Saturday, January 12, 2013

Crown underway in CPL

PPCFC v BBU. Back LtoR: Seyha, Srin, Thierry, Boris, Pheng, Lika. Front: Makara, Suhana, Seiha, Dani, Borey - click to enlarge
Head coach Sam Schweingruber opened up his Metfone C-League campaign with a first game against Build Bright and a first win. Phnom Penh Crown began their 2013 CPL season with a 2-1 victory over BBU at the Army Stadium this afternoon. Crown skipper Khim Borey led from the front, scoring both Crown goals in the 1st half, with Phlong Chanthou grabbing the BBU response. Schweingruber had praise for his captain. "In particular, Borey had an outstanding game, not just because he scored two goals, his contribution in holding up the ball, slowing the game down, bringing in other players was a very big importance for us today." Crown kicked-off their league campaign and settled in quickly with Bin Thierry taking aim from 25-yards out with a free-kick that struck the wall, after Kok Boris was felled as he ran through. The opening goal arrived on 14 minutes when Crown keeper Samrith Seiha sent a drop-kick deep into BBU territory and as it bounced, Rim Bunhieng attempted to nod it back to his keeper but failed to see the lurking Khim Borey, who touched the ball over the BBU stopper, Sos Proshim, and into the gaping net. BBU responded quickly and were level within two minutes. Crown conceded a needless free-kick 20-yards from goal and Chhun Sothearath's well-aimed delivery was headed in by new signing Phlong Chanthou, who outjumped Vi Lika eight yards out. Men Seyha ventured forward on the left flank and delivered a telling cross into the six yard box which Bunhieng cleared after his keeper missed the center and moments later, Crown grabbed their second goal of the match. With 25 minutes on the clock, Kouch Dani beat his man with a touch of his trademark trickery and fed Borey, who sped away from his marker, rounded the rushing Proshim and rolled in his second goal. Play ebbed and flowed after that with neither team creating chances until a minute of the first-half to go, when Seiha dropped a high cross and was relieved to collect Chanthou's snap shot from the edge of the box.

BBU's Bunhieng headed a free-kick straight at Seiha as the 2nd half got underway, with BBU pressing and Crown drawing back into a more defensive mode. Schweingruber brought on fresh legs in the shape of Mart Hasan and Ouk Sothy with Crown finding the going tough just 48 hours after their Hun Sen Cup tie, as BBU's Rum Rany leaned back and fired well over from the edge of the area. Hasan's aim was off with a fifteen yard drive after Sos Suhana had set up his teammate with a smart lay-off. A minute late, Rany was again off target after he cut inside and let loose with his drive. Crown brought on assistant coach Bouy Dary for his first CPL game in six years, using his experience and nous to help close the game out. In the closing stages, Borey looked lively as he cut inside and screwed a shot past the near post and with two minutes to go, failed by a whisker to get on the end of Suhana's low cross as Proshim came out bravely to deny him. For Schweingruber, the result was all-important. "The two halves were completely different but for good reasons. We played 2 days ago, whilst BBU last played 10 days ago - that's a completely different story. I could see my players expressions change after 40 minutes. They were all tired at the break. If we had tried to play our usual game in the 2nd half, we would've run into counter-attacks and been outclassed by their energy. In the end we made the right decision to stay back and rely on our own counter-attacks. And they never really got close except from free-kicks, where we looked a little vulnerable - we clearly have some work to do. In the 1st half we looked good at times, we looked sharp and we had improved from the previous game, especially our ball retention. We stuck to our game plan and the players did well to translate that onto the field today."
PPCFC v BBU: Seiha, Dani, Seyha, Srin, Lika, Boris (Sothy 67), Thierry, Suhana, Pheng (Hasan 55), Makara (Dary 81), Borey. Subs not used: Ary, Chamrouen, Da, Dara, Phearun, Kano, Pisa, Morslim. Bookings: Makara, Thierry. MOTM: Borey.

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