Sunday, March 6, 2011

Crown comeback

Crown's starting line-up: [Back Row LtoR] Bojan Hodak (head coach), Sopanha, Obadin, Bunchhay, Narong, Tiny, Njoku [front row] Dara, Narith, Virak, Sokumpheak, Sothearith
Phnom Penh Crown looked to be heading for a surprise defeat in this afternoon's friendly encounter with Prek Pra Keila at their Tuol Kork HQ until three goals in 14 minutes midway through the 2nd half rescued the result and earned them a 4-3 success. Crown began the game with one of their strongest line-ups, posed their C-League opponents a heap of questions but failed to take full advantage of their superiority and were behind at the half-time whistle. Suong Virak gave Crown the lead on 14 minutes when a Kouch Sokumpheak long ball hit him on the back of the head, fell conveniently wide of Prek Pra keeper Yok Ary and Virak had an easy task of netting from close range. Two quick saves from Ary from a Kingsley Njoku downward header and a Phoung Narong 20-yard drive, kept Prek Pra in the game. Njoku then broke clear and poked his shot wide when it seemed easier to score. On the half-hour Prek Pra equalised through Sos Souhana with their first real foray into the Crown box and two minutes later, the unlucky Njoku lobbed what looked like a certain goal over Ary, only to see the ball rebound off the cross-bar. With 4 minutes of the 1st half remaining, Souhana was left to tap home his second after the ball fell kindly to him in a goalmouth melee, with Crown shouting loudly for offside. It was left to Yok Ary to close the first-half with a duo of great saves to keep out two headers from Tieng Tiny and Kingsley Njoku.
The 2nd half was twelve minutes old when Prek Pra stunned Crown by extending their lead to 3-1. Interval sub Feut Sulkiphly sent a dangerous center across the face of the Crown goal and Sos Souhana was on hand to score his hat-trick from close range. A few minutes later, Crown coach Bojan Hodak made two changes which perked up the home team. A neat one-two between Njoku and Chan Chaya left the latter in on goal, but his rolled shot struck the foot of the post. Within sixty seconds, on 62 minutes, Tieng Tiny stormed down the right wing and laid the ball back to Kingsley Njoku who lashed home his shot from ten yards. With their tails up, a minute later, Crown levelled when Phoung Narong put the ball in front of the sprinting Chan Chaya and this time his touch was true, as he fired home past the advancing Yok Ary. On 76 minutes Crown made their dominance count when Njoku left the Prek Pra defenders in his wake only to see his shot strike the upright, but teammate Sok Pheng was on hand to duck low to head in what turned out to be the match-winner. Chaya and Pheng could've extended the lead, fluffing good chances later on as Crown made another five changes late on to close the game out. Full marks to plucky Prek Pra for an entertaining game, though Crown coach Hodak will be asking questions of his defenders in his post-match inquest.
Crown line-up: Bunchhay (Visokra 45), Dara (Vanthan 58), Sothearith, Tiny (Sovan 78), Obadin, Narong (Sochivorn 87), Sopanha (Sok Pheng 58), Narith (Sophat 78), Virak (Chaya 37), Sokumpheak (Ratana 78), Njoku (Hong Pheng 78).
Prek Pra Keila line up before the match with coach Jack Tonye Charles on far left. Hat-trick hero Sos Souhana wears no 12.
Kouch Sokumpheak fires a shot narrowly wide
A study in concentration for Odion Obadin (left) and Kingsley Njoku
Quick steps to get the legs working before the match against Prek Pra

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