|PPCFC vs SVR, back row, LtoR: Srin, Matnorotin, Pisa, Sokthorn, Thierry, Boris (capt). Front: Ary, Suhana, Sokheng, Makara, Sothy - click to enlarge|
Phnom Penh Crown were knocked out of the Hun Sen Cup at the home of Svay Rieng, in the quarter-finals, the same stage they exited the competition a year earlier. They travelled the 140kms to the provincial capital with a fully-fit squad of Khmer players and coach Sam Schweingruber opted for a striking duo of Bin Thierry and Va Sokthorn against the competition favourites, Svay Rieng. In front of a large home following, Prak Mony Udom tried his luck from 20 yards out by Yok Ary caught the free-kick comfortably. Another Udom free-kick saw Ary punch clear only to be clattered by Nob Tola after the ball had gone, with no action taken by referee Lim Buntheoun. Crown's first opening came on 16 minutes as Sos Suhana sent Leng Makara surging forward but his shot was held comfortably low down by Aim Sovannarath. Sary Matnorotin joined Chhom Pisa in the referee's notebook with less than twenty minutes played as Buntheoun tried to unnecessarily stamp his authority on the tie. Tola sent a near post header wide of the mark for the home team and Thierry headed down for Sokthorn, only for his shot to blaze high and wide. On 26 minutes Udom's pace undid the Crown back-line and as Ary came out to challenge, the SVR striker slipped past him and rolled the ball into an unguarded net for the opening goal. Ngoy Srin got on the end of a Thierry free-kick but headed wide and Matnorotin fired a shot inches wide from Touch Sokheng's center. As Crown pressed, Sokheng blasted a shot high and Matnorotin had two opportunities to level but failed. The first arrived from Leng Makara's cross but he placed his shot wide, and then Thierry's pass found him in the box but he waited too long to pull the trigger and his shot was blocked. With SVR nerves fraying, keeper Sovannarath was cautioned for an altercation with Srin and from the resulting corner, Ouk Sothy headed onto the top of the net to leave SVR with a slender lead at the break.
Crown stopper Ary dived full length to fingertip a drive from Udom around the post seven minutes after the restart and moments later, Sovannarath was writhing around in agony after an innocuous challenge by Makara. A hopeful cross was missed by two defenders though Udom sent his finish a long way clear of the cross-bar, and then Srin sent a header too high from Thierry's free-kick. Crown found themselves two-goals behind on 69 minutes as Srin dallied on the ball just inside the SVR half, Udom robbed him and sprinted clear to finish with precision. It was the turning point of the match. Ten minutes later, Tola turned Pisa inside out in the box and drove a third past Ary and a minute later, Udom set up Phany Rotha and he calmly slid the ball inside the far post for two SVR goals in as many minutes. Game effectively over though Crown refused to lie down and finished strongly, albeit too late to rescue the tie. Long Boran's blast from Matnorotin's center was tipped over acrobatically by Sovannarath, and Sokthorn's low drive was held at the second attempt. In the first minute of stoppage time, Matnorotin found the run of Srin and his cross-shot was met by a lurking Um Tola for a tap-in to give Crown a consolation goal. Moments later, Tola fed Boran but his fierce strike was inches too high as the final whistle blew on Crown's hopes of cup success this season. Head coach Sam Schweingruber gave his verdict: "In the 1st half we counted we had 7 shots, they had five, but we were not brave enough, not doing what we asked them to do in the box, way too many touches and not brave enough to try to score. To concede the 1st goal was not acceptable, but up front we needed to do better. We had a plan for the 2nd half, we had a few half chances before we conceded again. The 2nd goal we gave away was unacceptable. I am very angry with the way we defended, but we have to look forward and try to sort it out.".
PPCFC vs SVR: Ary, Pisa, Sokheng, Boris, Srin, Sothy, Suhana, Matnorotin, Makara (Boran 74), Thierry (Tola 84), Sokthorn. Subs not used: Usarphea, Chetra, Lavy, Charly, Da, Polo. Bookings: Pisa, Matnorotin. SVR 4 bookings. MOTM: Matnorotin. Goal: Tola (90+1). Referee: Lim Bunthoeun.