloppy piece of Crown defending. Five minutes before the half-time break, Sokumpheak was upended in the box only for Sun Sopanha's penalty kick to be saved by the legs of keeper Pov Raksa.
After the break, a new look Crown line-up with just Odion Obadin and Tieng Tiny staying on the pitch, dominated their opponents. The Navy didn't manage a shot on target after the interval, but Crown were guilty of some wasted chances with Sok Pheng and Phoung Narong finding Pov Raksa in great shot-stopping form in the Navy goal, whilst Chea Virath, San Narith and Chan Chaya all fired wide when well-placed. Crown coach Bojan Hodak declared himself pleased with the improvement shown from their last game, with better passing on show, his players won their 50/50 tackles, they created lots of chances, though the finishing was not as good as he would've wished.
PPCFC line-up: Bunchhay (Visokra 45), Dara (Sovan 45), Sothearith (Vanthan 45), Tiny, Obadin, Sopanha (Narong 45), Sophat (Narith 45), Ratana (Virak 45), Rathanak (Virath 45), Njoku (Chaya 45), Sokumpheak (Pheng 45).
7 of the Crown squad - Bunchhay, Tiny, Sopanha, Narith, Borey, Sokumpheak, Pheng - will link-up with their Cambodian national team colleagues on Monday morning. The national team got together at the start of last week but Crown are in the midst of their important pre-season programme so decided to release their players for just the week leading up to the national team's friendly against South Korea's Ulsan University on Sunday 5th December. The national team are playing a series of practice matches against Cambodian league teams this month and met Kirivong this afternoon at Olympic Stadium, winning 2-nil. They are due to play Phnom Penh Crown on Friday 17th December at Olympic.
Sun Sopanha's penalty kick is saved by the legs of Navy keeper Pov Raksa
Coach Bojan Hodak gives his team a half-time recap on the 1st half
Crown striker Sok Pheng fires over the cross-bar in the 2nd half. The new dorms for the Academy are behind the action.
Assistant coach Vann Piseth translates the words of coach Bojan Hodak to the players before today's match
It's quick sprints to get the juices flowing before today's pre-season warm-up game for Tes Sophat and Tieng Tiny

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