Friday, September 9, 2011

Crown sink the U-23s

PPCFC in the 1st half. Back Row LtoR: Sothearith, Sovannrithy, David Booth (coach), Tiny, Bunchhay, Sopanha, Narith. Front Row: S Pheng, Chaya, Borey, Dara, Sokumpheak
PPCFC in the 2nd half, pose for a photo at the end of the game. Back Row LtoR: Ratana, Sophanal, Sophat, Visokra, Nwafor. Front Row: Vanthan, Sovan, H Pheng, Virak, Borey, Sochivorn
This afternoon's match, on a totally soggy pitch at Olympic Stadium which made good football impossible and rendered the game almost meaningless, still counted as a good training exercise for Phnom Penh Crown as they prepare for next week's assault on the AFC President's Cup final round. It's typhoon season in Taiwan, so rain and soggy pitches might be the order of the day on the 19th when they play their first game at the Kaohsiung National Stadium. It began raining heavily an hour before the kick-off this afternoon and continued throughout the match, leaving large pools of water on the playing surface. However, that didn't stop the game going ahead, with Crown meeting Lee Tae-Hoon's Cambodian U-23 squad and giving them a 3-2 beating that will give the South Korean coach something to mull over. Crown on the other hand, played without their three regular foreign players, and led 3-2 at the interval, which signalled almost complete personnel changes for both sides, with no more goals coming after the break. The only player to play the whole 90 minutes was Crown's Khim Borey, back from his season in the Thai Premier League with Sisaket and on hand to tap home the game's first goal on 8 minutes, after Sou Yaty failed to hold Sun Sopanha's 25 yard free-kick. Borey may've been playing in midfield but he's lost none of his goalscorer's instinct whilst on his travels. It was all Crown in the first-half and Kouch Sokumpheak fired one from distance straight into Sou Yaty's hands and then saw his curling effort tipped around the post by a flying Yaty save. On 20 minutes, Khuon Laboravy was gifted an equalizer for the U-23's when Sun Sovannrithy delayed and then mis-cued his attempted clearance. Borey fired in a 30-yard effort which Yaty saw late and fingertipped around his post before Tieng Tiny fizzed an effort across the face of goal after Sopanha's shot fell at his feet. Sun Sovannrithy made amends for his earlier blunder by powerfully heading home Sopanha's chipped free-kick after 28 minutes to restore Crown's lead. It lasted less than ten minutes when Laboravy swung a cross to the far post and Chin Chhoeurn's well-timed volley crept inside Peng Bunchhay's near post. Yaty was in the right place to keep out Sok Pheng's swerving drive from thirty yards moments later. A minute before the break, Crown got their just desserts when Sovannrithy bounded forward to the byeline, touched the ball onto Chan Chaya and his left foot shoot was too hot to handle for Yaty at the foot of his near post. Crown went into the interval, 3-2 ahead though with bookings for Sovannrithy, Chan Dara and Sopanha.

Both coaches made wholesale changes at half-time, with just Khim Borey surviving in the Crown line-up. The U-23s put out a new team and both line-ups effectively cancelled each other out for much of the second period. A shocking offside flag by the linesman ruled out a neat finish from Hok Sochivorn and Hong Pheng raced onto a through ball and around the keeper but screwed his shot across the face of goal with Crown's best chances. The last word went to Crown's stand-in keeper Hong Visokra who made sure his team went home with the bragging rights by pushing out a Sophal Udom drive in the closing seconds. Despite the conditions, it was a good work-out for the players who had their stamina tested, ahead of the AFC President's Cup for Crown and the BIDC Cup for the U-23s. Crown coach David Booth has another week of preparation before he and his squad head out to Taiwan for the exciting finale to their already successful campaign.
Crown: Bunchhay (Visokra), Dara (Sophanal), Sovannrithy (Vanthan), Tiny (Nwafor), Sothearith (Sovan), Narith (Sophat), Sopanha (Virak), Borey, Chaya (Ratana), S Pheng (H Pheng), Sokumpheak (Sochivorn). Subs not used: Bunna, Rathanak. Bookings: Sovannrithy, Dara, Sopanha.
Cambodia U-23's: Yaty (S Sophea), Rady (Raksmey), Dalin (Pancharong), T Udom (K Vannak), Piseth (S Rithy), Sothearath (Chansothea), Phearith (O Kumpheak), Chhoeurn (Saray), Souhana (Soksana), E Vannak (Nasy (Sokly)), Laboravy (S Udom). Bookings: Kumpheak, Sokly.
The Cambodian U-23's at kick-off. Back Row LtoR: Laboravy, T Udom, Yaty, Piseth, Rady, Dalin. Front Row: Chhoeurn, Vannak, Phearith, Sothearath, Souhana
Coach David Booth issues the Crown players with instructions
A tv camera following Lee Tae-Hoon's every move
An unusual team bench for the Crown substitutes, and without any cover from the driving rain

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