|PPCFC line-up. Back LtoR: Frimpong, Dara, Seiha, Rady, Obadin, H Pheng. Front: Chaya, Njoku, Makara, Seyha, Sovan. Click to enlarge|
With the venue for this afternoon's practice match changing by the hour, a thunderstorm before the start left the Olympic Stadium pitch slippery and wet, with four Phnom Penh Crown players in the Cambodia national team squad facing their own teammates, though Tieng Tiny was sidelined with an ankle injury, leaving Khim Borey and Sos Suhana as starters and Sok Pheng on the bench. For Crown, Men Seyha came in at full-back, Leng Makara wide right and Emmanuel Frimpong in central midfield. Referee Thong Chankethya, who would become a central figure in the game's proceedings, didn't like Kingsley Njoku's complaints and flashed his yellow card just seven minutes after the start. A few minutes later and Frimpong made his intentions clear with a 30-yard free-kick that skidded inches wide of the upright. On 13 minutes Chhin Chhoeun unleashed a thunderbolt from outside the area which Samrith Seiha in the Crown goal got a hand to and turned it onto the crossbar. Pheak Rady then popped up in an offensive position and sent a long range shot fizzing wide of Um Vichet's far post. Moments later Tum Saray found space in the opposing box and brought out another super save from Seiha.
A poor first touch by Sok Sovan forced Odion Obadin to rescue his teammate's blushes by holding back Saray, which earned him a yellow card. Khim Borey also picked up a caution, when he took a dive under Seiha's lunge. On the half-hour Njoku created space but was off target with his drive. The Nigerian hit-man should've done better on 37 minutes when Frimpong's shot was deflected to his feet with the only the keeper to beat, but Vichet was big enough to keep out his hurried effort. Crown stepped up the pace and Frimpong's ferocious free-kick stung the fingertips of the young Army keeper, who did exceptionally well to turn it around the post. From Chan Chaya's corner, Obadin sent his deft header inches past the far post. With his next touch, Obadin was collared by the referee for a high foot that sent Saray sprawling and Chankethya decided it merited a yellow card, quickly followed by a red card for the Nigerian defender. With four minutes of the first half remaining, Crown were down to ten men and replaced Njoku with another defender, Vi Lika just before the half-time whistle.
With their ranks reduced, Crown went for containment after the break but fell to a sucker punch just five minutes into the second period. A free-kick from Khieu Vibol on the right flank, bounced low, evading Samrith Seiha's dive and skidded into the net. With two players standing offside in front of the keeper, the linesman correctly flagged but Chankethya ignored his assistant and Crown's claims, awarding the goal. That decision incensed Seiha who stormed off the pitch, quickly followed by his teammates. Chankethya shrugged his shoulders and left the field and it took another five minutes before Crown's players reappeared and the game resumed. Both teams made numerous substitutions as goal chances were few, with a Borey toe-poke held by Seiha and Vichet palming aside a Hong Pheng acute-angled drive, with Chim Rathanak heading a corner wide at the far post. Yok Ary replaced Seiha and was smartly down to a Sok Pheng effort and then touched wide a long range shot from Pov Phearith. Late on, Frimpong's 25-yard free-kick saw the ball stick to Vichet's gloves in a muddy goalmouth and that was the last chance of the game, with the Cambodian national team running out unconvincing winners.
PPCFC line-up v Cambodia: Seiha (Ary 75), Rady (Srin 83), Seyha (Vanthan 75), Sovan, Obadin, Dara, Frimpong, Makara (Rathanak 66), Chaya (Sovanna 66), H Pheng, Njoku (Lika 45). Subs not used: Chamroeun, Da, Sophanal, Asonibe, Sothy. Bookings: Njoku, Obadin (+ red card).
Cambodia line-up: Vichet, Pancharong, Vibol (Raksmey 72), Khemarin, Thavrak, Sothearath (Phearith 72), Sophana (Veasna 72), Chhoeun (S Pheng 64), Saray (Vathanak 64 (Chum 85)), Suhana, Borey. Booked: Borey, Phearith.
|Cambodia line-up. Back LtoR: Vibol, Borey, Vichet, Sopanha, Thavrak. Front: Khemarin, Suhana, Pancharong, Chhoeun, Sothearath, Saray|