Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Guam conquer

Ryan Guy (13) who was outstanding, skates past Touch Pancharong
If you begin an international match at home without a recognised striker on the pitch, then the message you send out to the opposition, your own players and your fans is the wrong one in my opinion. This ultra-cautious approach by Cambodia's coach Lee Tae-Hoon in today's friendly with Guam was doomed from the start against hard-working and well-drilled rather than dynamic opponents. With most of Guam's line-up playing professionally in the US or Philippines, they were more upbeat in the opening stages as Cambodia began on the back foot and stayed there, offering little except the occasional quick break. Sou Yaty was in the action early on, keeping out a long-range effort from Ryan Guy and then pulling off a superb one-handed stop after Jason Cunliffe, the Guam skipper, had strode past three defenders. It wasn't long before Guam made Cambodia pay for their lack of purpose as Yaty came out to punch the ball from the head of Travis Nicklaw, only for his brother Shawn to hook the ball goalwards and for Guy to add the finishing touch with a looping header. Eighteen minutes on the clock and it looked like the home fans were in for a long afternoon. Cambodia perked up a bit with Chhin Chhoeun leaning back and sending a far post effort well over the top before Tum Saray broke free but shot weakly at Doug Herrick in the Guam goal. Moments later Guam couldn't believe their eyes when Ros Samoeun climbed all over John Matkin in the box, but local referee Thong Chankethya was having none of it and waved away their appeals. Cambodia were caught offside far too frequently and in the final seconds of the first-half a Chhoeun cross found a late-arriving Khek Khemrin at the far post but he couldn't connect and the home fans grumbled as the teams left the field.

A minute into the restart and a wayward Chhoeun cross was tipped over by Herrick but Guam remained on top, with Guy showing Cambodia what they were missing without a striker on the pitch, he was easily man of the match, and Cunliffe striding around midfield like a colossus. Travis Nicklaw let loose with a 30-yard free-kick which Yaty held onto low down. With his formation ineffective, Lee threw on Chhunly Pagenburg just before the hour and soon after, a low drive by Chhoeun was pushed out by Herrick and the German striker was crowded out of getting a shot on goal. But it proved too little too late on 68 minutes as Guam deservedly extended their lead. Cunliffe sped past his marker on the left and sent an inviting ball across the face of goal for Guy, only for defender Sok Sovan to stick his leg out and divert it past a helpless Yaty for an own goal. That was effectively that as Guam closed the game out, with only a Chan Vathanaka half-volley which went wide, causing any ripple of interest. A flurry of bookings and substitutions followed and in time added on, Chhoeun sent an effort wide when well-placed, which summed up Cambodia's dismal afternoon. Guam had proved too strong a nut to crack but to play for nearly an hour without a striker speaks volumes of the South Korean's approach as he goes into a SEA Games competition next month, where he knows all of his opponents will be as good or better than Guam. I fear the worst. You should too.
Cambodia v Guam: Yaty, Pancharong, Samoeun, Sovan (Tiny 76), Rithy (Piseth 76), Khemrin (Sothearath 46), Soksana, Suhana (Vathanaka 67), PM Udom, Chhoeun, Saray (Pagenburg 57). Subs not used: Sophea, S Udom, Vannak, Dara, Sokngon, Pheng.

No comments: