Saturday, August 9, 2014

Rare away success

Cam v Brunei, back row, LtoR: Udom, Srin, Sovan, Vichet, Soksana, Daravorn. Front: Samoeun, Da, Phallin, Vathanaka, Sokumpheak (capt) - click to enlarge
Kouch Sokumpheak, Phnom Penh Crown's captain, led out the Cambodia U-21 team in the first of their five Hassanal Bolkiah U-21 Trophy matches in Brunei, against the host nation, on Saturday evening. And thanks to a 15th minute goal from Chan Vathanaka, the Cambodia team will take a rare opening victory into their next game against Singapore on Monday. Victories on the road under Korean coach Lee Tae-Hoon have been few and far between, so the players will revel in this success, against the 2012 trophy winners and in front of a big home audience. Lee also included Crown's Ngoy Srin, in a deep-lying midfield role, and Thourng Da at right-back, in the starting line-up, with Sos Suhana, a non-playing substitute. In the 2012 edition of the HBT Cambodia lost all of their matches, so this first game success will be very welcome by players and fans alike. Video of the match revealed that the home team made it hard for themselves, conceding a soft goal on 15 minutes and then having to play with 10-men for the last thirty minutes. Vathanaka tried a long range effort from 30 yards out and the Brunei keeper Abdul Rahim attempted to grab the ball only managing to push it onto the crossbar and fumbling it into the net for a gift of a goal. Vichet in the Cambodia goal had no answer to Zulkhairy's effort which crashed against the crossbar at the end of an otherwise uninspiring opening half. Just after the hour, Brunei's keeper went off injured and his replacement meant Brunei had to remove one of their outfield players, as they already had the allowed three overage players on the pitch. That meant they were one man down for the last quarter of the game. Not exactly bright team tactics by their South Korean coach. Nob Tola had a header saved which rebounded to Kouch Sokumpheak close-in but his header went agonizingly wide, while Moul Daravorn sent his header from six yards wide of the target. Vathanaka sent a looping header against the cross-bar late on, while Brunei too struck the woodwork before the referee called an end to proceedings after eight minutes of stoppage time. The Laos referee somehow managed to book both Srin and Da for innocuous challenges. A confidence-boosting win for Cambodia though they will need to up their performance level in their remaining matches if they are to make this success count. Cambodia v Brunei: Vichet, Da, Samoeun, Daravorn, Sovan, Srin (Pidor 85), Phallin, Sokumpheak, Udom (Tola 66), Vathanaka, Soksana (Chhoeun 69). Subs not used: Phearun, Borey, Suhana, Ravy.

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