|PPCFC Line-up v Senate. Back Row LtoR: Pheng, Srin, Suhana, Dary, Rady, Seyha. Front: Borey, Makara, Seiha, Hasan, Da. Click to enlarge|
The selection of assistant coach Bouy Dary in a deep-lying central midfield role was the surprise decision of Phnom Penh Crown head coach Sam Schweingruber for this afternoon's practice match against the Senate Secretariat at the RSN Stadium. Schweingruber was looking for his assistant to be his enforcer on the field and it turned out to be a gentle re-introduction for the former Royal Navy and national teamer as Crown ran out comfortable 9-2 victors over the C-League's new faces. Bin Thierry and Chea Dara sat out the game through injury, with long-term absentee Kouch Sokumpheak, also watching on. It was pretty much one-way traffic from the beginning with Khim Borey heading in, but flagged offside and then Leng Makara volleying one across the face of goal. On 13 minutes Sos Suhana opened the floodgates, released by Borey and guiding the ball past the onrushing goalkeeper. Four minutes later and Borey himself burst between two defenders and smashed his drive powerfully in from fifteen yards. Twenty-one minutes gone and Borey played a neat one-two with Hong Pheng, allowing the latter to find the net with a simple finish. Just after the hour the Senate team scored with their first real attack but were quickly thwarted by a second goal for Pheng, on 35 minutes, after Makara had eluded two tackles and rolled the ball into the young striker's path. His hat-trick, courtesy of quick feet from Suhana and then Borey, was another simple finish four minutes before the break.
Crown quickened up the pace for the second half and went looking for goals. Mart Hasan was denied by keeper Mak Theara, and then blazed over, as did rampaging full-back Thourng Da. On 63 minutes, Hasan got to the bye-line, and his low cross was tucked in smartly from an acute angle by Suhana. Three minutes later, it was Men Seyha's turn to tee up Suhana, and the national teamer powered a shot into the roof of the net from fifteen yards out for his hat-trick. Pheng and Seyha both went close, the former leaning back and firing over from six yards, while Seyha rode three tackles but toe-poked his effort perilously close. A fourth goal for Suhana arrived on 72 minutes after Pheng's initial shot had rebounded off the cross-bar and Makara laid the ball into the path of the attacking midfielder, who made no mistake from ten yards. Kok Boris replaced Bouy Dary before play restarted and within thirty seconds had powered his way into the box, only to send his shot a foot wide. Pheng was also looking to add to his tally, but his thrust into the box saw his strike smash against the cross-bar. Thourng Da's ankle-tap allowed Senate to score from the penalty spot but it was scant consolation for the visitors. A Boris header should've counted but the linesman failed to spot the ball had crossed the line before Theara clawed it back into play. Finally, Pheng netted his fourth, with five minutes to go, sending his drive into the top corner after a neat exchange with Kouch Dani. There was still time for Hasan to sting Theara's hands with another powerful effort. Game over and a comfortable win for Crown with Dary doing well enough to suggest an extra option in the head coach's plans for the new season. The game was the final time for Fritz Schmid to aid Schweingruber and his squad, with his two weeks of mentoring and advising coming to an end. The Austrian No 2 has enjoyed his time with the Crown team and given them much food for thought.
PPCFC line-up: Seiha, Da, Seyha (Dani 80), Srin (Lika 86), Rady, Dary (Boris 72), Hasan, Suhana, Makara, Pheng, Borey (Sothy 72). Subs not used: Ary, Chamrouen, Phearun, Pisa, Morslim, Sochetra, Kano. Bookings: None.
|Happy slappy time prior to kick-off|
|Head coach Sam Schweingruber receives advice from Fritz Schmid (red)|