|PPCFC line-up: Back LtoR: Seyha, Srin, Pheng, Seiha, Rady, Hasan. Front: Sothy, Suhana, Da, Makara, Borey|
The Hun Sen Cup final sixteen group competition kicked-off for Phnom Penh Crown this afternoon at the Army Stadium. A comfortable 5-0 win over local team Porsenchey was the outcome, in their Group D clash, with the result never in doubt once Crown converted their superiority into goals. Coach Sam Schweingruber left his three French imports on the bench for the opening game of the season, giving the captain's armband to his main striker Khim Borey. And it was the Crown skipper who was in the thick of most of the action in the early stages. After just a minute his chip set up Leng Makara but he blasted over the crossbar. On 21 minutes, Borey's flick gave Sos Suhana a chance but it was quickly snuffed out by the keeper. From the corner, Makara headed over the top. Just after the half-hour mark, Borey chested the ball into Suhana's path, but his daisy-cutter shot was palmed away. Borey then tried his luck from 30-yards but didn't have enough power to outwit the keeper. With four minutes of the first half to go, Porsenchey's only real opening came their way after Ngoy Srin dwelt too long on the ball, but he made amends with a good block in the six-yard box to snuff out the danger. At the other end, Ouk Sothy's pass to Hong Pheng saw the striker cut inside and his drive was pushed aside for a corner. With 42 minutes on the clock, Crown grabbed the lead when Makara laid the ball into the path of Mart Hasan and his first-time shot went under the dive of keeper Kul Samnang and nestled in the far corner. A crucial time to score just before the interval.
Crown stepped up their possession and offensive play after the break and made Porsenchey suffer in the afternoon sun. Hong Pheng doubled the lead six minutes into the 2nd half. A foul on Hasan gave Borey the chance to swing in a 25-yard free kick to the near post and Pheng was on hand to divert the ball into the net with his outstretched foot. Three minutes later and Hok Sotitya headed over from close in with Porsenchey's only chance of the second period after Samrith Seiha had fluffed his clearance. Hasan was looking for his second goal, sending a 25-yard effort just over. On 65 minutes, his efforts were rewarded as Sothy poked Borey into space, his rolled cross was missed by Pheng in front of goal but Hasan followed up for an easy tap-in. Borey, the Crown skipper, continued his quest for a goal, sending two drives from outside the box wide of the target. Suhana blazed over the top from six yards out with the miss of the match before Borey finally grabbed his deserved goal on 77 minutes. Crown's two French-Khmer substitutes, Kouch Dani and Kok Boris, introduced six minutes earlier, worked a neat one-two that gave Borey all the time he required to smash his effort home from eight yards out. Easily the best goal of the game. Two minutes later and the national team striker was celebrating again. His delicate pass sent Pheng in on goal and though his shot was blocked by Samnang, Borey followed up and was on hand to fire the loose ball into the roof of the net. There was still time for a Borey curler to be palmed away by Samnang but the game was over and Crown earned themselves a comfortable opening day success.
Coach Schweingruber gave this assessment at the final whistle. "We controlled the first twenty minutes but then our midfield possession and pressing wasn't good enough and we didn't look in control as we did in the opening stages. We got an important goal right before half-time. In the second-half we were physically much stronger, able to completely dominate and take them apart, so a good first win, happy with a lot of things, and lots of things we need to improve."
PPCFC line-up v Porsenchey: Seiha, Da, Seyha, Rady, Srin, Sothy, Hasan (Boris 71), Suhana, Makara (Dani 71), Pheng (Pisa 82), Borey. Subs not used: Ary, Chamrouen, Dara, Lika, Phearun, Morslim, Thierry. Bookings: None.
|Half-time rest and team-talk|
|Crown lining up before the game|
|The two captains shake hands|
|The Porsenchey starting line-up|