|PPCFC v Boeung Ket. Back Row, LtoR: Katanha, Bisan, Thierry, Boris, Obadin, Yaty. Front Row: Srin, Makara, Pheng, Borey, Sokumpheak - click to enlarge|
That was not supposed to be the result of the eagerly-awaited Clash of the Titans at Olympic Stadium this afternoon. Coach Sam Schweingruber kept the side that demolished BBU the week before though Neou Sosela broke down in the pre-match warm-up and couldn't take part. A large crowd was ready but it appeared Crown were not as their first fifteen minutes of the match was nervy and slow. Ros Samoeun had the first chance of the game on three minutes as he cut inside and fired in a low drive that Sou Yaty blocked and caught at the second attempt. Yaty raced out of his box to challenge Khuon Laboravy as he moved onto a long ball and the striker got a touch which went wide of the post before he and Yaty collided. Chan Vathanaka sent a curling shot wide and Elroy van der Hooft missed getting a vital touch by an inch or two to a Laboravy through ball. It was all Boeung Ket for fifteen minutes. Crown's sole effort was a wayward George Bisan header from Khim Borey's cross and they had Odion Obadin booked for a trip on Vathanaka. On 28 minutes the game changed. A foul on Borey gave Bin Thierry the chance to test Peng Bunchhay from 30 yards and the Boeung Ket keeper punched the swinging free-kick into the air, Borey headed back into the melee and Bunchhay went down, shot by a sniper, as he collided with Obadin. With Boeung Ket players screaming in his ear, referee Thong Chankethya reached for his yellow card and then the red. Crown were down to ten men, Boeung Ket were handed a massive advantage on a silver platter and Chankethya was once again at the center of the action, something he clearly relishes. Boeung Ket made their numerical superiority count at the next corner, on 37 minutes. Vathanaka's flag-kick was headed powerfully in by Laboravy at the near post as Yaty couldn't keep the ball from crossing the line. From the kick-off Bisan brushed aside three defenders though his aim from 40 yards out was awry. Two minutes after the goal, Keo Sokngon let rip with a forty yard shot of his own which crashed against the cross-bar to safety, and the last action of the half saw van der Hooft head into Yaty's arms.
Crown caught Boeung Ket napping themselves at the start of the second half. One minute and 24 seconds after the restart, Borey's cut-back cross was headed on by Bisan and Newton Katanha, with his back to goal, produced a superb scissor-kick that arrowed into the bottom corner. A worthy equaliser. The game settled down with Boeung Ket's advantage not noticeable, though a Vathanaka bye-line cross saw Yaty scrambling to palm it away from danger. Katanha was replaced by Sos Suhana on 69 minutes and thirty seconds later he spurned a glorious opportunity after Ngoy Srin's pass found him all alone and in space at the far post. His left foot strike sailed past the post by a foot. Sok Sovan and Laboravy were booked for Boeung Ket as their frustration grew, the latter for an elbow in Kok Boris' face. On 74 minutes Srin was felled and Thierry's 30-yard free kick was scrambled away by Bunchhay at the foot of the upright for a corner. Boris was stretchered off with cramp and without their two central defenders, Crown were caught cold at Boeung Ket's next corner, seven minutes from time. Vathanaka's center created panic and Chukwuma Ohuruogu was the first to react to stab the ball over the line from six yards. A crushing blow that Crown didn't deserve for their efforts. At the other end, Suhana and Kouch Sokumpheak saw their goal-bound attempts hit bodies and a Thierry free-kick was punched onto the back of Sok Sovan by Bunchhay as panic gripped the Boeung Ket back-line. A few seconds into five minutes of injury time and that panic turned to relief as Chankethya failed to give Crown a free-kick for a high foot, Laboravy found space and unleashed a vicious drive over Yaty that went in off the far post. A 3-1 win for the Rubbermen of Kompong Cham but Crown deserved better.
Sam Schweingruber spoke at the final whistle of his team's performance and the match overall. "We looked 2nd best for the first 15-20 minutes. We had a hard time dealing with their attacking line-up, and how aggressive they were and didn't get into our game until the time the red card came. We had a free-kick excellently saved and a couple of moments that didn't go our way and unfortunately it went against us with the red card. I'm personally disappointed at that situation as the referee listened to Elroy's demands for a 2nd yellow - certain players do that and ref's go for it and start booking players because other players asked for it. For over 60 minutes with 1-man down, and our main defensive player at that, I think we managed well and got the team back on track. An early goal in the 2nd half and quite comfortably in the game, we had a really good chance with Suhana and could've possibly nicked it 2-1. Unbelievable that we concede in one game from 2 set pieces, 2 corner kicks, that's just shocking. Both goals are unacceptable, our defending was very poor and not what we are capable of doing. Lucky enough, its early in the season and nothing too much has been lost, in that sense. If we play the football we showed in the 2nd half, and bounce back, then we are still a force to be reckoned with."
PPCFC v Boeung Ket: Yaty, Srin, Pheng, Boris (Sothy 82), Obadin, Thierry, Sokumpheak, Borey, Makara, Bisan, Katanha (Suhana 69). Subs not used: Ary, Soksela, Da, Pisa, Dara, Boran, Tola, Sokheng. Bookings: Obadin (+ red card). MOTM: Thierry. Goal: Katanha (47).