|PPCFC vs Boeungket, back row, LtoR: Srin, Thierry, Sokthorn, Polo, Pisa, Ary. Front Row: Makara, Boran, Suhana, Da, Boris (capt) - click to enlarge|
With both teams already through to the last eight, Crown rested four players with knocks and bookings, with one eye on the weekend's quarter-final which will be played in Svay Rieng. The opening salvo came from Crown and Long Boran who won a tackle but fired his shot meekly wide in the second minute. A minute later a Bin Thierry free-kick was met by Sor Polo but his header missed the target too. A weak header out by Chhom Pisa gave Ly Ravy a sight of goal by Yok Ary was equal to the strike, and minutes later Khuon Laboravy went around Ary but lost control as Ngoy Srin cleared the danger. Ary was again in the action, diving to the foot of the upright to turn Laboravy's free-kick past the post on 22 minutes. Crown were relying on counter-attack and it nearly paid off as Leng Makara sprinted onto Sos Suhana's through ball, only to touch it wide as Peng Bunchhay came out of his area to challenge him. The final action of the half came as Polo tried his luck from long distance but Bunchhay dealt with it comfortably.
Va Sokthorn moved onto a loose ball but his aim was off target as the second-half got underway, his shot going wide of the post. Thierry was booked for complaining to the match referee after he received an elbow in the face, and moments later lax marking at a corner saw Crown concede in the fourth minute after the restart. Keo Sokpheng's corner kick was hoisted into the box, Laboravy jumped unopposed and with Ary's view blocked, the ball found its way inside the post. Laboravy was Boeungket's only danger and Ary grabbed the ball off his toe and the striker then missed a sitter, after Kok Boris had deflected a cross to him just eight yards from goal. On 56 minutes, Makara outfoxed Ros Samoeun but his strike was kept out by Bunchhay's feet, and Ary did the same to Laboravy a few moments later. Srin was booked for a late challenge and was lucky not to see red a little while later, after referee Vichheka missed a leading forearm challenge on Sok Pheng. Um Tola arrived in place of Polo and was just off target with a volley from Makara's right-wing center. Just after the hour, Touch Pancharong escaped a booking for a deliberate handball on the edge of the penalty area, while Thierry's free-kick was blasted into the defensive wall. Boran got a shot on target which Bunchhay fumbled and Sokthorn's goal-bound touch was on cleared off the line by Ly Ravy. Pancharong was finally cautioned for a rugby tackle on Chey Chetra and then stood on the ball to stop a quick free-kick. Referee Vichheka was oblivious to Crown's appeals. With the game entering the final twenty minutes, Crown upped their game and Thierry's speculative 30-yard drive was held by Bunchhay at the second attempt. Sokthorn led the Rubbermen's defence a merry dance but his perfect cross was headed over the top by Suhana from eight yards as a great opportunity went begging. At the other end of the pitch, Srin got in a timely block on Laboravy after Pisa's wayward backpass. Sok Sovan came to Boeungket's rescue with a timely block as Sokthorn blasted a Makara pass goalwards, and as play swung to the other end, Ary was quickly out to take the ball from Chan Vathanaka. Bunchhay was booked for time-wasting and then came to his side's rescue with a game-winning save at the foot of the post from Thierry's 35-yard free-kick in the fourth minute of injury time.
Both teams go through to the quarter-finals, with Crown to face home team Svay Rieng on Sunday at 6.30pm. Boeungket meet Naga at 4pm the same afternoon. Crown head coach Sam Schweingruber spoke after the final whistle; "Everything we did today was in preparation for Sunday's game, we didn't want to take a risk with certain players like [Matno]Rotin, so we left him on the bench. The first half went to plan, we looked in control, comfortable and a few times looked good on the counter-attack. Quite happy. 2nd half - we should never concede on a set piece, our preparation was very specific. Very disappointing as it was a very average corner kick. We must do better. It changed the game, it became a lot more open, but we had enough chances to get a draw. At times we were very good, particularly Sokthorn who was unstoppable today. It was frustrating we didn't do better. Now we know we play Svay Rieng, and we will do everything possible to win that game on Sunday."
PPCFC vs BKet: Ary, Pisa, Da, Srin (Sothy 90), Boris, Thierry, Suhana, Makara, Boran (Chetra 68), Sokthorn, Polo (Tola 59). Subs not used: Usarphea, Matnorotin, Lavy, Charly, Sokheng. Bookings: Thierry, Srin. MOTM: Sokthorn - always causing problems. Ref: Tuy Vichheka.