Friday, February 28, 2014

Biggest in the world

The entry of Guangzhou Evergrande into this season's Asia U-16 Champions Trophy gives the competition a massive endorsement from Asia's biggest club side. Just take a look at their academy. Evergrande's youth project has no less than 2,300 students, located some 75kms from Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong province in southern China. Everything about the club is big. Not only is it China’s largest academy dedicated to football but it's almost certainly the biggest in the world. The complex has 50 football pitches and is building 30 more. On the 167-acre campus, there's a large stadium, a cavernous movie auditorium, an outdoor swimming pool, tennis courts and ping-pong tables, six canteens, a gym, a library and an enormous computer room. In a link-up with Real Madrid no less, there are 22 Spanish coaches attached to Evergrande. Two thirds of the students, who come from all over China, pay fees of $5,800 a year, while the rest receive scholarships. The school is the brainchild of Xu Jiayin, a property tycoon and one of China’s richest men. He bought the club in 2010 and has turned them into an unstoppable force. The club has won the Chinese Super League three years running and became the first Chinese team in 23 years to win the Asian Champions League. But it hasn't come cheap. Over $200 million has been pumped into the club by its benefactor. Phnom Penh Crown is proud of its own academy but this is youth development on an industrial scale as they seek to find and build China's stars of the future. It will make for a fascinating visit by the Crown youngsters, when they go to China to play Evergrande's U-16s on 7 June that's for sure.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Asia Champions Trophy Draw

Phnom Penh Crown's Academy will once again enter the region's most exciting youth competition for Under-16 players, the Asia Champions Trophy 2014, beginning in May. There will be twelve teams from 11 different countries in Asia including new teams from China and India this year. It promises to be another fantastic competition for the Academy youngsters with matches on a home and away basis against U-16 teams from China, Thailand, Malaysia, Myanmar and Laos. Drawn in Group B, each team plays 10 matches and the top two teams from each group progress to the semi-finals. The draw has been made and more details of venue/times will follow, but for now, here is the schedule of matches for the PPCFC Academy;
Sat 17 May v Frenz United Malaysia B - home
Sat 24 May v Lao Toyota - home
Sat 31 May v Chonburi Thailand - home
Sat 7 Jun v Guangzhou Evergrande China - away
Sat 14 Jun v Myanmar U16 National Team - home
Sat 21 Jun v Myanmar U16 NT - away
Sat 28 Jun v Guangzhou Evergrande China - home
Sat 5 Jul v Chonburi Thailand - away
Sat 12 Jul v Lao Toyota - away
Sat 19 Jul v Frenz United Malaysia B - away
Some fabulous matches in prospect, home and away, with the entry of Guangzhou Evergrande from China, one of the biggest clubs in the world, and last year's winners, Chonburi, suggesting Crown's group will be the toughest. But that's what the Academy want - to test themselves against the best.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Borey seals the win

PPCFC v Nat Police, back row, LtoR: Srin, Boris, Sokheng, Borey, Ary, Sokumpheak (capt). Front: Sothy, Da, Suhana, Pheng, Thierry - click to enlarge
Result: Phnom Penh Crown 1 National Police 0 (Hun Sen Cup - Pool C).
With TriAsia winning 15-1 earlier in the day, Phnom Penh Crown knew they had yo get at least a point from tonight's evening kick-off at the Olympic Stadium in order to progress into the quarter-finals. National Police, their opponents were already assured of a place, but who would top the group. Crown were without Leng Makara, enjoying a special match of his own, his marriage, while Neou Sosela was suspended and Long Boran out with a knee injury. Yok Ary got the nod over Sou Yaty between the sticks, as he has done for all three cup matches. The first ten or so minutes passed without incident before Police had their goalkeeper Thorng Chanraksmey to thank for two spectacular saves to keep Crown at bay. On fourteen minutes Khim Borey fed Sos Suhana and his shot from 15 yards was pushed one-handed around the post by the stopper. From the corner, Suhana's weak effort was pounced on by Kouch Sokumpheak just eight yards out, but Chanraksmey somehow managed to get a palm to his piledriver and a corner was the result. Moments later, Touch Sokheng pulled-back his delivery to the edge of the box, where Bin Thierry blasted his shot well over the bar. Little had been seen of Police as an attacking force though Noun Borey's drive was blocked by Kok Boris for a corner. On 33 minutes, an unforced error by Chanraksmey was to haunt him for the rest of this cup tie. Thourng Da's lofted cross from the left flank was a bread and butter catch for the keeper, but he dropped it behind his head and Khim Borey, lurking at the far post, stuck out a foot and Crown were a goal ahead. It was Borey's eighth goal of the competition. A few minutes later, Yok Ary took an age to clear his lines and Borey nearly robbed him, then Thierry sent a long range free-kick into Chanraksmey's hands and to close the half, a clearance from Hong Pheng saw Borey spurt into the Police box but there was no-one on the end of his cross. A comfortable first-half for Crown who went in deservedly a goal front.

Crown keeper Ary got a hand to Ol Ravy's curling free-kick early in the second half, before Khim Borey sent a shot past the post and then crossed invitingly but Suhana and Thierry both failed to get a decisive touch in front of goal. Fifteen minutes in and Boris was booked after he vented his frustration at referee Thong Chankethya, in charge of a Crown game for the second time in five days. Police, in his view, had handled the ball twice during a build-up that saw Lun Chamroeun blast his shot over the top. A couple of minutes later and Tith Dina clipped the top of the Crown cross-bar with a snap shot, which was the closest Police came all evening. Thierry send a shot well wide and then Suhana's cross saw Chanraksmey collide with a defender, and with both on the ground, Khim Borey's effort was stopped at the foot of the post by Say Piseth. That was the last we saw of Chanraksmey who was replaced. A minute later and Suhana's break into the box was cleared, before Sokumpheak's perfect cross bounced too high for Borey with just the keeper to beat, and all he could do was punt it into the air. Ary was called into action to drop on a back-header from Srey Udom and as Police pressed late on, Boris again was in the way of a San Thydeth goal-bound drive. Five minutes of added on time made no difference as Crown collected the three points to end the group matches on top with 7 points from their three games, and book a quarter-final tie with BBU in a week's time. In the match before this one, BBU had drawn 2-2 with Army.

Crown head coach Sam Schweingruber gave his view of the tie: "I was quite surprised at how passionate and intense Police were, considering they'd already qualified. They pushed to try and get a result. Against a physically strong, hard-working team, it wasn't an easy game for us and we didn't help ourselves, we are still not at that level of patience and not relaxed enough in situations, rushing things and giving away possession too quickly and putting ourselves under pressure. So in that sense, it was a real hard-fought victory and one we can be proud of, Police challenged us and we certainly had to be at our best. I'm very pleased with the overall defensive work of the team, who managed to keep a clean sheet, particularly at set pieces, which we worked on - we were much more switched on today. Now we meet BBU, and we cannot be complacent after our recent win over them. Games against them are never easy and I will make sure the players understand that ahead of the Quarter-Final next week."
PPCFC v Nat Police: Ary, Pheng, Da, Srin, Boris, Thierry, Sothy (Morslim 84), Sokumpheak, Sokheng (Tola 62), Suhana (Dara 89), Borey. Subs not used: Yaty, Soksela, Sarak, Titchhy, Pisa, Phearun. Bookings: Srin, Boris, Pheng. MOTM: Boris - a rock in defence. Goal: Borey (33).

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Bojan back in business

Former fans favourite at Phnom Penh Crown, Bojan Hodak is back in business. The Croatian coach who had half a season with Crown in 2011 before a stint in China with Shandong, then created a whirlwind of success when he led Malaysia's Kelantan to a treble-winning season in 2012. He left at the end of the next season and has been seen on tv as a football pundit in recent months. It was announced today that he's joined Malaysian Super League moneybags Johor Darul Takzim (JDT) as manager, to work in tandem with coach Cesar Jimenez, a former coach of Valencia and Athletico Madrid. An interesting match up with the team expected to win things. Bojan made a lot of friends in his time with Crown and is fondly remembered by all.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Army spring a surprise

Metfone C-League Round-up.
The Army sprung a big surprise in yesterday's Metfone C-League game against champions Svay Rieng at their home stadium, winning 3-1 and registering their first win of the season. Soksana and Vannak gave them an early lead and Chhoeun added another late on. Dzarma headed in Svay Rieng's consolation. In the other game at the same venue, AEU drew 1-1 with Kirivong. Following the big match at the Olympic Stadium, where Boeung Ket beat Phnom Penh Crown 3-1, Western Uni went down 2-0 to BBU, who recovered after a couple of disastrous results to win the clash of the university teams. Sunday afternoon saw NagaCorp take on Albirex Niigata and two goals from Barry Lelouma at either end of the game sealed the points in Naga's favour, with a 2-0 scoreline. Albirex showed some nice touches but no penetration. In a tight game under the lights, a single goal and a screamer from Suong Virak from thirty yards on the hour settled it for TriAsia against National Police. Crown remain in first place in the league table on goal difference from Naga, TriAsia and Police, with five games played.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Crown go down to rivals

