Friday, January 9, 2015

Poor decisions

Chroy Changvar (PPCFC U-17s), back row, LtoR: Chanchav, Soksela, Sakrovy, Chhaya, Senteang, Chanpolin. Front: Noron, Ponvuthy, Noeut, Samnang, Baraing - click to enlarge
Result: Chroy Changvar (Phnom Penh Crown Academy U-17s) 1 Albirex Niigata 3 (Hun Sen Cup).
Two crucial decisions by the match referee Neang Sopharith did the U-17s no favours in their second Hun Sen Cup match in two days. This second defeat means an end to their hopes of Cup progress, with one game still to be played. Twice Albirex keeper Pich Rovinyothin brought down Chhuot Senteang in reckless last-man challenges, one in each half, and both justified a red card. The referee issued one yellow and gave a penalty for the other. In fact, Rovinyothin then saved Mat Sakrovy's spot-kick, just to inflict more injustice.

Under the hot sun with their second 1.30pm kick-off in a row, it was Albirex who threatened first when Keo Soksela was alert to push aside Mart Hasan's low drive and then throw himself in the way of Ek Vannak's follow-up. Soon after Crown striker Senteang raced clear of the backline but sent his fizzing drive over the cross-bar. On 15 minutes the first contentious decision by referee Sopharith saw him wave only a yellow card at Albirex keeper Rovinyothin for a feet-first tackle on Senteang as he raced clear onto Kim Chhaya's pass. It was outside the box but with a clear run on goal, a red card seemed unavoidable. The free-kick came to nothing. Two minutes later Mat Noron weaved into the box, rounded Rovinyothin but sent his angled shot across the face of goal and wide. At the other end Soksela came out to deny ex-PPCFC winger Neou Sosela, but on 25 minutes, the young keeper could only palm Sosela's left-wing free-kick to the far post where the ball hit the head of Chhim Bunsan and sailed into the net. Five minutes later, Soksela kept out two more efforts, whilst at the other end, the Academy cashed in on some quick thinking and speedy reactions. Mat Sakrovy's quickly-taken free-kick sent Mat Noron free and his side-step around Rovinyothin allowed him to plant the ball into an empty net for the equaliser on 34 minutes. With five minutes of the half remaining, Albirex caught the Academy napping down the left wing and Men Seyha's bye-line cross was touched home by Mart Hasan, to put his team ahead once more. before the interval break, Chhaya tried his luck from distance without reward, while Soksela was again out smartly to deny Vannak.

The Academy began brightly and Pov Ponvuthy's bye-line cross-shot was palmed out by Rovinyothin with less than a minute on the clock. Albirex rattled the edge of the cross-bar but with seven minutes of the second-half played, another rash Rovinyothin challenge offered the Academy a way back. Orn Chanpolin's pass through the defence found a willing runner in Senteang, only for Rovinyothin to take his legs away with his flailing arms. Referee Sopharith pointed to the spot but refused to issue another card, either yellow or a straight red. It was clearly a second bookable offence at the very least, but the match official failed to act. As it was, Sakrovy's spot-kick, to Rovinyothin's right was too close to the keeper and the stopper, who shouldn't have been on the pitch, became his team's hero. Rough justice for the Academy. With legs tiring, changes brought on In Sodavid and his pass sent Senteang racing clear again, only for the striker to under-hit his shot directly at the keeper. On 79 minutes, Soksela came rushing off his line as Math Rofazy latched onto Sosela's punted pass and with the goal unguarded, the Albirex winger lobbed the ball inside the far post for his team's third. There was time for Vannak to hit the bar and then blast over as the Academy defence tired visibly, and sank to their second consecutive defeat.
Chroy Changvar: Soksela, Noeut, Baraing, V Samnang. Chanchav, Chanpolin, Sakrovy, Chhaya (Sodavid 67), Noron (Rozak 60), Ponvuthy (Titchhy 78), Senteang. Subs not used: Chanvuthy, Phearath, Sovann, Chansopheak, Piphop. Booking: Samnang. Goal: Noron (34). MOTM: Chanpolin.

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