Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Singapore pick Crown's pocket

Back Row LtoR: Chanpolin, S Samnang, Baraing, Senteang, Sovann, Titchhy. Front Row: Sodavid, Rozak, Noeut, K Chhaya, Piphop - click to enlarge.
In a game the Phnom Penh Crown Academy were looking to win, the visiting NFA Singapore, the country's national academy U-15 team, bided their time before pickpocketing the three points on offer in this FAM-Frenz U-15 Asean Champions Trophy match, played at the Olympic Stadium earlier today. Both teams have found the step-up into the Asean-wide competition a tough ask this season and neither side had registered a win in eight games. For most of the opening forty-five minutes, Crown held onto the ball, controlling possession but failing to open up their opponents and create enough telling opportunities to trouble the scoreboard. Their normal flowing style, that has excited their fans in previous matches, was missing and the build-up was too predictable and laboured. In the fifth minute a foul on Orn Chanpolin, who attempted to surge through the Singapore backline on a number of occasions, saw Seut Baraing fire the free-kick into the defensive wall. Chanpolin burst through again midway through the half but his shot was blocked and moments later, sent a rasping 25-yard drive inches over the cross-bar. Seven minutes before the break, Singapore finally produced their first attempt on goal, as the ball carried safely into the arms of Svang Samnang. On the stroke of half-time, Crown lost Sraing Titchhy with a leg injury.

With Crown struggling to find their normal rhythm, and looking jaded after a series of away matches and extensive travelling, Singapore stunned their hosts with a goal from their first serious effort of the game. Ten minutes after the break, Zulquarnaen Suzliman's snap-shot was palmed aside by Samnang, only for Rusyaidi Salime to follow-up and poke the ball over the goal-line. Singapore were elated, Crown were in shock. It took another fifteen minutes for Crown to find their feet and were denied an equaliser when Chhuot Senteang connected with Sath Rozak's right-wing cross only for Singapore keeper Adib Azahari to get his body in the way. Five minutes later, and with Crown stepping up the urgency in their play, In Sodavid slotted a pass through to Rozak who toe-poked a shot goalwards, which was only partially saved by Azahari before Salime cleared the danger from the goal-line. Crown's remaining efforts were rebuffed as frustration grew and fresh faces introduced, but to no avail. Singapore held out for their first victory in the competition and Crown were left to rue the one that got away.

The Academy head coach Bouy Dary gave his views at the final whistle. "In the first half we kept hold of the ball well but didn't create enough chances. We don't normally dominate possession that much in this competition and today, we struggled to make it count. I changed a few players in the second half and we got better, played faster and created some opportunities, especially in the final twenty minutes. We have to improve our play in the final third, work harder on creating goalscoring opportunities, as well as tighten up on our defending. Physically we are okay but playing these matches, home and away, takes a toll mentally on the boys. But its great experience for them and the final game on Saturday against Vietnam, will be even harder. They are bigger and stronger and we'll have to work a lot harder and smarter than we did today."
PPCFC Academy v Singapore: S Samnang, Noeut, K Chhaya, Baraing, Sovann, Chanpolin (Sakrovy 69), Sodavid, Rozak (Chansopheak 80), Piphop (Muslim 87), Titchhy (Ponvuthy 45), Senteang. Subs not used: Mesa, Phearath, Chanchav, V Samnang, Nuron. Bookings: None. MOTM: Baraing.
NFA Singapore went home happy with a 1-0 victory, their 1st in the competition

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