Friday, March 22, 2013

Making friends

PPCFC v Ponley Town. Back LtoR: Obadin, Boris, Thierry, Oladiji, Narin, Pheng, Schweingruber (coach). Front: Rady, Makara, Ary, Pisa, Sothy

Phnom Penh Crown enjoyed a successful first day on their northwest tour, winning both matches and making many new friends. The touring party left their RSN Stadium HQ just after seven-thirty and headed straight to Kompong Chhnang where they faced Ponley Town FC on the sun-baked mud pitch in the center of the provincial capital. Coach Sam Schweingruber picked a strong team to start their tour friendly matches and because of the tight schedule, the game was played for thirty minutes each way. The only players missing from the tour party were the injured Mart Hasan and the four who were with Cambodia in the Philippines, namely Kouch Sokumpheak, Khim Borey, Samrith Seiha and Sos Suhana. Hong Pheng opened the scoring as early as the fourth minute when he took a Kok Boris pass in his stride, burst between two defenders and guided his low drive into the corner of the net. One-up and a good start to the tour. Nelson Oladiji sent a header wide and a half volley over the top as Crown pressed. Chhom Pisa's shot was tipped over the bar and then he rode two challenges only for the goalkeeper to smother at his feet. On 27 minutes Oladiji's cross found Bin Thierry in acres of space and his header, or was it his ear, put Crown two goals to the good. The half ended with Thourng Da skying a great opportunity after bursting into the box. Schweingruber rang the changes during the interval and throughout the game, giving first-team opportunities to Academy youngsters In Sodavid, Seut Baraing, teenage goalkeeper Keo Soksela and new recruit, 19-year-old Ran Ratana. The 2nd half was 58 seconds old when Vi Lika miss-controlled and gifted Ponley a goal. Fourteen minutes in and Nelson Oladiji thrust out a foot at a Ly Morslim shot and got the decisive touch to register Crown's third goal. Da and Pheng squandered good chances, though Tin Kano's howler at the far post was the easiest opportunity before Thierry smacked a shot against the cross-bar from eight yards out at the very end. 3-1 to Crown and a match played in very good spirits on a hard, bobbly pitch.
Line-Up: Ary (Soksela), Rady (Da ((Kano)), Pheng (Seyha), Narin (Srin ((Dara)), Obadin (Lika), Sothy (Baraing), Pisa (Thierry), Boris (Phearun ((Narin)), Makara (Sodavid), Thierry (Morslim ((Pheng)), Oladiji (Ratana). MOTM: Pisa.

After lunch in Kompong Chhnang, the tour party headed for Pursat where Ratanakea FC were ready to provide the next opposition to Crown's senior team. Before that game the Academy met the Pursat youth team and won 3-0. The senior match saw Crown run out 3-0 winners on a better surface, with the goals coming in the first-half, again of thirty minutes duration. Hong Pheng fluffed the first good chance before Nelson Oladiji headed Crown in front on 22 minutes with a powerful finish from Leng Makara's cross. Less than a minute later and Bin Thierry hit a screamer from 25 yards out, cashing in on a neat one-two with Oladiji to put Crown further ahead. They didn't have to wait long for number three. Two minutes later and Oladiji scored his second, getting an effective header in on goal to a deep Pheak Rady cross as the goalkeeper left his line. Chhom Pisa looked to make it four just before the break but was thwarted by the keeper, and Kok Boris sent the rebound wide of the mark. The only move worthy of note after the break was more good combination play between Oladiji and Thierry, only for the latter to be denied by more brave goalkeeping. Amongst the many personnel changes, given his first opportunity in the senior team for the last 13 minutes was Academy striker Chhuot Senteang. Another win, and the team headed for their overnight stop in Poipet, arriving after 10.30pm.
Line-Up: Ary, Rady (Seyha ((Baraing)), Phearun (Da ((Kano)), Srin (Dara), Obadin (Lika), Boris (Sothy), Thierry (Sodavid), Pheng (Morslim), Pisa (Narin), Makara (Senteang), Oladiji (Ratana). MOTM: Oladiji.

PPCFC v Ratanakea FC in Pursat. Back LtoR: Boris, Thierry, Oladiji, Obadin, Srin, Pisa. Front: Rady, Makara, Phearun, Ary, Pheng.

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