|PPCFC v BBU line-up, back row, LtoR: Boris, Soksela, Pheng, Guerrero, Obadin, Lopez. Front Row: Da, Sosela, Sothy, Sokumpheak, Borey - click to enlarge|
Back to the game itself. This was Crown's 14th pre-season practice match. Now that the start of the Hun Sen Cup has been pushed back until late January, there will be time for quite a few more before the season begins. Sam Schweingruber had to select a team missing as many as ten players, mostly through injury, though Ian Mariano, one of three players on trial from Guam, had to go back home with a stomach upset just before the start. Chupe, who netted twice against AEU recently, has not been seen again, so the other two Guam players were given the striking roles. In goal, Keo Soksela replaced Yok Ary who will be out for a few weeks after an x-ray revealed a small fracture in his collarbone, sustained in China. In the opening twelve minutes Neou Sosela fired past the post a couple of times when more composure with his finish was required and Soksela dived full length to turn a shot around the upright. Kouch Sokumpheak screwed a shot wide before a weak clearance from Soksela was fired straight back over his head to open the scoring on 15 minutes in BBU's favour. Four minutes later, Crown were level as Marcus Lopez sent Scott Leon Guerrero away with a delightful first-time pass and the Guam utility player sidestepped the keeper and rolled the ball into an unguarded net. Lopez was clattered as he made the pass but was booked by the referee for complaining. Another mind-numbing decision. Guerrero was in full flow as he first set up Sokumpheak, who mishit his shot wide and then Khim Borey, who fired weakly at the keeper with his passage to goal wide open. Two minutes before the break, it was Guerrero again who raced onto Sokumpheak's pass and saw his low center take a deflection of a defender's toe and loop into the net to put Crown 2-1 ahead.
George Bisan replaced a limping Lopez at the interval but limped off himself after just two minutes, returning nearly ten minutes later, after treatment. He had the best chance of the second period, which was devoid of much goalmouth activity, when his header from Borey's free-kick went inches wide, and he got clattered by the keeper for his troubles, on 72 minutes. Crown used all 7 substitutes and it looked like Keo had earned his corn when he whacked a floated cross-cum-shot which had eluded Soksela, away from the far post only to see the linesman busting a gut to wave his flag and have an impact on the game. His decision, on 76 minutes, gave BBU a 2-2 draw. It was probably a fair reflection over the 90 minutes but that doesn't exempt the match officials from criticism.
PPCFC v BBU: Soksela, Da (Keo 76), Pheng (Srin 66), Boris (Sarak 76), Obadin, Sothy (Pisa 84), Sokumpheak, Sosela (Bisan 56), Borey (Morslim 87), Lopez (Bisan 46 (Tola 48 (Phearun 84))), Guerrero (Titchhy 87). Bookings: Lopez, Obadin. MOTM: Guerrero. Goals: Guerrero (19), OG (43).