Saturday, January 19, 2013

Frustration rules

PPCFC v Nat Police. Back LtoR: Pheng, Boris, Thierry, Srin, Hasan, Borey. Front. Suhana, Sothy, Dani, Seiha, Da - click to enlarge
Phnom Penh Crown head coach Sam Schweingruber was a frustrated man at the end of his team's 1-1 draw wit National Police at the Army Stadium this afternoon. He couldn't hide it. "For 40 minutes of the 1st half we were in charge and dominating. We should have won this game quite comfortably. But it didn't go our way. Then 2 or 3 players were asleep and after 36 seconds (of the 2nd half) we were 1-zero down. But when we equalised I thought we would still go onto win with our quality and energy. They were tired and were wasting time, but it just didn't happen. It's frustrating." Unable to field his two latest foreign acquisitions and with another 4 players on the sick-list, Schweingruber will have been pleased with much of his team's approach to the first-half against an opposition that finished 4th last term. On twelve minutes a diving Khim Borey header from a Sos Suhana cross fizzed just wide of the upright and signalled Crown's attacking intent for the rest of the half. A few minutes later and Borey opened up the Police defence on the left wing but Hong Pheng failed to get a decisive touch inside the six yard box to the inch-perfect center. Bin Thierry curled a free-kick into the side netting and a minute before the half-hour Borey was again in the thick of the action. Ouk Sothy released his skipper on the left and his arrowed cross was somehow turned over his own cross-bar by Sob Ravy when an own-goal looked more likely. Forty seconds later and a training ground move nearly paid dividends. Thierry's corner-kick found Suhana on the edge of the box but his first-time drive through a forest of legs found Police's Japanese keeper Yasuyuki Yoshida in the right place and he saved on his line. A couple of minutes later and whirlwind Borey robbed Ravy of the ball twenty yards out but his ferocious drive was a few feet too high. On 37 minutes, Borey's one-two with Pheng put the young striker in on goal but Yoshida got a hand to his angled shot and deflected the danger for a corner. Soon after, tricky work from Kouch Dani allowed Pheng to feed Suhana but his drive from the edge of the box went straight into the keeper's arms. A booking for Dani ended a frustrating half for Crown who couldn't turn their superiority into reward.

With Crown still rubbing the sleep from their eyes, a quick break on the left allowed Takahito Ota in behind the defence and his pull-back from the bye-line was finished off by an all-alone Noun Borey. It was a kick in the teeth for Crown, just 36 seconds into the 2nd half. Crown stopper Samrith Seiha needed to be at his alert best on the hour to deny Police a second when Srey Udom escaped his marker only to find the keeper in the right place to save his point-blank strike. A minute later and Suhana set up Borey at the other end but he screwed his shot across the face of goal and wide. Dani then fired a 25-yard drive straight at Yoshida before Crown grabbed the equaliser their efforts deserved. On 63 minutes, Pheng won the ball and fed substitute Leng Makara who cut inside and passed to Borey, and he neatly set up Suhana for an accurate low drive from the edge of the box that nestled in the corner of the net. All-square at 1-1. However, the expected pressure for the winner from Crown never really materialized as Police used their spoiling tactics to kill time. A Sothy effort went straight to Yoshida and then with five minutes remaining, Borey raced onto a loose ball and a goal looked a certainty. The last touch from Say Piseth's header as he collided with his keeper presented Borey with the ball but he was too wide for a first-time finish and as he shaped to shoot his effort was blocked and the chance gone. It was definitely not Khim Borey's day. In the third minute of time added on, Police's Noun Borey led with his elbow as he challenged Thierry for a bouncing ball and was shown a straight red card. It was a nailed-on dismissal yet Borey still took two minutes to leave the pitch before referee Lim Bunthoeurn blew for full-time, increasing Crown's frustrating afternoon. Lidwina Niewold's arrival on the pitch to treat Thierry's injury at the end of the game was a small footnote in history, as the first-ever female physio to participate in a C-League match.
PPCFC v Nat Police: Seiha, Da, Dani, Boris, Srin, Sothy, Thierry, Hasan (Makara 55), Pheng (Morslim 79), Suhana, Borey. Subs not used: Ary, Chamrouen, Dara, Lika, Dary, Pisa, Kano. Booking: Dani. MOTM: Borey.

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