|Seut Baraing, who made his debut at 13 years 5 months old, leaves the pitch|
With third place in the Hun Sen Cup already in the bag, Phnom Penh Crown's thoughts turned to the rest of the Metfone C-League season that lies ahead and returns to our tv screens next weekend. Crown will meet NagaCorp on Sunday 24 Feb, though Naga's mind will be firmly on their cup final meeting with Army later this afternoon. The Crown squad will be there to collect their 3rd place medals and prize money cheque. Coach Sam Schweingruber decided to give his squad players without regular games under their belts in recent weeks, a run-out this morning with a practice match against Asia Euro University at the RSN Stadium. Odion Obadin and Nelson Oladiji, Crown's foreign imports this term, both played the whole 90 minutes, though Schweingruber rang no less than twelve changes throughout the course of the match. For the last fifteen minutes, he introduced Academy left-back Seut Baraing to senior football at the age of just 13 years and 5 months. He settled in quickly and sent over a couple of crosses to show that he was not over-awed in the least. His proud Academy teammates looked on as the first of their group made the breakthrough into the first-team squad, with whom Baraing trains every morning. To keep his feet on the ground, Baraing will play for the Crown U-14 team in tomorrow morning's new youth league.
As for the match itself, it was even for much of the first half with AEU pressing late on. Within 28 seconds Nelson Oladiji sent a shot skidding wide to announce his intentions. A cross from Hong Pheng was nearly turned into his own net by an AEU defender and then Chhom Pisa chipped a shot over the cross-bar. Crown stopper Sam Chamrouen had to tip a free-kick over his own bar before being beaten with four minutes of the first-half remaining. An AEU striker held off two challenges before rolling the ball past Chamrouen to put the visitors a goal ahead just before the break. Chamrouen was back in action with two diving saves at the start of the 2nd half before Crown took control and it was one-way traffic for the rest of the match. Oladiji rose to head a Mak Phearun center just over the top and Japanese trialist Shota Nakagawa sent the ball into the arms of the AEU keeper from 20 yards out. Oladiji fed Sos Suhana but his effort was blocked close-in before Oladiji lobbed the rebound too high. Leng Makara rose majestically but directed his header wide of the target and Oladiji found room at the far post to head a corner kick towards the top corner, only for the AEU keeper to fingertip the effort wide. It looked a likely equaliser as Oladiji poked the ball to Makara and he bore down on goal, only to steer his shot the wrong side of the upright. With three minutes remaining and Crown getting increasingly frustrated, Oladiji was put in by a neat pass from Nakagawa but watched in horror as his steered shot rebounded off the foot of the post. In time added on Oladiji flashed a 25 yard effort high and wide to call time on Crown's efforts to grab the leveller. It was not to be.
PPCFC line-up: Chamrouen, Dara (Phearun 46 (Pheng 72)), Kano (Da 46 (Dani 75)), Srin (Seyha 35 (Baraing 75)), Obadin, Narin (Lika 74), Pisa (Nakagawa 46), Sothy (Pisa 74), Morslim (Suhana 46), Pheng (Makara 46), Oladiji.
|PPCFC line-up from the start. Back Row: Obadin, Srin, Pheng, Oladiji, Chamrouen, Narin. Front: Kano, Morslim, Pisa, Dara, Sothy|
|PPCFC at start of 2nd half. Back Row: Chamrouen, Obadin, Sothy, Oladiji, Seyha, Narin. Front: Makara, Da, Suhana, Phearun, Nakagawa|
|Warm-down for Seut Baraing (6 & 16) and the rest of the squad|