Friday, May 2, 2014

Not so friendly

PPCFC v San Siro, back row, LtoR: Bisan, Sothy, Obadin, Srin, Pheng, Yaty. Front: Borey, Sokheng, Pisa, Suhana, Da - click to enlarge
Result: Phnom Penh Crown 2 San Siro African XI 2 (Friendly).
Coach Sam Schweingruber tried a few different options in this practice match played in the afternoon heat today at the Army Stadium. With Crown's league match against Svay Rieng rescheduled because of their involvement in the AFC President's Cup, the San Siro team gave Schweingruber the run out he was looking for. Sos Suhana gave Crown a 4th minute lead after George Bisan had unsettled the defence. The ball broke for the Nigerian striker who looped it over the goalkeeper's head and though his shot was blocked, Suhana was on hand to tap the ball home. Sou Yaty was quickly off his line to deny San Siro a scoring opportunity, before Crown extended their lead on 21 minutes. Khim Borey sent Chhom Pisa clear, and though his run was snuffed out by the keeper's challenge, the ball fell kindly for Bisan who stroked the ball in from the edge of the area. With matters getting a bit heated and four San Siro players booked, it was the African XI, including Boeung Ket's Momoh and former Crown striker Nelson Oladiji, who came on strong as half-time approached. In fact with three minutes left on the clock, a mistake by Ouk Sothy allowed Oladiji the time to fire the ball home from eighteen yards out. A great strike.

For the second half, Schweingruber made changes and decided to play with ten men for the opening twenty minutes of the half. Oladiji blasted a shot over the bar when it looked easier to score and at the other end, Hong Pheng had a shot headed off the goal-line before Leng Makara set up Sothy, but his volley went the wrong side of the upright. Both Borey and Sothy were denied soon after, while Yok Ary made a double-save as San Siro broke quickly, and Oladiji once more fired high. With 20 minutes on the clock, and still with 10-men, Crown conceded an equaliser when a 30-yard screamer left Ary clutching thin air. More personnel changes followed and Crown were back at full strength soon after. As they pushed on, Neou Sosela blasted wide, Baldwin Ngwa stabbed a shot wide, before both Ngwa and Rafael Oliveira had shots blocked at close range. Ngwa met a Makara cross on the volley but the keeper's foot saved the day and the final action saw Jeongho Kim's 22-yard free-kick, tipped over the top by the San Siro keeper, as the team's finished all-square. Schweingruber's take on his ten men tactic. "Playing against a physically strong team, I gave my team a task not to concede for 15 minutes. We then survived for that time without giving a goal away. The idea was to adjust the way we play, try to slow the game down, for the full-backs not to go up, have two lines of four sitting a bit deeper than usual - just a training objective which we can do in a friendly game. You never know, we might be in this position in the next game!"
PPCFC v San Siro: Yaty (Ary 46), Da, Pheng (Morslim 68), Sokheng (Kim 65), Obadin (Sokumpheak 46), Sothy, Pisa (Oliveira 68), Srin (Makara 41), Borey (Sosela 68), Suhana (Ngwa 68), Bisan (Dara 68). Bookings: None. Goals: Suhana (4), Bisan (21).

San Siro squad minus Boeung Ket's Momoh

Sam Schweingruber and the media officer

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