Wednesday, February 12, 2014

A baker's dozen

PPCFC v K Chhnang, back row, LtoR: Makara, Boris, Thierry, Srin, Pheng, Sarak. Front Row: Boran, Suhana, Ary, Borey, Sokumpheak - click to enlarge
Result: Kompong Chhnang 0 Phnom Penh Crown 13 (Hun Sen Cup Pool C).
In cup matches, like this Hun Sen Cup Pool C tie, when minnows are pitched against the bigger clubs, the outcome is virtually guaranteed before the game begins. A giant-killing is very unlikely. And that's how it proved to be when Crown met qualifiers Kompong Chhnang at the Army Stadium this afternoon. The first-half proved to be a frustrating 45 minutes for the big-boys, with the bounce of the pitch making it virtually impossible to control the ball with certainty. Head coach Sam Schweingruber later had this to say about his team's opening. "
The 1st half was embarrassing, we were rushing it and nervous for no reason, making a lot of silly mistakes, contrary to how we trained yesterday." And so it proved, with Crown creating more than fifteen clear goalscoring opportunities but only cashing in on three occasions. Long Boran was first to test goalkeeper Morn Kosal in the fifth minute, with the visitors going up the other end immediately and could've taken the lead but skipper Keo Chandara lobbed the ball weakly into Yok Ary's hands. Boran then blasted the ball against the cross-bar before Khim Borey opened the scoring in the 10th minute, turning on a Ngoy Srin pass and sending a left-foot drive into the bottom corner. Other chances came and went before Bin Thierry tried his luck from 20 yards and the bounce beat Kosal's flapping dive with 28 minutes on the clock. Borey bent down to send a header wide, Sos Suhana somehow managed to get his header over the bar from a foot away and Leng Makara prodded against the upright after Kosal had turned Kouch Sokumpheak's shot into his path. A minute before the break, Crown scored a third when Borey touched a Sokumpheak pass onto the post and though Kosal appeared to smother it in time, the linesman flagged that the ball had crossed the line.

After their half-time team rally, Crown almost scored withing 43 seconds of the restart but Borey failed to get a decisive touch to Suhana's pass. Chhnang's Ou Leangheng should've got on the scoresheet as they caught the home side napping, but he screwed his golden opportunity wide. Hong Pheng did the same when Borey set him up, missing the target when it seemed easier to score. Nine minutes into the 2nd period and Crown were back on the goal trail. Thierry's through ball allowed Makara to get a touch past Kosal and the ball rolled into an empty net. It was very much one-way traffic as Crown pushed on for a hatful of goals and Sokumpheak worked a neat interchange with Borey but found Kosal's trailing leg in his way. On 57 minutes, Sokumpheak weaved into the box and though his shot was deflected, Makara was poaching at the far post to turn it in. Two minutes later, Pheng found Borey and his left-foot drive found the corner once more for Crown's sixth and Borey's hat-trick. Kosal was the busiest man on the pitch, blocking shots from Boran twice and Makara before Sokumpheak got on the scoresheet, reacting the quickest after his first shot was saved, to fire home the bouncing loose ball on 64 minutes. Pheng lashed a shot against the cross-bar and Suhana blasted over when well placed before Borey was back in the groove, finishing off a pass from Sokumpheak with twenty minutes to go.

Three minutes later, Ngoy Sastra tried to clear Pheng's goal-bound touch past Kosal, but ended up kicking it into his own net and a minute on, Suhana was on the spot at the far post, after Borey's shot was blocked, for Crown's tenth. Refusing to take their foot off the peddle, Um Tola was felled as he broke into the area but Borey had to wait to take his penalty kick, and when he did he smacked it against the foot of the upright. Soon after Tola inexplicably headed wide at the far post from Borey's cross, Kosal spread himself low to turn Suhana's shot for a corner and Tola again missed a sitter, as he scuffed the ground instead of the ball, from another Borey pass. Four minutes to go and Borey got a flicked header to Pheng's center to send the ball past Kosal, followed quickly by another Tola miss, again heading Borey's cross wide of the upright. It did come right for the substitute, on the stroke of full-time, when he raced onto a Sokumpheak pass and slotted the ball neatly past Kosal. A minute into injury time and Borey completed a double hat-trick when he took his time from Pheng's cross, composed himself and fired in Crown's 13th, a baker's dozen and definitely unlucky for Kompong Chhnang. There was still time for Thierry and Borey to send shots over the bar before the referee had seen enough carnage for one day and called time. I counted 26 goalscoring chances for Crown in the second half - they converted ten of them. Schweingruber's view at the final whistle. "I think we did a lot of things not as we could or should, but all in all we can be happy with the 2nd half in particular. The other team is an amateur team, they don't have the qualities or proper training so you expect to win comfortably. It took us a long time to get into a good rhythm and doing things the way we wanted to. I was glad that we sorted it out in the 2nd half, the players showed me some good signs after the break, when it was a lot better."
PPCFC v Kompong Chhnang: Ary, Srin, Pheng, Sarak, Boris (Dara 38), Thierry, Sokumpheak, Suhana (Sokheng 83), Makara, Boran (Tola 66), Borey. Subs not used: Yaty, Soksela, Da, Pisa, Sothy, Phearun, Morslim. Bookings: None: MOTM: Borey - scored 6. Goals: Borey 6 (10, 45, 59, 70, 86, 90+1), Makara 2 (54, 57), Thierry (28), Sokumpheak (64), Own Goal (73), Suhana (74), Tola (90).

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