Saturday, December 7, 2013

Tola fires the winner

PPCFC v Boeung Ket, back row, LtoR: Sothy, Da, Pheng, Kim, Obadin, Srin. Front: Boran, Sokumpheak, Chanvuthy, Borey, Sosela - click to enlarge
Result: PPCFC 3 Boeung Ket 2 (Friendly). Matches against Boeung Ket are always eagerly-awaiting and Saturday's pre-season preactice match was no exception. Though both teams were shorn of some of their regulars, through SEA Games commitments and injuries, there was still a lot of talent on show at Phnom Penh Crown's RSN Stadium. Coach Sam Schweingruber gave a start to South Korean striker Jeong Ho Kim, a 22-year-old who trained with the team for a couple of days beforehand, and fifteen-year-old goalkeeper Kung Chanvuthy after injury ruled out Yok Ary and Keo Soksela. In fact, Chanvuthy was a spectator for most of the first-half though closed the angle well to snuff out Boeung Ket's only real chance on the half hour with a near post block. Neou Sosela headed over at the far post with Crown's most obvious opportunity ten minutes earlier, but made amends with the game's opening goal with six minutes of the half remaining. A high-tempo one-two with Khim Borey saw Sosela burst into the penalty area and powered a finish past Peng Bunchhay that the keeper never got near. Two minutes later Kouch Sokumpheak tried a scissor-kick that Bunchhay was equal to. Half-time came with Crown edging possession and chances. At the break 13-year-old Svang Samnang replaced Chanvuthy in the Crown goal.

Borey showed Crown's determination within 46 seconds of the restart as he sent a dipping shot a foot wide and soon after tried a half-volley that cleared the bar. Svang Samnang's first involvement didn't go well for the youngster as he came out to clear but misjudged the pace of Yob Romaton, who walked the ball into the net, twelve minutes in. Kim had his best moment but his shot was held by the visiting keeper and that was his last action, as he was replaced by George Bisan. On 64 minutes, Boeung Ket changed the face of the game as they went ahead when Odion Obadin fell in the box, allowing Khuon Laboravy the space to finish with a flourish past Samnang. Bisan levelled matters just two minutes later when a strong run into the box by Hong Pheng saw the ball squirm out and across the goal-line for the ex-Rubberman to poke it home. The Nigerian striker was a whisker away with his head from connecting to a Sokumpheak corner kick, and then used his strength to set up Long Boran, who blazed well over the bar. Another strong Bisan run to the byeline and a perfect pull back, with seven minutes left on the clock, saw Um Tola arrive on cue and fire a fierce drive into the roof of the net for the winning goal. A fine comeback and a deserved victory.
PPCFC v Boeung Ket: Chanvuthy (Samnang 46), Da (Keo 86), Pheng, Srin, Obadin (Boris 72), Sothy (Morslim 86), Sokumpheak (Hutchinson 78), Borey (Phearun 86), Sosela (Tola 68), Boran (Pisa 86), Kim (Bisan 61). Bookings: None. MOTM: Srin. Goals: Sosela (39), Bisan (66), Tola (83).

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