Crown line-up v Boeung Ket: Back Row LtoR: Dara, Rady, Obadin, Tiny, Frimpong, Sokumpheak. Front: Sothy, Sovan, Ary, Chaya, BoreyNo-one likes to lose a game, certainly against upstarts who've just arrived on the scene, but to lose the match in the circumstances we did today is gut-wrenching in the extreme. Phnom Penh Crown went down to their third defeat in just four games of the new Metfone C-League season this afternoon at the Olympic Stadium. Territory that is very foreign to them after losing just 1 league game last term, and only 2 the previous year. Boeung Ket Rubber Field, I've no idea who came up with that moniker, led by a goal at the break. The goal came on 13 minutes as Keo Sokngorn and Yob Romaton exchanged passes on the edge of the Crown box, leaving Romaton to sidestep Odion Obadin and whack his shot into the roof of the net from twelve yards. Crown recovered their composure and had Peng Bunchhay, their former keeper, scrambling a few times. First, Pheak Rady hit a 30 yard cross-shot that crept just a few inches over the bar and then Kouch Sokumpheak went close twice with looping headers that Bunchhay was happy to see go over. Just after the half hour, Sokngorn, another former Crown player, clipped the ball over Crown keeper Yok Ary only to see Sok Sovan clear his lines and Tieng Tiny threw his body in the way of Touch Sokheng's follow-up shot. Sokumpheak worked hard to create an opening a few minutes from the interval, holding off two challenges before sending his twenty-yard drive fizzing inches past the upright. A minute later, Sokheng watched in anguish as his fierce drive rebounded to safety off the cross-bar as Boeung Ket maintained their goal advantage going into the break.
Just 21 seconds into the restart and Crown had restored parity. Khim Borey's deft pass put Chan Chaya, back from the wilderness of a six-month AFC ban, goalside and his equally deft chip over the onrushing Bunchhay made it look like he'd never been away. Crown were back in the game. Moments later Boeung Ket held their breath as Sokheng got in front of Sok Sovan but watched in dismay as his header arrowed just wide. Yok Ary was in the right place to tip over a powerful drive from Romaton, before Emmanuel Frimpong blasted a poorly-cleared corner a foot wide of the target at the other end. Bunchhay was called upon to deny Khim Borey at the foot of the post after the Crown striker had fired in a fizzing half volley. As the end of the game approached, Ary used a strong hand to send a Friday Nwakuna volley over the cross-bar, but with two minutes remaining, the keeper's world caved in on him. Momoh Sumaila's low drive looked an easy take, but Ary fumbled and though he denied Sokngorn's follow-up attempt, he couldn't grasp the ball and Sin Dalin's challenge saw the ball squirm over the goal-line in slow motion. A minute later, Crown's woes were compounded as they went down to ten-men with Chan Dara's needless kick at an opponent getting a straight red from referee Thong Chankethya. The match official and his linesman were then at the center of controversy as a minute into time added on, an Odion Obadin shot was deflected by a defender into the path of Kouch Sokumpheak who neatly tucked the ball into the corner of the net. Crown's celebrations quickly died out as the linesman's flag went up and the officials cancelled out what would've been a worthy equalizer. That was it. Crown sank to their third defeat in four C-League matches and now face another tough game against the league leaders National Police on Wednesday at the Olympic Stadium (2pm).
Crown line-up: Ary, Rady, Sovan, Tiny, Obadin, Dara, Sothy (Suhana 71), Frimpong (H Pheng 83), Chaya (Tarley 79), Borey, Sokumpheak. Subs not used: Chamrouen, Vanthan, Seyha, Lika, Sophanal, Sovanna, S Pheng, Makara. Bookings: Chaya. Dismissals: Dara.