Monday, September 24, 2012

Dordoi downed

The Dordoi (yellow) and Istiklol teams line-up
The Phnom Penh Crown squad travelled to the Central Stadium in Dushanbe this afternoon to watch the opening Group A match of the AFC President's Cup Final Stage between the home side, Istiklol (Tajikistan) and their next-door-neighbours, Dordoi from Kyrgyzstan. Both teams are highly-fancied with history and home advantage on their side respectively, though it was Istiklol, cheered on by 5,118 spectators, who won 2-0 and deservedly so. They could even afford to play the final 38 minutes with 10-men, it was that comfortable. Both teams had half chances before the crowd erupted on 39 minutes when Davronjon Ergashev rose unchallenged to head the home team into the lead. His prayer goal celebrations lasted a full minute. At the start of the 2nd half, Dordoi looked to get a lifeline back into the match. Istiklol's Sohib Savankulov was dismissed for handball on the goal-line and Azamat Baimatov waited for a full two minutes whilst the red-carded player trudged slowly to the dressing room. The wait unnerved him and a poorly struck spot-kick was easily saved by keeper Alisher Tuychiev. Spurred on, Istiklol netted a second goal 15 minutes after the break when full-back Makhmadali Sadykov raced down the right wing and his cross caught Dordoi keeper Pavel Matiash unawares and the ball found its way inside the near post, with the help of keeper's knee. Dordoi's long ball game hadn't worked - mainly as they were missing their top scorer Mirlan Murzaev - the home team's ten men were coping admirably with everything a tired-looking Dordoi had to offer and there was no way back for the two-times champions, who failed to change their game-plan when it mattered most. Dordoi must beat PPCFC on Wednesday to have any hope of making the final. The Crown squad had seen enough and headed back to their hotel for dinner at the final whistle. In the second match of the day at the same stadium, the opening Group B match between reigning champions Taiwan Power and Al Ammari Youth from Palestine ended all square at 1-1. Ahmed Keshkesh put the Palestine club ahead on 68 minutes with Yi-Wei Chen equalizing with three minutes to go. A crowd of 2,078 watched the game.
The Istiklol starting XI
The match is underway

Istiklol take the plaudits from the home crowd


Anonymous said...

Andy, did you hear anything about the new stadium they're going to build in Phnom Penh? I heard the building process starts on this Descember and it will cost $200 million USD.

Andy Brouwer said...

I saw what was written in the local press but never believe it until I see it with my own eyes. The city needs a top quality stadium as well as other facilities to move forward both in football terms and other sports, but I'm not convinced there is the determination to do that at this point in time. I really hope there is and my skepticism is unfounded. I would love to see something tangible starting in December.