Friday, March 11, 2011

Crown's success

PPC line-up; [Back Row, LtR] Narith, Narong, H Pheng, Visokra, Nwafor, Obadin [front] Dara, Virak, Njoku, Chaya, Sothearith
After a loss and a draw against the African All Stars XI in previous meetings, Phnom Penh Crown turned up the heat and recorded a 1-0 success at the third time of asking, in this afternoon's friendly encounter at Tuol Kork. Kingsley Njoku netted the only goal of the match, on 71 minutes from close range and celebrated with a triple somersault. I think someone forgot to tell Kingsley that it was only a friendly and to save the elaborate celebrations for the forthcoming league matches. There was no quarter given in the game, both sides not holding back in the tackle despite the friendly tag given to the match, so Crown can feel pleased that they came out on top against their physically stronger African opponents. It was pretty much all Crown in the first-half with the opposition goalkeeper doing well to block efforts from Chan Chaya and Hong Pheng, whilst Kingsley Njoku headed powerfully over, was brought down by the last man only to see play waved on and then had a headed goal disallowed for offside in the dying moments of the opening half.
The African team came out strongly in the second half and Ande Apollo headed wide before Crown got back on top. Odion Obadin had a header from a corner stopped on the line and a better touch from Hok Sochivorn would've given him a goal instead of sending the ball just past the post. On 71 minutes Crown opened the scoring after Sochivorn and Ratana combined to leave Njoku with a simple tap-in, with which he duly obliged and commenced his acrobatic goal celebration. That was the last of the action, as Crown recorded their first win over the African team. Getting 90 minutes under his belt for Crown was defensive midfield trialist Kenneth Nwafor, 18, who was with Khemara Keila last season and who played for the African All Stars against the Cambodian national team in two friendly games last month, both of which ended in draws. Coach Bojan Hodak decided not to include in the starting line-up, the Crown players who have been training with the national team all week.
Crown line-up: Visokra, Dara (Tiny 83), Narith, Sothearith, Obadin, Narong (Sophat 45), Nwafor, Chaya (Sophanal 81), Virak (Ratana 45), Hong Pheng (Sochivorn 65), Njoku (Sokumpheak 83). Subs not used: Vanthan, Sovan.
A quick post-match chat from coach Bojan Hodak to his Crown players
No wonder the African All Stars were hard to break down; their starting line up had 16 players!Pre-match sprinting exercises
Crown midfield trialist Kenneth Nwafor

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