|PPCFC v Lao Toyota, back row, LtoR: Mesa, Titchhy, Senteang, Baraing, Chanpolin, Sovann (capt). Front: Chhaya, Sodavid, Chansopheak, Piphop, Ponvuthy - click to enlarge|
For their first home game in the ACT2014, Crown welcomed Lao Toyota to Olympic Stadium for a morning kick-off, bathed in the morning sunshine and watched by a large crowd. In the third minute, the visitors had the first shot which Sem Mea collected easily, and soon after the opposition keeper beat Chhuot Senteang in a race for a pass forward by Sraing Titchhy. Kim Chhaya fired the loose ball well wide from 25 yards out. Some strong, and illegal challenges from the Lao team produced the first of three yellow cards with just twelve minutes on the clock. Pov Ponvuthy was busy on the left flank and his neat ball gave Senteang a run into the box only for his left-foot attempt to go straight into the hands of Saymanolinh Paseuth. Ponvuthy tried his luck without success before Crown's loud claims for a penalty were waived aside on 17 minutes. In Sodavid burst into the area only to go over the foot of Thongmany Panyaphong, who needed treatment in the aftermath. Just two minutes later, another Sodavid spurt, onto a precise Chhaya pass, opened up another opportunity and a left-foot drive beat the Lao keeper for the game's opening goal. The large audience made themselves heard as Crown continued to dominate proceedings. Ponvuthy took aim but fired wide from distance and was then carried off after another clumsy tackle on the tricky winger. Yet another foul on Ponvuthy gave Ouk Sovann a clear view of the Lao goal with one of his free-kick specials from 25 yards out, but Paseuth dived to catch the attempt at the foot of his post. The first real attempt from the visitors, with ten minutes of the opening half to go, saw Thatsapphone Bouttavong send a 25 yard effort over the head of Mesa and clip the top of the cross-bar. Another spell of intense pressure from Crown gave Men Piphop sight of goal but his shot was gathered safely, as was a quick break and teasing cross from Senteang. Another Sovann free-kick from the half-way line was easily caught and Paseuth then earned the admiration of his teammates when he stood up and denied Crown their best chance of a second goal. In the second minute of stoppage time, Orn Chanpolin's long pass sent Titchhy racing away from his own half, but he waited too long to make his mind up and the keeper closed in to make the save on the edge of the area. 1-nil to the home side at the interval.
The Ponvuthy-Senteang combination opened up the Lao defense in the second minute after the restart, but again, Senteang's left-foot strike wasn't strong enough to beat Paseuth. Titchhy's surge past two defenders got the crowd on their feet but his low cross evaded Senteang by mere inches. Six minutes played and Crown were rocked by a sucker punch. Sovann's attempted clearance was charged down by Laithaya Sisongkham and fell into the path of Sinthaphone Phanvongsa, who sped towards goal, rounded Mesa and rolled the ball in for an undeserved equaliser. Crown heads dropped both on and off the pitch, as the goal was met by stunned silence. Less than a minute later, Senteang's poke forwards saw Titchhy get a touch before being clattered by Paseuth, but the referee refused to give anything other than a goal-kick. Five minutes later, Titchhy showed his quick feet and a clean pair of heels to three opponents, released Senteang with a perfect pass, but as the striker rounded Paseuth, he lost his footing and his weak shot was easily cleared off the goal-line by Panyaphong. Paseuth was again in the thick of the action as Sodavid's low center was smothered at the second attempt under pressure. The limping Titchhy was replaced by Vat Samnang and almost immediately his 30-yard shot tested the Lao keeper. In a rare Lao venture forward, Phanvongsa cleared the cross-bar from way out, but it was still Crown making most of the running, though tiring legs didn't help their cause. Another Samnang snap-shot from distance flew just wide and as Senteang created havoc in the back-line, Sath Rozak sent his fierce effort over the top. The final goal-bound effort came from a Seut Baraing free-kick which Paseuth held onto and the Lao goalkeeper was easily the visitor's stand-out player of the match. Tempers flared momentarily just before the end but was no more than a result of the agonizingly hot weather and Crown's frustration that they didn't take advantage of their superiority for long periods of the match. Coach Bouy Dary was also straight to the point in his after match comments; "The first half we did really well, we did what we wanted to do, created a lot of chances and we really should've scored three. The second period we started okay, but then made a mistake and the boys became shaky and didn't play the way we want to play. Our opponents didn't create anything, they weren't dangerous and we handed them a point. I'm pretty disappointed, we should've done better at home."
PPCFC v Lao Toyota; Mesa, Chansopheak (Chanchav 88), Chhaya, Baraing, Sovann, Chanpolin, Sodavid (Rozak 68), Piphop, Ponvuthy (Muslim 83), Titchhy (V Samnang 65), Senteang. Subs not used: Chanvuthy, Phearath, Sakrovy. Bookings: Piphop (simulation). MOTM: Sodavid - a goal and strong performance. Goal: Sodavid (19).