PPCFC v Boeung Ket. Back Row, LtoR: Katanha, Bisan, Thierry, Boris, Obadin, Yaty. Front Row: Srin, Makara, Pheng, Borey, Sokumpheak - click to enlarge
Result: Phnom Penh Crown 1 Boeung Ket 3 (Metfone C-League).
That was not supposed to be the result of the eagerly-awaited Clash of the Titans at Olympic Stadium this afternoon. Coach Sam Schweingruber kept the side that demolished BBU the week before though Neou Sosela broke down in the pre-match warm-up and couldn't take part. A large crowd was ready but it appeared Crown were not as their first fifteen minutes of the match was nervy and slow. Ros Samoeun had the first chance of the game on three minutes as he cut inside and fired in a low drive that Sou Yaty blocked and caught at the second attempt. Yaty raced out of his box to challenge Khuon Laboravy as he moved onto a long ball and the striker got a touch which went wide of the post before he and Yaty collided. Chan Vathanaka sent a curling shot wide and Elroy van der Hooft missed getting a vital touch by an inch or two to a Laboravy through ball. It was all Boeung Ket for fifteen minutes. Crown's sole effort was a wayward George Bisan header from Khim Borey's cross and they had Odion Obadin booked for a trip on Vathanaka. On 28 minutes the game changed. A foul on Borey gave Bin Thierry the chance to test Peng Bunchhay from 30 yards and the Boeung Ket keeper punched the swinging free-kick into the air, Borey headed back into the melee and Bunchhay went down, shot by a sniper, as he collided with Obadin. With Boeung Ket players screaming in his ear, referee Thong Chankethya reached for his yellow card and then the red. Crown were down to ten men, Boeung Ket were handed a massive advantage on a silver platter and Chankethya was once again at the center of the action, something he clearly relishes. Boeung Ket made their numerical superiority count at the next corner, on 37 minutes. Vathanaka's flag-kick was headed powerfully in by Laboravy at the near post as Yaty couldn't keep the ball from crossing the line. From the kick-off Bisan brushed aside three defenders though his aim from 40 yards out was awry. Two minutes after the goal, Keo Sokngon let rip with a forty yard shot of his own which crashed against the cross-bar to safety, and the last action of the half saw van der Hooft head into Yaty's arms.

Crown caught Boeung Ket napping themselves at the start of the second half. One minute and 24 seconds after the restart, Borey's cut-back cross was headed on by Bisan and Newton Katanha, with his back to goal, produced a superb scissor-kick that arrowed into the bottom corner. A worthy equaliser. The game settled down with Boeung Ket's advantage not noticeable, though a Vathanaka bye-line cross saw Yaty scrambling to palm it away from danger. Katanha was replaced by Sos Suhana on 69 minutes and thirty seconds later he spurned a glorious opportunity after Ngoy Srin's pass found him all alone and in space at the far post. His left foot strike sailed past the post by a foot. Sok Sovan and Laboravy were booked for Boeung Ket as their frustration grew, the latter for an elbow in Kok Boris' face. On 74 minutes Srin was felled and Thierry's 30-yard free kick was scrambled away by Bunchhay at the foot of the upright for a corner. Boris was stretchered off with cramp and without their two central defenders, Crown were caught cold at Boeung Ket's next corner, seven minutes from time. Vathanaka's center created panic and Chukwuma Ohuruogu was the first to react to stab the ball over the line from six yards. A crushing blow that Crown didn't deserve for their efforts. At the other end, Suhana and Kouch Sokumpheak saw their goal-bound attempts hit bodies and a Thierry free-kick was punched onto the back of Sok Sovan by Bunchhay as panic gripped the Boeung Ket back-line. A few seconds into five minutes of injury time and that panic turned to relief as Chankethya failed to give Crown a free-kick for a high foot, Laboravy found space and unleashed a vicious drive over Yaty that went in off the far post. A 3-1 win for the Rubbermen of Kompong Cham but Crown deserved better.

