|Cambodia's starting XI v Timor-Leste, back row, LtoR: Piseth, Sovan, Sovannrithy, Pheng, Laboravy, Yaty. Front: Srin, Suhana, Daravorn, Soksana, Sokumpheak (capt) - courtesy of Masayori Ishikawa/CAMPA/Khmer Goal|
The Cambodia national team found themselves a new poster pin-up boy when Sok Chanrasmey left the substitutes bench with thirty minutes of the game remaining, and turned this AFF Suzuki Cup qualifying match on its head with a hat-trick of goals to earn his team a 3-2 victory, after they trailed by two goals with fifty minutes of the game played. The shock of the round said the TV commentator as Cambodia's national team came back from the dead to beat Timor-Leste in Laos this afternoon. Entering the fray as a replacement for Ngoy Srin, the TriAsia substitute Chanrasmey was on for five minutes before he netted his first on 65 minutes as Prak Mony Udom pulled the ball across the face of goal for an easy tap-in. While Sou Yaty kept his team in the game with a world class save at the one end, Chanrasmey was in space to direct his header into the corner from a Khuon Laboravy cross at the other on 78 minutes. And the Cambodian players were in seventh heaven just four minutes later as Chan Vathanaka lashed a shot against the cross-bar and as it bounced down, Chanrasmey made sure it counted as he headed the ball home. A turnaround of monumental importance to keep Cambodia's qualifying chances alive. There was still time for Laboravy to hit the foot of the post. In truth, whilst the victory was sweet for Cambodia, their opponents visibly wilted as the game wore on, playing their third game in six days and having lost two of their better players, recalled by their Kuwaiti club. The first-half was pretty poor fare by any standard and it was Timor who took a 25th minute lead when a free-kick took a deflection en route, caught Yaty going the wrong way and all he could do was palm it onto the knee of Barbosa who accepted the gift. Six minutes after the break, Timor pulled further in front when Bertoldo found space in the box and finished with a flourish, back-heeling the ball past Yaty. It was the only piece of flair Timor produced, despite a sprinkling of Brazilians in their line-up. Two quick substitutions by Cambodia's Korean coach Lee Tae-Hoon and the new faces combined to open the door for Cambodia's revival, which they took full advantage of. "We were a bit lucky today as Timor had played two matches straight and it was obvious that they were tired. They were also missing two key players,” said Lee after the match. “We had some defensive problems, so this is something which we need to work on.” Cambodia now meet the favourites to progress, Myanmar on Saturday, hoping to keep their renewed dream alive.
Cam v Timor: Yaty, Pheng, Sovannrithy, Daravorn, Piseth, Sovan, Sokumpheak, Suhana (Udom 54), Srin (Chanrasmey 60), Soksana (Vathanaka 35), Laboravy. Subs not used: Sophea, Visal, Samoeun, Sothearath, Chhoeun, Virak. Bookings: None. MOTM: Chanrasmey. Goals: Chanrasmey 3 (65, 78, 82).