Sunday, June 8, 2014

Crown back on top

PPCFC v BBU, Line-up, back row, LtoR: Bisan, Boris, Srin, Obadin, Makara, Yaty. Front Row: Pellegrino, Sothy, Da, Pheng, Sokumpheak (capt) - click to enlarge.

Result: Phnom Penh Crown 3 BBU 1 (Metfone C-League).
Crown were without the injured Khim Borey and Sos Suhana and the suspended Neou Sosela as they faced 5th-placed Build Bright United at Olympic Stadium, live on TV. BBU knocked Crown out of the Hun Sen Cup earlier this season but were well beaten 5-0 in the 1st round encounter between the two teams. Clearly under instructions to subdue their opponents from the kick-off, Crown pressed and created four good chances in the opening ten minutes. Odion Obadin headed Adriano Pellegrino's free-kick straight at Sos Proshim in the BBU goal, Hong Pheng twice arrived in the opposition box only to fire wide on both occasions and then Obadin headed a glorious opportunity past the far post from a Pellegrino corner. On 15 minutes, referee Tuy Vichheka blew his whistle for offside, only for Adeyanju Omokafe to clobber Crown keeper Sou Yaty, who received five minutes of treatment for a rib injury, but no caution for the striker's very late challenge. Pheng, playing wide left instead of his usual full-back role, looked certain to latch onto Pellegrino's pass until Rim Bunheang took it off his toe, and at the other end, Omokafe held off Thourng Da's challenge but fired straight at Yaty. The stalemate was broken on 22 minutes as Crown took the lead their dominance deserved. Kouch Sokumpheak's quick reactions won the ball and he fed leading goalscorer George Bisan, who moved swiftly into the box and in a repeat of his goal from the previous week, steered the ball inside the far post. The striker was soon receiving treatment for a knee injury but was fit to carry on. Pellegrino tried his luck from distance but the shot took a deflection into Proshim's waiting grasp, while Thai Phalla's hopeful strike was more dangerous to the ball-boy than Crown's goal. With five minutes left of the first-half, Sokumpheak's hook over his shoulder from the edge of his own box found Pellegrino lurking on the half-way line and in a flash he'd spotted Bisan's charge from his own half. The Australian's pass was inch-perfect, Bisan's touch was just as good and as Proshim came out, the deadly marksman guided the ball inside the post for his second of the afternoon. 

Crown continued the second-half where they'd left off the first, as Ouk Sothy blasted well over from 25 yards out and Ngoy Srin latched onto a Pellegrino pass but his touch deserted him as Proshim came out, though the keeper failed to gather and was fortunate to get a free-kick. Leng Makara fired well wide from Sothy's pass, before Kok Boris reacted to BBU's refusal to return the ball in a fair-play incident, by clattering Omokafe from behind. It was a feud that had been simmering all match. Boris was quickly substituted for Bin Thierry's second appearance after a long lay-off, with Sokumpheak moving into defence. BBU finally managed to get into the match as Phlong Chanthou headed wide from a free-kick and Prom Putsethy drove the ball well off-target after Obadin had headed clear a dangerous cross. With eleven minutes of the game remaining, that BBU pressure paid off as Obadin was caught out by Phalla's surge into the box and tumble, with referee Vichheka pointing to the spot. Rim Bunheang found the corner with his penalty kick. Crown stormed back up the other end immediately and a Pellegrino free-kick was punched clear by Proshim. On 82 minutes, a training ground one-two between Bisan and Pellegrino, sent the Nigerian striker clear and he pulled the trigger with a low drive for his hat-trick and Crown's third. It took his season's tally to 16 goals and a clear lead in the race for the MCL's Golden Boot award. A minute later and another one-two, this time with headers, looked to have set up Bisan for his fourth but his lob missed the far post as Proshim came out with a high foot. Crown keeper Yaty eventually succumbed to that first-half take-out by Omokafe and had to be replaced by Yok Ary with three minutes of normal time left. Peter Anayo sent a fizzing drive wide of the upright from distance as BBU's final effort, as Crown saw out five minutes of stoppage time for their 11th win in fifteen starts and a return to the top of the league table, clear by two points from Boeung Ket.

Crown coach Sam Schweingruber's views at the final whistle. "Quite happy with the 1st half performance. Then a good response after the penalty against us. We should've closed the game out earlier and scored more goals. A bit of a lack of urgency in and around the box. Overall very pleased with quite a few players and their contribution to the game. A very strong performance by George. Against teams like BBU and how they play, he's very dangerous. That last goal was an amazing ball from Adriano and such a cool finish. I'm very proud of George's contribution. I took Boris off as he was very frustrated at half-time and in some pain. His foul could've been a red card, so I took him off to avoid another booking. It was just after Tony kicked the ball out in sportsmanship and BBU didn't give it back, which really shows their lack of character. And how their number 10 who absolutely crunched Yaty, and how is that not a card, I don't know."
PPCFC v BBU: Yaty (Ary 87), Da, Srin (Morslim 61), Boris (Thierry 69), Obadin, Sokumpheak, Sothy, Makara, Pheng, Pellegrino, Bisan. Subs not used; Soksela, Dara, Sokheng, Pisa. Booked: Srin, Boris, Sothy. MOTM: Bisan - unstoppable when in this mood. Goals: Bisan 3 (22, 40, 82).

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