Sam Schweingruber spoke at the final whistle of his team's performance and the match overall. "We looked 2nd best for the first 15-20 minutes. We had a hard time dealing with their attacking line-up, and how aggressive they were and didn't get into our game until the time the red card came. We had a free-kick excellently saved and a couple of moments that didn't go our way and unfortunately it went against us with the red card. I'm personally disappointed at that situation as the referee listened to Elroy's demands for a 2nd yellow - certain players do that and ref's go for it and start booking players because other players asked for it. For over 60 minutes with 1-man down, and our main defensive player at that, I think we managed well and got the team back on track. An early goal in the 2nd half and quite comfortably in the game, we had a really good chance with Suhana and could've possibly nicked it 2-1. Unbelievable that we concede in one game from 2 set pieces, 2 corner kicks, that's just shocking. Both goals are unacceptable, our defending was very poor and not what we are capable of doing. Lucky enough, its early in the season and nothing too much has been lost, in that sense. If we play the football we showed in the 2nd half, and bounce back, then we are still a force to be reckoned with."
PPCFC v Boeung Ket: Yaty, Srin, Pheng, Boris (Sothy 82), Obadin, Thierry, Sokumpheak, Borey, Makara, Bisan, Katanha (Suhana 69). Subs not used: Ary, Soksela, Da, Pisa, Dara, Boran, Tola, Sokheng. Bookings: Obadin (+ red card). MOTM: Thierry. Goal: Katanha (47).

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Litter pickers

The identity of the guy with the fat arse picking up litter is being kept secret at this time, until he goes on a diet ran a positive news piece today, showing pictures of Phnom Penh Crown coach Sam Schweingruber doing his bit for the environment. Sam is a stickler for tidiness and is always picking up used plastic water bottles and rubbish, whether it's at our own training ground or at the country's football stadiums. It's an example he sets to his team and colleagues and is just one of the good habits that he instils into those around him. As you can see from the top picture, he's got others following in his footsteps. Good for Sabay to pick up the story. A positive feel good message does no-one any harm.
Head coach Sam Schweingruber, leading by example

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Crown thrash BBU

PPCFC v BBU. Back Row, LtoR: Obadin, Katanha, Bisan, Thierry, Boris, Borey. Front Row: Srin, Makara, Pheng, Yaty, Sokumpheak - click to enlarge
Result: Phnom Penh Crown 5 BBU 0 (Metfone C-League).
Phnom Penh Crown were seeking a victory to return to the top of the Metfone C-League table against Build Bright United on Sunday afternoon at Olympic Stadium, and they achieved it in some style. With Newton Katanha returning to the starting line-up, George Bisan played just behind the main striker and created havoc for BBU whenever he was in possession, starting in the second minute as he robbed Phlong Chanthou though his shot was deflected into the hands of the game's busiest man, keeper Sos Proshim. For BBU this was a foretaste of things to come. A minute later, Proshim had to be alert to keep out a low drive from Leng Makara and on eleven minutes, he was off his line quickly to save at the feet of Katanha with his own sliding tackle. Before we had time to breathe, Bisan moved onto a Hong Pheng throw-in, strode into the area but Proshim was again on his toes, sliding in to dispossess the striker as he dallied on the ball. Just seconds later Phin Pheara was the man to thank as Makara shaped to shot inside the box. Bisan tried his luck from 35 yards out, but the ball flew over and on 22 minutes, Bin Thierry's precise pass sent the big Nigerian scampering into the area only for his low near post effort to be blocked by Proshim's prostrate body. A goal had to come and the pressure finally told on 23 minutes as Kim Borey converted a spot-kick with confidence, after Makara had dispossessed Chanthou from a poor goal-kick, sprinted around the onrushing keeper, only for Chanthou to bowl him over as he shaped to shoot. The only surprise was the referee's failure to act on the last man rule and dismiss the defender. He wasn't even cautioned. A minute later and Borey nearly made it two from a 30-yard free-kick, which arrowed towards the top corner only for Proshim to get his fingertips to it, help it onto the cross-bar and away from danger. In less than sixty seconds, Borey sent another long range effort towards the far corner, Proshim's diving push-out didn't go far enough and Bisan was onto it in a flash, but toe-poked his effort wide of Proshim and the upright. It was total domination by Crown, who kept the ball, and used it purposefully to continue to create a string of chances.

