Sunday, November 3, 2013

U-17s go down fighting

PPCFC U-17 v Svay Rieng: Back Row LtoR; Sovan, Chanvuthy, Baraing, Chanpolin, Sakrovy, Titchhy. Front Row: Sodavid (capt), Nuron, Muslim, Noeut, Ponvuthy - click to enlarge
Over the past year, Phnom Penh Crown Academy matches against Svay Rieng at youth level have been close affairs. In recent games the ex-Preah Khan Reach youths have fared better, winning the CFDL title a few months ago and securing another victory again this afternoon. But the 2-1 scoreline fails to tell the full story behind this Cambodia U-17 Youth League game. Played on the poor Dept of Sport and PE pitch in Tuol Kork, the first-half was pretty much even steven. In Sodavid and Mat Nuron had chances but there was little of note until an off-the-ball incident before a corner, left Crown keeper Kung Chanvuthy lying on the floor clutching his face. An elbow from a Svay Rieng defender was the reason but the match referee was weak in his response and only flashed a yellow card after consulting with his linesman. His failure to take strong action would impact on the rest of the game. Just 28 seconds after the half-time break, Nuron got a touch to Seut Baraing's center only for Sim Mesa to block at point blank range. Mesa played with Crown's U-15 Asean side last season and had just joined Svay Rieng from Boeung Ket. Four minutes into the second half and Svay Rieng took the lead as the linesman's flag stayed down, despite loud calls for offside by the Crown defenders. A second blow came on fourteen minutes as a route one free-kick was back-headed on and the ball looped over Chanvuthy and into the net for Svay Rieng's second. The goal stung Crown into action and Mesa just managed to scoop Orn Chanpolin's long range effort around the post. Mesa was again in the thick of it as he saved from Men Piphop after Sraing Titchhy's poke had been cleared off the line. Chanpolin sent another 25-yarder goalwards, only for Mesa to react late and deny him as Crown continued to press. With 12 minutes left on the clock, Titchhy got his head to Baraing's free-kick to find the net at last for Crown, but despite camping in the Svay Rieng half, they couldn't find the elusive equaliser. As tempers rose to boiling point, mainly as a result of weak officiating, Long Phearath received a kick in the face and players had to be separated when a Svay Rieng player reacted to a foul by threatening to punch Kim Chhaya in the face. With a flurry of substitutions, a multitude of stoppages for mystery injuries suffered by Svay Rieng's players and general time wasting, time added on should've been around 8 minutes but the match referee decided on just two and called time with Svay Rieng recording a 2-1 success. I have never seen Crown's Academy players complain to match officials, it's not in their nature, but they did just that today out of utter frustration. All to no avail. To be frank the officials were simply not up to the job. The two teams are the best youth sides in the country and the game was more than the young match officials could handle. It stood out like a sore thumb.
PPCFC U-17s v Svay Rieng: Chanvuthy, Noeut, Baraing, Sovann, Titchhy, Chanpolin, Sodavid, Nuron (K Chhaya), Ponvuthy (Chansopheak), Sakrovy (Piphop), Muslim (Phearath). Subs not used: Chanchav, V Samnang, T Chhaya. Bookings: None. MOTM: Chanpolin. Goal: Titchhy (78).
The PPCFC U-17s bench before the game began

Captain In Sodavid (23) watches the referee tossing up

Svay Rieng U-17s before kick-off

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