Friday, March 6, 2015

National team triumph at last

PPCFC vs NT, back row, LtoR: Kochi, S Pisa, Boris, Kim, Makara, Obadin. Front Row: Sothy, Da, Sokheng, Tola, Booysen - click to enlarge
Result: Phnom Penh Crown 1 Cambodia National Team 2 (Friendly).
The Cambodia national team finally broke their hoodoo against Crown and came out on top in this afternoon's friendly match at RSN Stadium, as they prepare for next week's World Cup game against Macau. In previous matches between Crown and the national team it was the club side who held an unbeaten record, until today. With Lee Tae-Hoon's team playing their second match in two days, following a 1-0 win over Naga, he was unable to include Bin Thierry against his own team, after he picked up an ankle injury the day before. Crown coach Sam Schweingruber was missing the injured George Bisan and Momoh Sumaila and gave a starting place in midfield to Sean Pisa, with new arrival from Sierra Leone, Santigie Koroma on the bench. The visitors began brightly with Chan Vathanak blasting over and Odion Obadin denying Khuon Laboravy with a timely block. On 11 minutes Shane Booysen found himself in space but his attempted lob went straight to keeper Um Sereyrath. With three Crown players playing against their own club side, it was Va Sokthorn who posed the most threat and another Obadin block and tackle denied his Khmer-French teammate a clear shot on goal. Japanese goalkeeper Jun Kochi kept out a shot by Chan Vathanaka, before Jeongho Kim challenged Sereyrath for a Thourng Da cross, only for the keeper to gather it at the second attempt. On 25 minutes, Vathanaka went down all-too easily as Kochi came out to gather and the referee pointed to the spot. The Japanese keeper, who has been playing in Thailand for the last few years, made amends with a brilliant dive to his right to push Vathanaka's penalty wide. Booysen was fouled on the edge of the penalty box but his curling free-kick was wide of the far post by a yard. Ngoy Srin found himself in a good position but sent his effort wide before Kim capitalised on a defensive error by Say Piseth and bore down on goal, only to get a shove in the back as he fired over, with the referee turning a blind eye to the obvious infringement.

With five minutes of the first half remaining, the national team broke the deadlock. A wayward backpass by Leng Makara was pounced on by Vathanaka and he had the easy task of rolling it wide of Kochi for the opening goal. Two minutes later, Obadin broke past two defenders into the box and his precise pass was skewed wide of the far poat by Ouk Sothy, when an equaliser looked on the cards. Kochi recovered from a slip to keep out Sokthorn's effort but he was left stranded when Hoy Phallin supplied Vathanaka and his low cross was turned in by Laboravy for their second goal on the stroke of halftime. There was still time for Laboravy to send another good chance wide of the target with only Kochi to beat. At the break, the national team changed all eleven players whilst Crown sent on Koroma for his first taste of the action. The youngster, who played for Sierra Leone's U-20s last year, didn't have to wait long before making an impact. Booysen's chip over the backline created confusion with Sou Yaty and Touch Pancharong colliding, leaving Koroma the easy task of tapping the ball home from a yard with his first touch. A nice way for the teenager to announce his arrival. His pace was causing Pancharong problems though his eagerness saw him caught offside three times in quick succession. Obadin's ball forward was back-headed by Booysen as Yaty collected the ball on the goal-line, and Koroma's tricky wing play set up Makara close-in but his miskick went astray. At the other end, Moung Makara's shot was blocked by Kochi's legs, and Da made a timely tackle on Kouch Sokumpheak as he looked set to get a shot away. An Obadin back-pass fell short and Sary Matnorotin rounded Kochi but his effort struck the upright, with Makara also lobbing a 20-yard effort against the Crown cross-bar. Crown's Makara sent a dipping volley goalwards with the home team's final chance but Yaty dived to his left to keep out the shot at the foot of the post, to deny the team he left a few weeks before. On the balance of play, a win for the national team was just about deserved.
PPCFC vs NT: Kochi (Ary 77), Da, Sokheng (Boran 46), Boris (Titchhy 90), Obadin, Sothy, S Pisa (Chanpolin 46), Makara (Polo 86), Tola (Koroma 46), Booysen, Kim (Yapo 78). Subs not used: Srey, Chhaya, Sovann, C Pisa, Baraing, Charly. MOTM: Kochi. Goal: Koroma (47).
The starting national team XI, included PPCFC's Sokthorn, Srin and Suhana

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