Thursday, October 11, 2012

4 in 4

The Cambodian team line-up before the game begins
The Cambodian national team lost 3-0 to hosts Myanmar tonight in their final AFF Suzuki Cup tie, played in Yangon. As everyone pretty much expected after three successive defeats in their qualification group already this week. It's been a depressing last few days for Cambodian football fans, who had their fingers crossed that the national team would improve under the leadership of the country's all-time leading goalscorer, Hok Sochetra, but actually the form of the team is as bad as it was under the former head coach from South Korea. There's little noticeable difference, either in results or style of play, though we must give some credit to the team tonight, they held out for the opening half of the game and must've given the Burmese a few heart flutters at the break. But the writing was on the wall, it seemed only a matter of time before the Cambodian defence would crack and so it proved, a minute before the hour mark. Sochetra put the defeat down to tiredness. “It is very difficult match for us. It has not been easy for us because we had to play four games in seven days with our last game against a strong team who are playing at home. I thought that we played well in the first half and managed to keep the game scoreless. But they pushed hard in the second half and we made mistakes. But we had not much time for recovery for the last game so it was difficult for us. Myanmar were well rested and they are a very good team.”
Although the opening half was goal-less, Myanmar dominated the possession and chances. David Htan chipped onto the crossbar after 18 minutes, Kyaw Zayar Win side-footed wide when it seemed easier to score and the lively Kyi Lin toe-poked his shot the wrong side of the upright. Sos Suhana blazed Cambodia's only real attempt into orbit whilst Yan Aung Kyaw's glancing header missed the far post by inches. Myanmar were quicker, livelier, more direct but couldn't find the target. Just 18 seconds into the 2nd half and Khin Maung Lwin screwed his shot across the face of goal and then Kyi Lin sent his diving header wide of the target. Cambodia's beat chance of the game fell to Khim Borey on 54 minutes and the Crown striker was just inches away from giving his side the lead, when he glanced his header from Prak Mony Udom's free-kick wide of the far post. That was the last we saw of Cambodia as a serious attacking force. The rest of the game belonged to the hosts.
The opening goal came just before the hour. David Htan's right-wing cross was the perfect height for Kyi Lin to outjump Lay Raksmey and plant his header past Om Vichet, who was rooted to the spot. Six minutes later and substitute Kaung Sithu touched the ball over the line at the far post after a perfect first-time low cross from Zaw Min Tun. Cambodia had failed to clear their lines and it cost them dearly. Thein Than Win tested Vichet from 25 yards and then smacked a near post shot against the upright, whilst Vichet was rounded as he came charging out of his box, but Kyi Lin blazed high and wide. Vichet was quickly off his line to deny Sithu but was left clutching thin air, a minute into time added on, when Pyaye Phyo Aung's deadly accurate free-kick from 22 yards found the top corner sweet spot. It was unstoppable and Myanmar's third. Cambodia go home winless and pointless.
Cambodia line-up: Vichet, Raksmey, Pancharong, Piseth, Tiny, Sopanha (Veasna 74), Suhana, Sokngorn, PM Udom (Chhoeun 54), Borey, S Udom (Sothearath 62). Bookings: Piseth, Sothearath.


bianco said...

Andy, what ever happened to the plans of bringing Cambodians who are based in Europe? I believe its high time to make that move in order to raise the level of play in AFF.

Anonymous said...

Coach should be responsible for this disaster. If I were him, I will quit the position because I cannot humiliate my nation. The result reflects the coach's capacity as well. So, please step down, leave it for a good coach.

Anonymous said...

Hello Andy, I am a reader from Singapore and always enjoy your reports. 4 in 4... Before the tournament, did you expect this to come?

Andy Brouwer said...

Before the competition, I thought Cambodia would fail but I really expected them to show better against Timor and Brunei. I didn't expect Timor to be so strong against us, but I also didn't expect us to be so weak, especially in midfield and attack.
Were there any plus points? No, I don't think there were. I was not impressed by Keo Sokngorn as others seem to have been, in fact only the keepers came out of it with credit, but only because they were called into action so often. Too many players were too anonymous for too long. We were beaten by all 4 teams relatively easily and it certainly looks as though we have stood still, whilst the other nations continue to show progress.
I'm not convinced Hok Sochetra is the man to reverse that trend. I would advocate a foreign coach who can shake the whole set-up and start us on a course of betterment, with a long term plan in mind. But Sochetra is the man chosen by the FFC to lead the team, so lets see what his plans are after this 4-game Suzuki Cup disaster. Make no mistake, it showed us where we are and where we need to get to, so Sochetra will have lots of food for thought. I hope the local press will give him sufficient column inches to explain his plans for Cambodia's future.