Sunday, March 24, 2013

Football hot-bed

PPCFC starting XI. Back LtoR: Pheng, Seyha, Obadin, Oladiji, Thierry, Narin. Front: Boris, Rady, Morslim, Ary, Sothy.

Battambang is a footballing hot-bed with a fantastic league network of youth football, boys and girls, unrivaled across the country. That was the location of Phnom Penh Crown's final series of matches on their northwest tour of the country on Sunday. In the mid-day sun, the Crown senior team took on Thaneakea Srov, the local champions and Division A1 play-off potentials later in the year. It promised to be Crown's toughest challenge on tour and after a minute, the home team sent a shot across the Yok Ary's goal. The third minute however, saw Crown take the lead and they never really looked back after that. Ary sent a long kick over the heads of the home defenders and they watched as Ly Morslim raced away, kept his cool and touched it past the onrushing keeper. Men Seyha and Bin Thierry took pot-shots before Nelson Oladiji maintained his goal in each of the tour matches with Crown's second. Thierry had his wits about him as he took a quick free-kick to Oladiji and he planted his shot under the goalkeeper and then finished it off for good measure in the ninth minute. Oladiji queried why another goal was ruled out for offside before Ary was called into action for the first of three good saves before the break. Thierry was keen to get on the scoresheet but his efforts went unrewarded. On 22 minutes, Morslim popped up to poke in Crown's third goal after Hong Pheng's shot was blocked by the keeper. As the first half closed, Ary was called upon to keep his goal intact with two smart saves. Immediately after the break, the visitors were on the offensive again. Oladiji touched a corner onto the cross-bar, Chhom Pisa had a shot tipped over and Leng Makara was inches away from a goal too. Just six minutes in and Pisa hammered the ball through a forest of legs to make it four-nil. Ouk Sothy wasted a great chance before Makara followed up to tap in a Pheng shot that was saved, to add a fifth nine minutes into the second period. Two minutes later, a Pheng pass intended for Makara was guided into his own net by the home goalkeeper as he miss-kicked. A string of substitutions followed, as Pisa clipped a shot onto the bar, Makara rounded the keeper as he raced onto Mak Phearun's ball over the top to score, on 57 minutes and six minutes later the same player notched his hat-trick. The nippy striker held off two challenges as he collected Ran Ratana's pass and found the far corner with an accurate finish. 8-0 to Crown and a job well done in the debilitating heat of mid-day. Before the senior match, the Academy beat the Mighty Girls 14-0. After lunch and an hour watching the SALT Academy youth finals for boys and girls, the Crown touring party headed back to Phnom Penh, well content with their three days in the northwest provinces. 
Line-up: Ary (Soksela), Rady (Dara), Seyha (Phearun), Narin (Lika), Obadin ( (Srin), Sothy (Ratana), Boris (Sodavid), Thierry (Pisa), Morslim (Makara), Pheng (Kano), Oladiji (Senteang). Booking: Kano. MOTM: Makara.
The PPCFC XI that started the 2nd half. Back LtoR: Pheng, Boris, Oladiji, Ary, Lika, Srin. Front: Sothy, Phearun, Pisa, Makara, Dara.

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