It turned out to be a really bad idea for about 1,000 football fans and myself to go to the Olympic Stadium this afternoon. We watched what can only be described as a dire match, in which the Cambodian U-23 national team were very nearly embarrassed by a third-tier Vietnamese club side, Thanh Pho Ho Chi Minh. With more composure, the Saigon-based team could've won the game in the second half when they were up against what would be considered the stronger of two U-23 line-ups. The match ended 1-1 but I went home deflated with what I had just witnessed. Let's pray that the match against Guam on Tuesday has much more to offer, but I have my doubts. Cambodia's coach Lee Tae-Hoon began the game with his weaker starting XI and tried two experiments that failed miserably. Srey Udom is not and never will be a left-back and was constantly exposed while Ke Vannak is a much more accomplished central defender than he is attacker. Even so, a lofted free-kick from Prak Mony Udom on eight minutes found the back of the net with the beefy Vietnamese keeper unable to move his feet quick enough. Referee Tuy Vichheka gave the visitors a helping hand with a penalty award on twenty minutes which only he saw, and which they converted. Vannak had an effort blocked on the line and that was about it for the opening half. All change by Cambodia at the break but after an initial flourish, the team that did well in the BIDC Cup looked a pale shadow of themselves. The crap pitch didn't help anyone but it was TPHCM that ended the game the stronger of the two teams and a finger-tip onto the bar from Sou Yaty saved the day. For the Guam match, which should be a full international friendly, Lee has added Chhunly Pagenburg from FSV Frankfurt in Germany to his squad alongwith experienced defender Tieng Tiny from NagaCorp. Kouch Sokumpheak couldn't play as he's in China. Why Khuon Laboravy wasn't picked, no-one knows. Chhunly sat out the game today with a slight knock but should be fit for Tuesday.
Cambodia 1st half: Sophea, Sothearoth, S Udom, Tiny, Piseth, Sothearath, Dara, PM Udom, Chhoeun, Vannak, Pheng.
Cambodia 2nd half: Yaty, Pancharong, Samoeun, Sovan, Rithy, Khemrin, Soksana, Vathanaka, Saray, Suhana, Sokngon (P M Udom (Chhoeun)).