Thursday, September 13, 2012

1st half drubbing

PPCFC starting line-up. Back LtoR: Dara, Rady, Obadin, Frimpong, S Pheng, Tiny. Front: Sovan, Suhana, Seiha, Chaya, Borey
They arrived with the best intentions, suffered a severe setback when their promised match against the Cambodian national team failed to materialize and then suffered a first-half drubbing in today's friendly match at Olympic Stadium. I'm talking about the Khmer-Europe XI, who found Phnom Penh Crown's AFC President's Cup line-up simply too hot to handle, going down 5-1, which was the score at the half-time interval. With the country's head coach Hok Sochetra in the stands watching for potential fresh talent amongst the tourists, it was a trio of his current national team squad that did the damage in the opening 45 minutes, with Sos Suhana grabbing a hat-trick and Khim Borey and Sok Pheng also getting themselves on the scoresheet. Crown packed nine national team players, current and former, into their starting XI, with African imports Frimpong and Obadin taking up the other two slots. It was their strongest possible line-up and it showed as the first half progressed with some slick one-touch passing carving open the visiting defence almost at will. But it was the Khmer-Euro team that started the game with a bang. With just a minute on the clock, Thierry Bin unleashed a powerful drive which Crown stopper Samrith Seiha stretched to push onto the crossbar. Twenty seconds later the PPC keeper had to be alert to tip Jacky Chandi's volley over the top. Within a minute Sos Suhana smacked a low drive against the foot of the upright, Sok Pheng headed a corner inches wide and on five minutes, Suhana edged Crown in front. Khim Borey's flighted through ball found Suhana in acres of space and he raced on to finish coolly. Moments before Crown scored their second, Stephane Pen robbed Odion Obadin but Seiha's feet came to the rescue. On ten minutes Borey made it two-nil as he held off a defender when sprinting onto Sok Sovan's fifty-yard rangefinder and neatly clipped his shot wide of Makara Tea in the visitors goal.
With Crown making all the running and finding the gaps widening in the Khmer-Euro backline, Borey had two more opportunities, the first saved by Tea, the second slipping a foot wide, while he turned provided for Emmanuel Frimpong, only for the Ghanaian to head agonisingly wide. Two minutes after the half hour and Crown went further ahead. Sok Pheng turned the last defender as he moved onto Tieng Tiny's pass, raced towards goal before unselfishly rolling the ball to Suhana, who took a touch to set himself and slotted in his second of the game. The visitors made three quick personnel changes but it was Borey who missed badly from nine yards after Frimpong's pass split the defence. In a rare break, Seiha kept out Sovythang Am's far post header before Sok Pheng netted Crown's 4th goal. A minute of regulation time remaining, Pheng passed to Suhana but his shot was blocked by Tea, only for the ball to be rolled into Pheng's path and he sidefooted his strike into the top corner from fifteen yards out. On the stroke of half-time, French-Khmer Thierry Bin took advantage of a cheaply-awarded free-kick 22 yards out to show his dead-ball talent, curling a beauty over the wall and into the top corner, giving Seiha no chance. In the second minute of additional time, Suhana claimed his hat-trick goal, lifting the ball high into the net from the edge of the box, just seconds after Chan Chaya had a great chance saved by the busy Tea. It was an entertaining first-half for an audience reduced by police operations outside the stadium.
Crown made six changes at half-time and the game suffered as a result. Though head coach David Booth was happy that his team didn't concede, the contest was a lot closer after the break and sub keeper Yok Ary used his feet to keep out an early chance for Am, after the striker had outpaced Vi Lika. Ten minutes into the second half and Suhana stung the hands of Tea with a vicious drive which the keeper did well to stop. On the hour, Tea again saved the day, blocking Suhana's attempt with his feet, while Ary denied a free header by Am with a Gordon Banks-like goal-line save. The final action should've seen Suhana, a constant threat, add to his tally after Borey had raced from his own half with the ball and slid it to his teammate, but his shot was somehow blocked and the second period ended goal-less, and a moral 2nd-half face-saver for the Khmer-European team against the reigning Cambodian champions.
PPCFC line-up: Seiha (Ary 46), Rady (Vanthan 46), Sovan, Tiny capt (Seyha 80), Obadin (Lika 46), Dara, Frimpong (Sothy 46), Chaya (Makara 46), Borey, Suhana, Sok Pheng (Sovanna 46). Sub not used: Chamroeun. Bookings: Tiny, Sothy. Referee: Chuop Visal.
Coach David Booth makes his point

Pre-match instructions from the coach to his starting XI

Captains Tieng Tiny (left) and Makara Tea

The Khmer-Europe XI line-up

No comments: