Saturday, July 21, 2012

Crown too hot to handle

PPCFC Line-up v Chhlam Samuth. Back Row LtoR: Obadin, Sovan, Njoku, Seiha, Dara, Tiny. Front: Sovanna, Rady, H Pheng, Chaya, Borey

Even with a team devoid of the injured Kouch Sokumpheak and two of their foreign midfield imports, Phnom Penh Crown were far too strong for lowly Chhlam Samuth, notching up a 5-1 win in the knowledge they must win their final five matches to give themselves any chance of making the end of season play-offs in the Metfone C-League. With Emmanuel Frimpong and Henry Asonibe out through suspension, the central midfield roles went to Chan Dara and Chhun Sovanna with Sok Sovan returning at left-back and the recalled Kingsley Njoku partnering Hong Pheng in attack. Tieng Tiny had headed over and Khim Borey had a shot pushed aside before Crown eased into the lead after just nine minutes, as Kingsley Njoku had all the time in the world to head in Borey's corner kick. A couple of minutes later and it looked odds on for Njoku to head a second from Dara's center but Chhlam Samuth's goalkeeper Phon Udom made a flying save to deny him. On 19 minutes and with their first attack, the relegation-threatened Sea Sharks equalised, catching Crown unprepared for Bisan George's center and Sam Minar's accurate volley. Referee Chuop Visal then took centre-stage with a rash of bookings for what appeared harmless challenges by Sovanna, Tiny and Odion Obadin that could prove costly in Crown's remaining matches. Borey was prepared to try his luck on a few occasions and a 25-yarder saw Udom scrambling across his goal to palm the shot aside. The goalkeeper was left exposed by his errant defence with four minutes of the half remaining as Chan Chaya skated to the bye-line and set up Njoku for an easy tap-in. Two minutes later and Crown strengthened their grip on the match with a third goal. Sok Sovan ventured forward and saw his drive rebound off the crossbar, only for Njoku to lay the ball into Hong Pheng's path, and though Udom saved his toe-poke shot, Borey was on hand to sidefoot the ball into an empty net.

Obadin missed the target at the start of the second half after a Borey corner had fallen to him at the far post. Almost a spectator, Samrith Seiha left his line quickly to snuff out the danger when Ros Samoeun broke clear. On 62 minutes, Crown extended their lead when Borey's cross found Njoku in space, the striker swivelled on a sixpence and his aim was true as the ball nestled in the corner and the Nigerian hitman celebrated his hat-trick goal. A minute later he was replaced as Crown boss David Booth looked to freshen up his line-up. Bisan George threatened twice but found Seiha a tough nut to crack with the goalkeeper defying the bulky striker who had a quiet game by his standards. Tiny headed over the top, again and sub Leng Makara stung the fingertips of Udom with a low drive from the edge of the box. With nine minutes of the game left, Borey scored his second and Crown's fifth. Sos Suhana was a livewire on his introduction and his square pass to Sok Pheng, who let the ball run to Borey, was duly buried in the opposition net by the striker recently recalled to the national team set-up. Two more chances fell to Suhana but Udom caught the first from point-blank range and did enough to close down the second after the striker raced through. In time added on, Crown twice struck the woodwork. Obadin chested Borey's corner against the upright and then Sok Pheng rolled his tame effort against the same post after more good work from Suhana. A comprehensive success for Crown, who will be happy with the 5-1 victory but will need more in their remaining games to keep their slim hopes of a play-off place alive.
PPCFC line-up: Seiha, Rady, Sovan, Tiny, Obadin, Dara, Sovanna, Borey, Chaya (Makara 75), H Pheng (Suhana 64), Njoku (S Pheng 64). Subs not used: Ary, Da, Vanthan, Lika, Srin, Sophanal, Sothy, Rathanak. Bookings: Sovanna, Tiny, Obadin.
Listening to the coach David Booth before the start

Odion Obadin (12) looking like he means business

The Chhlam Samuth line-up today

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