|PPCFC v Kirivong, back row, LtoR: Obadin, Yaty, Srin, Bisan, Thierry, Pheng. Front Row: Boris, Makara, Sothy, Borey, Sokumpheak - click to enlarge|
Crown were itching to get back to winning ways after last week's disappointing draw with Army and Kirivong were the opponents in the late kick-off under floodlights at Olympic Stadium. For this Metfone C-League encounter, coach Sam Schweingruber was without the injured Rafael Oliveira and named South Korean Jeong Ho Kim on the replacements bench. Crown dominated possession from the first whistle, with Kirivong back-pedaling and struggling to get hold of the ball, as Kouch Sokumpheak and Bin Thierry pulled the strings in midfield. The latter had the first shot on target and it took a clearance from Touch Sokheang to avert danger with his second strike on goal. Ouk Sothy's low drive was collected by Kem Makara in the Kirivong goal, before Leng Makara blasted high and wide from the edge of the box. Makara in the Kirivong goal was again in the action as he dived to save a Khim Borey effort from 25 yards and then Borey linked with Sokumpheak only for the latter to be tackled by Sokheang as he looked set to score. As time ticked by and Crown continued to search for the opening goal, Sokumpheak must've thought he'd cracked it but his half-volley in a crowded box went straight into Makara's gloves from close range. Next up Nhem Sovannara got a block in as Sokumpheak again caused consternation, and the final action saw Thierry blast over the cross-bar from George Bisan's lay-back.
With last week's frustrating draw on their minds, Crown were determined to turn their superiority into points and pushed on from the restart. Within two minutes, they were ahead. Ngoy Srin sent an inviting cross into the box and Bisan steered it, on the volley, into the far corner, leaving the Kirivong defence looking forlornly at each other. Borey latched onto a Thierry long-range pass but fired well wide and soon Bisan was on target again, only for his drive to be turned away for a corner. Sokumpheak's flag kick was headed wide by Odion Obadin at the far post. Little was seen of Kirivong as an attacking force though their new Brazilian striker Santos de Deus showed some neat touches. With Crown unable to add to their lead, nerves began to jangle as the final whistle approached and Kirivong's Chan Dara sent their first real attempt on goal, way over the cross-bar. In time added on, substitute Jeong Ho Kim turned quickly on the edge of the area but squirted his shot wide. In the third minute of additional time, an attempted Bisan overhead kick was cleared to Neou Sosela 25 yards from goal and the speedy winger let fly with a blast with the outside of his right foot that arrowed into the top corner. It was a real screamer of a goal and a great way to end a game that Crown had completely dominated. The 2-nil win puts them in third place in the league table on goal difference. This was Sam Schweingruber's after-match verdict on his team's win. "We needed to learn from our game against the Army, and though last week we didn't lose, it felt like it, being 1-0 up and not finishing the game off. So today our goal was to win 1-0 - last year we didn't lose one single game after going 1-0 up. We didn't quite do it as we wanted to do it, and that second goal didn't come for ages. But hopefully we've learned a few lessons and we'll take it from there. All in all, a good performance but it shouldn't take us 93 minutes to score a second goal."
PPCFC v Kirivong: Yaty, Srin, Pheng, Boris, Obadin, Thierry (Kim 64), Sothy (Sokheng 77), Sokumpheak, Makara (Sosela 83), Borey, Bisan. Subs not used: Ary, Soksela, Sarak, Da, Dara, Tola, Boran, Suhana. Bookings: Thierry, Kim. MOTM: Sokumpheak - very prominent 1st half display. Goals: Bisan (47), Sosela (90+3).