Saturday, July 27, 2013

Muslim corker fails to stem reverse

PPCFC Academy v PVF. Back Row LtoR: Chanpolin, Sodavid, Baraing, Senteang, Mesa, Sovann (capt). Front Row: Noeut, Muslim, Piphop, K Chhaya, Ponvuthy - click to enlarge.
The regular season came to an end for the Phnom Penh Crown Academy boys today, though they still have the small matter of the AFF U-16 Youth Championships in Myanmar in a few weeks time. Their final game, at home against one of the favourites, the PVF Academy from Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam, was always going to be a tough end to their FAM-Frenz U-15 Asean Champions Trophy exploits, with PVF needing the win to aid their qualifying efforts. Sam Schweingruber took charge of the team, with regular coach Bouy Dary feeling the effects of a bad cold and gave the youngsters two main goals for the match, have fun and stay disciplined. And the fun element certainly rang true when Yeu Muslim gave the team a 16th minute lead with a glorious goal. The look on the face of the goalscorer and his teammates was pure joy. Up til that point, PVF's Pham Tan Tai had sent two hopeful punts over the cross-bar at the other end but it was Muslim who gave the home side the head start they were looking for. Seut Baraing's long ball sailed over the top of the PVF backline and as Chhuot Senteang chased it, the opposing keeper Phan Van Bieu Tran came to the edge of his box to head it away. Muslim, 30 yards from goal, sent an instep volley back over his head for a beautifully-finished opening goal. Sem Mesa in the Crown goal caught another Tan Tai effort as PVF looked to bounce back but found Baraing and skipper Ouk Sovann in a dominant mood in the home defence. A poor challenge from PVF's Pham The Try sent Senteang off the pitch for treatment and the Vietnam defender was booked soon after for a similar clumsy challenge on Men Piphop. Pham Trong Hoa worked an opening for himself in the box but sent his dipping shot wide of the far post, whilst Tran Van Hoa volleyed a half-chance awry and Kim Chhaya made a last-ditch block to deny Trong Hoa as the half-time whistle came with Crown leading 1-nil.

Mesa was well-placed to catch Nguyen Vu Tin's header at the start of the second-half and Muslim's lack of inches meant that Piphop's quick break and cross went wide at the other end. Two minutes before the hour mark and PVF drew level. Vu Tin and Ho Minh Di played a neat one-two which got behind Suon Noeut and Minh Di crashed his effort in off the underside of the cross-bar from twelve yards out. PVF were back in the game. Soon after Le Van Diep headed well wide at the far post but it wasn't long until PVF imposed themselves and grabbed what turned out to be the match winning goal. On 68 minutes Lam Thuan's cross from the right found Vu Tin in space at the edge of the penalty area and his well-directed header went in off the foot of the upright, with Mesa's despairing dive in vain. A flurry of substitutions for both sides didn't help the flow of the game and Mesa had to be alert to grab a drive from Vu Tin. As the minutes ticked away, Baraing tried his luck from at least forty yards out and in time added on, shouts for a penalty as Vat Samnang went down under the keeper's challenge fell on deaf ears by the presence of a linesman's flag for offside. PVF, defensively strong and good on the ball, took the three points and have one game to go against Frenz Malaysia to confirm their place in the semi-finals of the competition. For Crown, they finished bottom of the six-team Group A with two points from their ten matches.

Schweingruber's reaction at the final whistle. "It was good to be a goal up but we played a little too defensively - its a product of us playing all these games against strong opposition and trying to limit the damage. I liked that we were well disciplined and more switched on than in recent games. In the 1st half PVF weren’t that dangerous, just a couple of shots from distance. In the 2nd half, they scored a pretty nice goal but we should’ve dealt with the cross better for the 2nd goal." Looking ahead to the upcoming AFF U-16 Youth Championships in Myanmar, for which Schweingruber will be in charge of the Cambodia U-16 national team and will include many of the PPCFC Academy in his squad, he commented. "We've got to work very hard over the next 3 weeks before we go to Myanmar. Our dream is to qualify out of the group of five countries. Getting positive results will obviously not be easy. But as a team we have shown that over 90 minutes we can play disciplined football. Vietnam will play a similar style to what we saw today and it looks to me that we should have a chance against Brunei, Vietnam and Myanmar. If Australia bring their strongest team, we will find ourselves up against world-class opposition."
PPCFC Academy line-up: Mesa, Noeut, K Chhaya (Phearath 72), Baraing, Sovann, Chanpolin, Sodavid, Piphop (Sakrovy 70), Ponvuthy (Dara 77), Muslim (Nuron 66), Senteang (V Samnang 83). Subs not used: S Samnang, Chansopheak, Rozak, Chanchav. Bookings: None. MOTM: Baraing.
The winning PVF line-up from Vietnam

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