|The Phnom Penh Crown trio who started for Cambodia tonight. LtoR Tieng Tiny, Sos Suhana, Khim Borey|
With a five-man midfield and Khim Borey playing in a withdrawn lone striker role, Cambodia began cautiously, inviting the opposition to break them down. Phil Younghusband shouldn't done exactly that on 13 minutes when Om Thavrak missed his clearing header and the former Chelsea-man fluffed his chance from fifteen yards out. Ten minutes later Jason Sabio headed powerfully against the crossbar from a corner but that was pretty much it as far as the Philippines had to offer in the first-half. With Cambodia relying on the counter-attack, Borey sent a slide-rule pass through to Sos Suhana on the half-hour but he was tackled as he was about to pull the trigger. Borey was booked for handball from the resulting corner. And that was it for obvious opportunities in the opening 45 minutes.
Three minutes on from the restart and Suhana repaid the compliment, sending Borey clear of the last defender but his hurried left-foot swinger went straight to keeper Neil Etheridge, a 1st-team squad regular with BPL team Fulham. On the hour, Etheridge boobed badly with a miss-kick but Suhana didn't react quickly enough and the goalkeeper recovered. Both teams made a series of substitutions but it was Cambodia's Sou Yaty who was the busiest goalkeeper, keeping out a couple of efforts and fisting away some high crosses. Pouring rain spoilt the spectacle for both players and fans for the final quarter and the last chance of note went to Philippines, when Patrick Reichelt evaded three defensive lunges but held his head as his low drive rebounded off the foot of the post to safety, with just two minutes to go.
I think Hok Sochetra will be pleased that his charges kept a clean sheet in his first game. If you don't concede, you don't lose. With Sou Yaty in good form and determined to punch any cross that came his way, the old guard of Thavrak and Tieng Tiny marshalled the center of defence and negated the threat posed by the Younghusband brothers. With five packing midfield, that left Borey with a tough solo job to do up front and he found it hard to hold onto the ball against a strong Philippines back-four. Sochetra will need to be more adventurous if he expects to progress through the qualifying games next month, but a goal-less draw with the fancied Philippines is a good start.
Cambodia line-up: Yaty, Pancharong, Vibol (S Pheng 94), Thavrak (Piseth 82), Tiny, Sothearath, Sopanha (S Udom 94), Suhana (Khemarin 94 ), Sokngorn (Saray 71), PM Udom (Vathanak 65), Borey (Chhoeun 84). Subs not used: Ratana, Vichet, Raksmey, Chum, Phearith, Veasna, Sothearoth. Bookings: Borey, Tiny.
|The starting line-up for Cambodia. Back LtoR: PM Udom, Thavrak, Yaty, Sokngorn, Tiny, Sopanha (capt). Front: Vibol, Sothearath, Suhana, Pancharong, Borey. Click to enlarge.|