Friday, October 25, 2013

Makara heads winner

PPCFC v Army. Back Row LtoR: Boris, King, Obadin, Hutchinson, Pheng, Sokumpheak. Front Row: Borey, Makara, Ary, Sosela, Da - click to enlarge
Phnom Penh Crown defeated the Army at the Army Stadium this afternoon in their latest pre-season practice match, with a neatly-taken Leng Makara headed goal ten minutes before half-time. The result isn't really important at this stage of the team's preparation for the upcoming season, but of course everyone likes to win. What is more important is that the team form an understanding with each other and they become comfortable in the formation and playing style of the coach, who in this case was assistant John McGlynn, as head coach Sam Schweingruber is in Singapore on an AFC Instructor's coaching course. Everyone in the team is expected to play football, with every move starting from the back and working openings either through the middle or down the flanks. In the first-half of today's game, Crown were guilty of a poor final pass, though Kyle King was unfortunate on fifteen minutes, when Leng Makara's cross was an inch too high and the striker sent his header wide. A poor back-pass gave Kouch Sokumpheak a sniff of a chance but Um Vichet was out quickly to clear. At the other end, Odion Obadin gave the ball away and was rescued by Yok Ary's diving save to deny Army a goal. On the half-hour, Obadin was flattened in the penalty box by Vichet as he got a toe to a Liam Hutchinson chipped free-kick, but the referee was the only person not to see the infringement as a penalty. It couldn't have been more obvious. Within thirty seconds Khim Borey lost the ball and Ary again came to his team's rescue with a good stop with his feet. Trying to make amends, Borey cut inside and unleashed a 30-yard drive high and wide. The opening goal arrived on 35 minutes as Neou Sosela, out wide on the left, sent over a perfect cross which Makara attacked, outjumped his marker and sent his header over the Army keeper's despairing dive.

Crown made four changes at the break including new signing Long Boran and Cameroon-born striker Arsene Ndougou, who arrived for a trial the day before from Thailand. Sosela sent a fizzing drive on target which was pushed aside by the Army keeper, but chances were few at both ends. Another substitute, Marcelo Turdera conjured his way into the box but was denied by a last-gasp tackle before he could get his shot away. Thirty minutes in and Ndougou chased and crossed but Turdera's ground shot was snapped up by the keeper. The last action was a free-kick by the Army's Pov Phearith that fizzed just wide. It was a second-half, played in scorching sunshine, that was pretty nondescript.
PPCFC v Army: Ary (Soksela 46), Da (Sarak 79), Pheng, Boris (Srin 72), Obadin, Hutchinson (Sokheng 46), Sokumpheak (Sothy 79), Borey (Turdera 60), Makara (Boran 46), Sosela (Tola 67), King (Ndougou 46). Subs: All used. Bookings: None. MOTM: Obadin - dominant at all times. Goal: Makara (35).
New arrival Arsene Ndougou played the 2nd half on his first appearance on trial - click to enlarge

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