|PPCFC Line-up tonight: Back LtoR: Dara, Rady, Frimpong, H Pheng, Lika, Borey. Front: Sovan, Makara, Seiha, Suhana, Tiny - click to enlarge|
Coach David Booth was scathing in his assessment of his team's 8-0 capitulation in tonight's AFC President's Cup disaster, as his Phnom Penh Crown side were sunk without trace by a rampant Dordoi team from Kyrgyzstan, here in Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan. In his after-match press conference, the passionate English coach cut a very unhappy figure. "We suffered from two headers, two goals in the first few minutes, so it was always downhill from there. But the players gave up, no excuses, I can't defend them, I can't say we played any good football, I can't say anything positive about the game; except we made a lot of mistakes and gave them a lot of goals. Not one positive except the goalkeeper [Seiha] who worked hard, the rest of the team just gave up, I've never seen that before. We've had our problems this year at the club and I think it showed here today. It's impossible for me to sit here and try to defend that game. I apologize but there's not any positives I can say. The players don't care, they didn't show any commitment whatsoever to win that game. It was just a disgraceful performance."
"If you analyze the goals that they scored, you can see a mistake in every one of them, except the free-kick, which was a fantastic goal. Apart from that, every other one was a mistake by our team.At least five gifts - misplaced back-passes straight to their feet, scuffs straight to them, two free headers in the first seven minutes, after we worked on this for the last two weeks. They were all gifts except for the free-kick. We've got one more game, we can't do any worse than that. The next game is my last game, as my contract expires in October. At the moment I will be happy to go. I have a couple of options to consider. I'll take a holiday to see my family and then decide where to go. These players don't care, they don't care one jot. They don't care whether they win, lose or draw, whether its 8, 9 or 10, they don't care. They're quite happy in the dressing room. I'm sorry for tonight I apologize for spoiling a good game."
Crown's pre-match aim was to get a positive result through hard work and youthful zest. Needing a win to retain a chance of qualification, two-time winners Dordoi began like a runaway train and were two goals to the good within eight minutes of the kick-off. Booth's pre-match warnings to stop crosses went unheeded as Azamat Baimatov rose above Pheak Rady to head in the first after five minutes, with Ghanaian David Tetteh stooping to head a second three minutes later after Samrith Seiha had pushed aside Baimatov's 25-yard drive. Crown's best spell saw Sos Suhana squeeze a pass through to Khim Borey but the striker screwed his shot across the face of goal and wide on 13 minutes. A few minutes later and Adyl Bekbolotov escaped censure by referee Fahad Almirdasi when he pulled back Hong Pheng on the edge of the box as the striker got goal-side of him. Despite being the last man, the referee saw it differently. Emmanuel Frimnpong's free-kick struck the defensive wall. On 19 minutes Samrith Seiha pulled off the first of several outstanding saves to deny Maka Koum, before Pheak Rady and then Maka Koum were both cautioned for kicking one another. Koum's yellow card could easily have been a red one as he took retribution on the Crown full-back. As the half progressed, Seiha was again called upon to turn aside a twenty-yard effort from Tetteh and then miraculously pushed a close-range fierce drive from Baimatov onto the cross-bar, but at the cost of an injured wrist. Chan Chaya replaced a struggling Leng Makara just before Seiha went down quickly at the foot of the post to deny another Baimatov strike on goal. Crown were pleased to hear the half-time whistle.
If they thought half-time would bring some relief, Crown were sadly mistaken as Dordoi came out with guns blazing. It took them another twelve minutes before they found the net again, after Seiha had thwarted efforts from Tetteh and Baimatov, whilst the latter also sent a rasping thirty-yard drive inches wide. On 57 minutes a wayward Chan Dara back-pass found Ruslan Sydykov in space and he laid the ball off to Valerii Kichin who rifled the ball in from ten yards out. Seiha was the busiest man on the pitch and he denied Islam Shamshiev but had no chance when Dordoi's Brazilian substitute Anderson de Souza, aka Dan Juan, was standing five yards offside to tuck in their fourth goal on 63 minutes. With freedom to roam, Baimatov was causing all sorts of problems for Crown but it was his free-kick prowess on 72 minutes that drew applause from the 2,132 audience. He let rip from fully thirty yards out and his thunderbolt sailed into the top corner with Seiha unable to reach it. Three minutes later, Rady's poor clearance fell at the feet of Shamshiev and he rifled in from twenty yards out for their sixth goal. Nothing was seen of Crown as an attacking force, with all the action at the other end including a jinking run by Dan Juan that bamboozled three Crown defenders but not Seiha, who saved well. With seven minutes remaining, Dordoi claimed their seventh as Nurkal Sataev dispatched a pull-back from Shamshiev, whilst Baimatov deservedly claimed his hat-trick in the final minute, as he headed home from Kichin's long free-kick.
It was a night to forget for Crown's youthful line-up, with Vi Lika drafted in to replace Odion Obadin, who had earlier been refused entry into China and returned home, while Leng Makara and Hong Pheng were given wide duties and Khim Borey restored to a solo striking role. Samrith Seiha was the only player to emerge with real credit from the game, though a wrist injury must make him a doubt for Friday's match against the home team Istiklol, who need just a point to reach the cup final. Sok Sovan and Soeng Vanthan were kept back after the final whistle to undergo dope testing whilst Seiha was interviewed by Tajikistan television and David Booth made his appearance at the press conference.
PPCFC Line-up: Seiha, Rady, Sovan, Lika, Tiny, Dara, Frimpong, Makara (Chaya 42), H Pheng (S Pheng 71), Suhana, Borey. Subs not used: Ary, Vanthan, Sothy, Sovanna. Bookings: Rady, Frimpong, Chaya.
|Crown head coach David Booth at his after-match press conference|