PPCFC starting line-up. Back LtoR: Sovan, Rady, Ary, Vanthan, Obadin, Frimpong. Front: Sovanna, Asonibe, Suhana, Borey, SokumpheakPhnom Penh Crown failed to fire on all cylinders in their opening game of the Metfone C-League season and against a team like Preah Khan Reach, they will punish you if you let them, and that's exactly what happened this afternoon. Both teams had spells in control but PKR took their chances and Crown didn't. Sometimes it's that simple. In Khuon Laboravy they possess someone who will do damage if you don't handle him properly and he lived up to his billing as a dangerman once again. For Crown their key players didn't shine on the day and PKR will be cock-a-hoop that their homegrown line-up delivered against Crown's array of foreign and Khmer talent. It had begun promisingly for the champions, even before the kick-off. The FFC had allowed the two former Army players (Khim Borey and Pheak Rady) to appear and Crown's three foreigners were also given the thumbs up to play. On the pitch, Borey chipped in only to see a flag for offside and then Sos Suhana escaped the clutches of Sok Rithy but rushed his shot over the cross-bar. It was an unlucky 13th minute for Crown as they lost possession in the middle and failed to cut out Hoy Phallin's pass forward to Laboravy. The tall rangy striker bore down on goal, bamboozled Sok Sovan and his finish was straight and true for the first goal. On the half hour, a Borey corner was met powerfully by the forehead of Odion Obadin but the ball fizzed into the arms of keeper Sar Sophea. Three minutes later, a Borey free-kick was curled exquisitely to the far post only for Pheak Rady's bent-down header to go the wrong side of the upright. Chances were few and far between but PKR went further ahead from an unlikely source, Crown's goalkeeper Yok Ary, seven minutes before the half-time break. Prak Mony Udom's free-kick sailed harmlessly into Ary's grasp, only for the stopper to inexplicably let the ball through his arms and between his legs as he turned in horror to see it trickle over the goal-line. He was inconsolable.
The second half began quietly with only a miscue from Moul Daravorn bringing out a save from his own keeper. Chea Samnang broke free for PKR but Ary was equal to his shot moments before Crown's best move of the match. Kouch Sokumpheak fed Suhana and his quick feet left his marker for dead, only for his angled shot to rebound to safety off the post on 65 minutes. Another good opportunity went begging soon after when sub Ouk Sothy failed to get his free header on target from Sokumpheak's pinpoint delivery. With Crown pressing hard to get back into the game, their third clear chance in as many minutes saw Borey fail to get a touch in front of goal to Suhana's low cross. With ten minutes remaining, Sokumpheak's header didn't carry enough power, sub Hong Pheng should've hit the target when put in by Suhana but missed badly and then Sokumpheak's 15-yard drive was gathered up by Sorphea. It just wasn't Crown's day in front of goal. To add insult to injury, PKR's Udom raced away down the right-flank in the first minute of injury time and Laboravy was on hand to power in a free header from six yards out. 3-0 in PKR's favour simply didn't reflect the closeness of the two teams. There was still time for Crown's Pheak Rady to send another header past the post before the final whistle.
Crown line-up: Ary, Rady, Vanthan (Dara 67), Sovan, Obadin, Sovanna, Asonibe (Sothy 56), Frimpong (H Pheng 79), Suhana, Borey, Sokumpheak. Subs not used: Oudom, Da, Tiny, Lika, Sophanal, Seyha, Kimhor, Rathanak. Bookings: Sovan.