Saturday, August 10, 2013

U-19s just too strong

Cambodia U-16s. Back Row LtoR: Ratana, Mesa, Dinarong, Chanpolin, Ravann, Sovann. Front Row: Titchhy, Senteang, Ponvuthy, Sodavid, Baraing - click to enlarge
The Cambodia U-16 national team have just over a week before they head to Myanmar for the AFF U-16 Youth Championships. So this morning's practice match against their older national colleagues from the U-19 national squad, also in training for an upcoming AFF U-19 competition in Indonesia next month, was timely and a good work out for both sides. Head coach Sam Schweingruber started with what is his likely strongest line-up against the U-19s captained by Svay Rieng's Hoy Phallin and including two of Schweingruber's own Crown players, Chhom Pisa and Ly Morslim. Overnight rain had left the RSN pitch very soggy underfoot and it was the U-19s who got the better of the early exchanges, drawing first blood through a well-placed Ros Ratanak shot on 23 minutes to put them ahead. Sem Mesa in the U-16s goal, kept out two efforts from Morslim with his legs and body and then tipped a point-blank header from Sareth Kriya over the bar. As half-time drew near, Orn Chanpolin's low shot was held by the U-19s stopper and in the closing seconds, the U-16s midfielder won a tackle on the edge of the box and blasted over the bar when an equaliser looked on the cards.

The younger U-16s began the second-half with a purpose but Chanpolin's shot was kept out and too much space allowed to Chhom Pisa just eight minutes in, cost them dearly. The bustling Crown midfielder carried the ball into the box and unleashed an unstoppable shot from fifteen yards out. As Schweingruber put fresh legs on the pitch, the U-19s put the result beyond the younger team when Svay Rieng's Nop Tola flicked in a near post header from a corner for their third goal. Svang Samnang in the U-16s goal came out bravely to block Tola a few minutes later before Chhoeung Sokheng fluffed his team's best chance by firing his shot straight at the keeper, after Long Phearath's mazy run into the box. With four minutes left on the clock, Sraing Titchhy broke through the middle of the U-19s defence and though his first shot was blocked, his perseverance paid off and he slotted the ball home from an acute angle, for a well-deserved consolation goal. 3-1 to the U-19s but a good run out for the U-16s, on a tough pitch, after which the head coach cut four players from his squad - Kung Chanvuthy, Soeung Khantey, Keo Dara and Mat Nuron - and will cut two more before the squad head for Myanmar next Sunday.
Cambodia U-16s: Mesa (Samnang), Sovann (Titchhy), Baraing (Phearath), Titchhy (Noeut), Dinarong, Sodavid, Chanpolin, Ravann (Piphop), Ponvuthy (Sokheng), Ratana (K Chhaya), Senteang (Dara). Subs not used: Sokundara, Chanvuthy, Chansopheak, Khantey, Sakrovy, Muslim, Nuron, Rozak.
The Cambodia U-19s starting line-up this morning

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