PPCFC starting line-up: Back LtoR: Sovan, Obadin, Sothy, Dara, Borey, Sovanna. Front: Asonibe, Oudom, Suhana, Seyha, SokumpheakPhnom Penh Crown played their first practice match since their failure to progress in the Hun Sen Cup past the quarter-final stage, early this morning. Facing Metfone C-League newcomers Western University at the RSN Stadium in Tuol Kork, the Crown side ran out 2-1 winners with all the goals coming in the first half. Crown coach David Booth used the match to look over a few new faces including combative midfielder Henry Asonibe, who played for Spark and Wat Phnom a couple of years ago and has just returned from Thailand, as well as giving second-half run-outs to right-back Pheak Rady from the Army and teenage striker Ros Samoeun from Chhlam Samuth.
Western provided a good test, though Crown's passing game kept them on the backfoot for long periods. Sos Suhana struck the crossbar with a rasping shot after just a few minutes and Western did the same moments later as the game began brightly. Asonibe had a great chance to open the scoring but blasted too high when set up by a neat Kouch Sokumpheak backheel, before Crown took the lead on 25 minutes. Khim Borey whipped in a stinging drive which the Western keeper parried out only for Sos Suhana to head the bouncing ball over his head and into the net. Crown went close again with Sokumpheak firing wide and heading a corner over the top. Western were back in the game on 33 minutes when a 25 yard free-kick looked to be safely gathered in by Crown keeper Am Oudom, playing against his former club, only for the stopper to somehow juggle the ball over the goal-line for the equaliser. With a couple of minutes left before half-time, Chhun Sovanna's pass found Odion Obadin in space but his shot was blocked by the keeper, only for Koem Sophanal to roll the ball into the path of Sos Suhana and he whacked the ball into the top corner for his second and Crown's second of the game.
Crown coach Booth rang the changes at the interval and throughout the second half. Pheak Rady took over at right-back, with Ros Samoeun, who netted half a dozen goals for Chhlam Samuth in the Hun Sen Cup recently, using his pace on the right flank. Sok Pheng had a shot on the turn saved low down but the chances were far fewer than in the first period and it needed a good diving save from Yok Ary to ensure Crown came out on top in this friendly encounter. A familiar face made a late appearance when Chan Chaya, who has been keeping fit with Crown over the last few weeks after his release from his contract in December, came on at left-back.
PPCFC line-up: Oudom (Ary 46), Dara (Rady 46), Seyha (Sophanal 24 (Tiny 46)), Sovan (Chaya 76), Obadin (Lika 84), Sovanna (Dara 65), Sothy, Asonibe, Suhana (Makara 72), Borey (Samoeun 46), Sokumpheak (S Pheng 46).
Another practice match for Crown looks set to take place on Saturday at 2pm at the home of newboys Boeung Ket in Kompong Cham province. And a further game has been pencilled in for Wednesday (29 Feb) at Tuol Kork with opponents still to be confirmed.