Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Late show for the NT

Cam v CTaipei, Back Row, LtoR: Udom, Sovan, Piseth, Visal, Laboravy, Yaty. Front: Vathanaka, Srin, Pheng, Virak, Sokumpheak (capt) - click to enlarge
Success for the Cambodia national team is rare, so a 2-0 victory on foreign soil, in Taiwan against the Chinese Taipei NT earlier this evening, is cause for a celebration. It was an international friendly against a national team who play as rarely as the Cambodian team do, so it was pretty level-pegging on paper and that's pretty much how it turned out in the game itself. Neither team covered themselves in any glory in the 90 minutes. However, it was in the 4 minutes of stoppage time added on at the end of the game that Cambodia will recall for many moons to come. That's when Chan Vathanaka, a peripheral figure for the ninety, burst into life with two goals to sink the home side, who had switched off and were thinking of their hot showers a mite too early. The victory, just days before the tough task of qualifying for the AFF Suzuki Cup in Laos which starts on Sunday, should lift the players spirits for starters. Cambodia were led out by captain Kouch Sokumpheak, making his return to the stadium where his team, Phnom Penh Crown were robbed of the AFC President's Cup in 2011. It just so happened that the Taiwan Power coach facing him that day is now in charge of the country's national team, so there was a certain element of pay-back extracted for Sokumpheak and four other members of the Cambodia NT, who were involved on that devastating night three years ago. In fact Sokumpheak made a decisive tackle in his own box to snuff out a rare Chinese Taipei attack early on and his Crown teammate Sou Yaty also came to his side's rescue, as he often does. A few minutes before the break, Chen broke into the box and it was Yaty's outstretched hand that turned his shot away for a corner and sent the teams in goalless at the break. The first-half was a non-event, with the home keeper only called on to catch a couple of crosses.

The second half wasn't any better until just after the hour. Hong Pheng, getting his first start for the NT, sent over a cross which Khuon Laboravy volleyed wide of the upright with his shin. Moments later the home side sent an overhead kick against the cross-bar before a flurry of substitutions took the heat out of the game just as it was warming up. With Chhin Chhoeun on for his pace, he got behind the home defence but lost his bearings and allowed the keeper to get in a tackle when a simple dink would've put his side ahead. Yaty had to drop on a late low drive but the game appeared to be heading for a nondescript ending with no goals when Chinese Taipei switched off, allowed Chhoeun to whip over a cross and Vathanaka was lurking at the far post to volley the ball home. Cue delirious celebrations. The stopwatch had just ticked past 90 minutes. Exactly four minutes later, a breakaway presented Vathanaka with a sight of goal and his aim was true for his second and confirmation of a very rare away victory for Cambodia. There were yellow cards a plenty, including Crown's Ngoy Srin and Pheng, but they won't mind one iota. No-one will call the game a classic, both teams found it impossible to string passes together or attack in a coherent fashion, but keeping going until the final whistle is a football basic and that's what Cambodia did in spades this evening. Full credit to them for doing just that.
Cambodia NT: Yaty, Pheng, Visal, Sovan, Piseth (Sovannrithy 74), Srin (Sothearath 73), Sokumpheak, Udom (Chanrasmey 58), Virak (Samoeun 43), Laboravy (Chhoeun 73), Vathanaka. Subs not used: Sophea, Sothy, Daravorn, Soksana,  Bookings: Srin, Sovan, Piseth, Pheng. Goals: Vathanaka (91, 94).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow! Cambodia's golden boy Chan Vathanaka turns the tide for the national team. He is a special player and his two goals will give the team renewed confidence for their first Suzika Cup match and plenty for the Laos coach David Booth
to worry about. The FIFA rankings will be getting a shake-up. Cambodia's first away win for some time.