Saturday, March 29, 2014

George nets the clincher

PPCFC v TriAsia, back row, LtoR: Boris, Bisan, Srin, Obadin, Borey, Yaty. Front Row: Sothy, Suhana, Pheng, Makara, Sokumpheak - click to enlarge
Result: Phnom Penh Crown 1 TriAsia 0 (Metfone C-League).
George Bisan netted his fifth goal of the season and it proved to be the match-winner in this evening's Metfone C-League success for Phnom Penh Crown, who remain in pole position at the top of the league table, on goal difference from NagaCorp. TriAsia had the first effort at goal when a Kouch Dani free-kick flew high and wide but it was Crown who pushed on and held the upper hand for all of the opening 45 minutes. Early on, Ouk Sothy blazed a 30-yard effort a few yards wide of the upright and then Leng Makara, put in after a mazy run by Kouch Sokumpheak, was thwarted by Hem Simay's dash from his goal-line, the keeper's body blocking the attempt on goal. A booking for Phau Sophy, the TriAsia captain, for a poor challenge on Khim Borey, saw the Crown striker curl his free-kick into the area and Sokumpheak rose to head the ball past the post by a foot. On 19 minutes, Crown made their superiority count as they took the lead. Hong Pheng caught TriAsia unprepared with a quick throw-in and a neat one-two with George Bisan, sent the Nigerian hitman away, he skipped over a lunge and as Simay came out to meet him, he nonchalantly slipped the ball between the keeper's legs and into the gaping goal. And celebrated with his trademark double somersault. Crown sought to pile on the pressure as TriAsia wilted, with a Sothy cross-cum-shot just clearing the cross-bar and Pheng's 25-yard effort caught at the foot of the post by Simay. Borey sent another free-kick from distance just wide and Bisan again weaved his way into the penalty box but was blocked from getting his shot away. In time added on at the end of the first half, Kok Boris carried the ball from deep in his own half and into the TriAsia box, where he was clumsily taken out from behind but referee Thong Chankethya saw the challenge as a legal one. TriAsia closed the half with a Dani free-kick lobbed into the Crown area only to see Pheng head the danger clear.

A short corner kick at the start of the second period saw Sokumpheak, pushed forward in a more attacking midfield role for this game, send a low drive whistling past the near post. Another Dani free-kick from 25-yards missed the target again and Sok Chanrasmey, looking at least ten yards offside as he retreated back, lobbed the ball high and wide, with no flag or whistle from the officials. Bisan continued to be a threat and cut in from the left to send in a low drive which Simay grabbed at the second attempt. With 25 minutes gone, Chanrasmey sent TriAsia's best chance over the top of the cross-bar as the Crown backline was breached for the first time. A minute later Crown brought on South Korean striker Jeongho Kim and he was booked within a minute for a late challenge. His time on the pitch would prove to be short-lived. Soon after, Dani was wayward with another long range free-kick for the opponents, before Kim was clipped on the edge of the TriAsia penalty area and went down. Referee Chankethya saw it differently, brandishing a yellow card for simulation and then a red card, leaving the Korean to trudge off the pitch in tears, just five minutes after entering the fray. Refusing to sit back, Crown took the game to TriAsia with Borey whipping over a perfect cross for Bisan to head powerfully towards goal, Simay got a fingertip to it and touched it onto the cross-bar. A back injury to Sou Yaty caused some concern and Bisan again bludgeoned his way into the box, only to have his way to goal blocked and despite five minutes of injury time, Crown comfortably wrapped up the three points.

Crown head coach Sam Schweingruber gave his aftermatch opinion: "It was very comfortable in the 1st half, they had no chances. They may've had slightly better possession in the 2nd half but only the one real chance when Smey put it over the top. Then the red card and we go 1 man down, its always a bit more difficult, it gives them momentum but they mainly launched long balls, and Tony and Boris in particular, cleaned it all up. We were unlucky with George's header that could've been a 2nd goal. The 2nd half wasn't pretty but we needed the 3 points and that's what we got. For our goal, we'd studied them and out of the last 8 goals conceded, 7 were from set pieces and a throw-in is a set piece. We thought they might be vulnerable, and it was a very cool finish from George. In the last 2 games we saw a quieter George, but we know what he can do on his day, and I'm very happy for him to score the match-winning goal today. I might have to take some of the blame for Jeongho's sending off. I criticised him in training games for not being physical and aggressive enough. So I wasn't too unhappy over his 1st yellow. On the 2nd yellow, I'll have to look at the video. I thought he was fouled, but the referee saw it as a dive. You never know. But you do wonder when similar things keep happening with the same referees. I'm happy with the team's performance and I'm proud of my team, a man down, we managed to stay tight, win and collect the points."  
PPCFC v TriAsia: Yaty, Srin, Pheng, Boris, Obadin, Sothy (Kim 71), Suhana, Sokumpheak, Makara (Sokheng 82), Borey, Bisan (Pisa 92). Subs not used: Ary, Da, Sosela, Dara, Morslim, Titchhy, Chanpolin. Bookings: Srin, Kim (+ red card 76). MOTM: Obadin - made sure TriAsia had zero chances and must've had severe headache from heading the ball so much. Goal: Bisan (19). 

The TriAsia line-up before the game begins includes 4 ex-Crown players

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