|PPCFC v Yeedzin. Back Row LtoR: Tiny, S Pheng, Obadin, Frimpong, Sovan, Ary. Front: Rady, Sothy, Suhana, Sokumpheak, Borey|
You wake up in the middle of the night, sweating and fretting about an upcoming football match but on the day everything goes swimmingly well and you ask yourself, what was all the fuss about. And that's how it turned out today, as Phnom Penh Crown virtually coasted, in the scorching sun, to a murderous 8-0 victory over the students from Bhutan, Yeedzin in the first Group B game of the AFC President's Cup qualifying round. Unaccustomed to playing in such heat and humidity, Yeedzin looked second best from the moment Yeshey Dorji wasted a great opportunity with just thirteen seconds on the clock. He blazed his shot well over and that was it. The home team completely dominated proceedings after that, with head coach David Booth's pre-match words of "make things happen" ringing in their ears. Even losing their find of the season, Emmanuel Frimpong, just over a minute into the game with a calf strain, didn't phase the Crown team with captain Kouch Sokumpheak playing like a man possessed throughout the first-half. It was the best all-action performance we've seen from Sokumpheak this season, bar none. With Chan Chaya unable to play, Ouk Sothy got the nod in midfield with Sok Pheng playing the lone striker role, ably supported by Sokumpheak and Khim Borey. The latter found space early on to play in two low crosses, the first was gathered by Yeedzin keeper Leki, the second allowed Sok Pheng to lay the ball into the path of Sokumpheak and Leki was again on hand to brilliantly tip over the captain's vicious strike from 20 yards. Less than a minute later, Sokumpheak was at it again as a corner landed at his feet, this time forcing Leki into a full-length diving save with another on-target drive. Next the Crown skipper turned provider and Sos Suhana was an inch or two from connecting to his slide-rule center across the six-yard box.
On 19 minutes, Sokumpheak started and finished a move that put Crown noses in front. His pass to Suhana allowed him to cut back inside and feed Sok Pheng, who did the same to set-up Sokumpheak and his pin-point drive into the corner gave Leki no chance from the edge of the penalty box. It was a lead Crown fully deserved. Sokumpheak and Pheng combined again with the skipper lashing a low shot against the foot of the upright and Borey blasted the rebound over an open goal. A minute later, the red-hot Sokumpheak sped past his marker and raced in on goal, only to find Leki in good form with his feet at the near post. Odion Obadin tried to get in on the act but blasted well over from a poorly-cleared corner. A simple passing move saw Pheak Rady swing over a well-directed cross that found Khim Borey in acres of space to head neatly into the corner of the net from twelve yards out and spark celebrations amongst his teammates on 26 minutes. Crown continued to press home their advantage as Sok Pheng broke clear but fired harmlessly wide, Borey dragged a left-foot swinger a yard past the far post, whilst Leki was called upon to block another Sokumpheak half-volley. Borey looked to have put the result beyond doubt just four minutes from the interval, when he latched onto Obadin's long ball over the top and neatly lobbed the ball over Leki's head to give Crown a three-goal advantage.
Pheak Rady was prominent on the right wing in Crown's first real probing attack of the second-half. His flashing center was an inch away from Suhana's right boot but fell to Sok Pheng and his goal-bound shot was deflected for a corner by Tshering Wangdi. Eight minutes after the interval and Ouk Sothy was on hand to register Crown's fourth goal. Borey touched in Sok Pheng and he weaved to the bye-line before pulling the ball back to Sothy lying in wait ten yards out and his left-foot shot found the net. A minute later, the same player was on his own goal-line, clearing the danger after Yeshey Dorji had deceived Ary. It was a brief flurry from Yeedzin, as Crown resumed control a minute after the hour-mark, with Sos Suhana getting his name on the scoresheet. Combining well with Sokumpheak, Suhana took a deft touch past the last defender and kept his cool to find the net with a neat finish. On 65 minutes, Sok Pheng's fierce drive was kept out by another Leki save only for Suhana to roll the ball to Borey and his 20-yard drilled effort found the net off the post. It was Borey's hat-trick goal and he was substituted to generous applause a few minutes later, but not before Sothy had leaned back and fired a shot well over the cross-bar.
Sub Hong Pheng's seventy-yard run from his own box slipped in Sok Pheng but his drilled drive was just off target. Sokumpheak was in on goal next but as he shaped to shoot, Thinley Rabten made a last-ditch tackle. In the 76th minute, Sok Pheng signed off by shimmying his way past three defenders and unleashing an unstoppable drive that gave Leki no chance from fifteen yards out. With Crown now running riot, Sokumpheak's low shot was blocked by Leki's legs, but his next effort, from the edge of the box with five minutes left on the clock, found Leki in the way again, but Hong Pheng followed up and lashed the ball inside the near post. That made it eight in Crown's favour and a really good day for the home side in their opening AFC President's Group B match.
Crown line-up v Yeedzin: Ary, Rady, Sovan, Tiny, Obadin, Sothy, Suhana, Frimpong (Dara 10), S Pheng (Makara 77), Borey (H Pheng 69), Sokumpheak. Subs not used: Chamrouen, Vanthan, Lika, Sophanal, Seyha, Sovanna. Bookings: Sothy.
|Kouch Sokumpheak leads out the Crown side|
|David Booth addressing his players before today's match in the dressing room|
|Important words before the starting line-up go for their warm-up|
|The last moments before the start of the match|
|It's half-time in the Crown dressing room|
|Yeedzin from Bhutan were soundly beaten 8-0 this afternoon|