|PPCFC v Western, back row, LtoR: Obadin, Oliveira, Makara, Srin, Bisan, Yaty. Front Row: Da, Suhana, Sokheng, Sothy, Borey - click to enlarge|
Phnom Penh Crown were back to winning ways after a week's absence from the Metfone C-League, with a single goal success giving them the three points against struggling Western Uni. Without four regulars, it wasn't a vintage Crown performance but they dominated for much of the game, creating most of the goal-bound opportunities and earning Western goalkeeper Ngoy Boranoch the man of the match plaudits. Very early on Sou Yaty had to race off his line to clear the danger as Uch Chamroeun broke but that was really all we saw of Western as an attacking force until the final minute of the first-half. Khim Borey fired a salvo well wide, George Bisan turned and fired goalwards, but only into Boranch's safe hands. On 22 minutes, captain for the day Borey played his part in giving his team the lead. A foul on Sos Suhana 25 yards from goal and central was the sign for Borey to pull the trigger with one of his dipping dead-ball specials as it avoided the wall and arrowed into the top corner. A great strike. Moments later a cross from the right by Ngoy Srin took a bad bounce on the uneven turf, hit Boranch's calf and missed the goal by a matter of inches. Borey flicked a near post header into the keeper's gloves, Bisan also put a header too central and then tried an overhead kick from 20 yards out that was easily collected. The final word of the opening half went to Western's Privat Mbarga who sent a free-kick from distance just past the upright.
The second half resembled the first, Crown clearly in the ascendency, with Suhana sending a low drive a few feet wide and Chhom Pisa firing well over, before Mbarga took advantage of some slack control and brought a flying save out of Yaty in a rare attack from the University outfit. Ouk Sothy's drive was blocked, Leng Makara was tackled before he could shoot close in, Pisa sent one over the top again and so did Makara, after Thourng Da set him up at the far post, just six yards out. Boranch was back in the spotlight, as he saved low down to deny Borey's header, and then watched as another Borey free-kick curled just over the bar. Western's No 1 came to the rescue to get a strong fingertip touch to Makara's shot, and thirty seconds later, Makara turned in Da's fine run and cross, only to see the flag raised for offside. With ten minutes to go, Bisan broke clear after a cheeky nutmeg and only Boranoch's strong hand kept the goal intact as he forced the ball over the bar. Seconds later it was Odion Obadin's downward header that the keeper smothered and with five minutes to go, he pulled out what might be a contender for save of the season. Borey fed Bisan and he took a touch before unleashing a unerring thunderbolt from outside the penalty area, only to see Boranoch fling himself full length to palm it around the post. Breathtaking. The Western goal was leading a charmed life as another corner found Obadin's head and as it bounced, Borey nipped in to deflect it over the bar from inside the six-yard box. Bisan tried an audacious strike with the outside of his boot, but it rebounded off the bar, as the linesman flagged for a move that was clearly onside. In the first minute of injury time, Mbarga sped into the box and went tumbling over, claiming a touch by Obadin and screaming for a penalty. Referee Chy Samedy thought otherwise and booked him for simulation. And that was it. Three more points for Crown as they keep the pace in second place.
At the final whistle, coach Sam Schweingruber wasn't overly impressed. "Three points is what we needed. Towards the end of the game we had a few moments where we looked like we would score again, but I'm really disappointed that we weren't creating chances until the end. Their keeper pulled off two excellent saves and we scored a goal that was 50/50 offside or not - but up to then we were struggling to break down their defence. We didn't really combine together or have the flow I expected us to have. Obviously its a repetition of a problem we had against Police, TriAsia and Naga, and we have to look as a team how to create more chances and score more goals. There's no point in talking about the terrible field, we all know what it's like. Happy for Borey, who scored 3 free-kicks in training yesterday, so I was really pleased with his game-winning goal, scored with his new boots too."
PPCFC v Western: Yaty, Da, Srin, Sokheng, Obadin, Sothy, Suhana, Oliveira (Pisa 51), Borey (Morslim 93), Makara (Sosela 90), Bisan. Subs not used: Ary, Soksela, Chanpolin, Titchhy, Dara. Bookings: Obadin. MOTM: Borey - a captain's role and match-winner. Goal: Borey (22).