Borey continued to pepper shots towards the BBU keeper as another went narrowly wide, before Kok Boris sent Katanha away, he held off Chanthou but again found Proshim's body blocking his near post strike. Thierry followed Borey's example and sent a stinging 30-yarder skidding inches wide of the post before Katanha opened up his Crown account on 37 minutes with an expertly-taken goal. Bisan's header on the half-way line sent Katanha away, he beat his marker and his aim was true as he rifled in a low drive inside the near post for two-nil. Two minutes later he neatly headed in Makara's right-wing center only to look up and see the linesman's raised flag for offside. It was marginal. Bisan was hungry for a goal as he robbed BBU's Japanese defender Yusuke Yamagata and tried his luck by making space but Proshim denied him again with his feet. It was a common story of the first-half but that all changed on 42 minutes. Thierry and Makara put pressure on the BBU back-line and Bisan latched onto the latter's knock-down to rifle his shot in off the upright from just inside the penalty box. It was a relief after a fistful of near misses and he displayed a t-shirt in his celebrations, dedicated to his skipper's son's birthday. With two seconds of the half to go, Crown went in even happier with a fourth goal from Makara, who raced onto Ngoy Sin's long ball over the top, outpaced the defender and slotted it neatly wide of Proshim. A first-half display to wow the Olympic crowd and the watching TV audience.

For the opening twenty minutes of the second half, Crown continued to push on and dominate proceedings. Borey sent an early diving header well wide, and then chipped a superb pass to Katanha whose shot was smothered by Proshim at close range. Eight minutes in and Bisan was denied what appeared to be a perfectly timed header by the linesman's flag, after his pass to Katanha was palmed aside by Proshim and he followed up to nod home. It was not to be. Borey's shooting and passing continued to make its mark and another chip saw Bisan escape the BBU marking only to volley the ball over the top, when he had time to bring it down. Captain Kouch Sokumpheak's ball to the far post was headed into the side netting by Makara, as Crown took their foot off the gas for a ten minute spell. Three times BBU sent shots goalwards in that spell and each was easily collected by an otherwise redundant Sou Yaty in the Crown goal. Two Thierry free-kicks failed to produce any real danger, Bisan and Makara got in each other's way and the former sent another 20-yard effort wide of the target. With five minutes of the match left, Neou Sosela sent over an inviting cross which Bisan controlled on his chest, held off a defender and though his first shot was blocked by Proshim, he reacted swiftly to poke home the rebound for his second and Crown's fifth. In time added on, Sosela twice missed the target when it looked easier to score. The first from Makara's break and Borey's touch, the second from Bisan's set-up, and both times, the picture of Sosela with his head in his hands, told the story. A dominant display, an avalanche of goals and Crown go to the top of the Metfone C-League on goal difference.
PPCFC v BBU: Yaty, Srin, Pheng (Dara 66), Boris (Sothy 80), Obadin, Thierry, Sokumpheak,. Borey, Makara, George, Katanha (Sosela 77). Subs not used: Ary, Sarak, Da, Tola, Sokheng, Boran, Suhana, Pisa.  Bookings: None. MOTM: Bisan - he was danger personified and scored twice, though Makara and Borey ran him close. Goals: Borey pen (23), Katanha (37), Bisan 2 (42, 85), Makara (45).

Chances go begging

PPCFC v Green Youth line-up, back row, LtoR: Titchhy, Sodavid, Sovann, S Samnang, Senteang, Chanpolin. Front Row: Piphop, Chansopheak, Noeut, Baraing, K Chhaya - click to enlarge
Result: Phnom Penh Crown Academy 2 Green Youth 3 (Friendly).
How the heck did we lose that game? Because we didn't take our chances, that's why. An important lesson for the Phnom Penh Crown Academy boys to learn, having totally dominated play for the opening 45 minutes, going in two goals to the good. They didn't kill off the game, made a host of changes and conceded two goals in the last fifteen minutes to lose this friendly game against the team who recently finished as runner-sup in the adult Cambodia Soccer League. It all started swimmingly well, with Chhuot Senteang and Men Piphop sending in shots that the Green Youth keeper did well to keep out. He had no chance when Suon Noeut gave the Academy a lead on ten minutes, after In Sodavid's pass put Noeut on a clear route to goal and he finished with great calm. Just eight minutes later and Crown were further ahead. A Ken Chansopheak sprint to the bye-line and pull back was hammered into the net by Orn Chanpolin from fifteen yards out. A super goal from a team on top form. Five changes at half-time appeared to backfire within a minute of the restart as Green Youth capitalised on a defensive error. Crown steadied the ship and Mat Nuron looked set to score, only to be denied by the keeper's outstretched leg, and then he set up Pov Ponvuthy, but his drive hit the foot of the upright. Four more changes left the Academy a bit disjointed and Green Youth took advantage with goals on 75 minutes and the winner three minutes from time. It was a disappointing end to a game that Crown had more than held their own, dominated possession for long periods but didn't do enough when they were on top to secure victory.
PPCFC v Green Youth: S Samnang, Chansopheak (Muslim 46), K Chhaya (Phearath 46), Baraing, Sovann (T Chhaya 73), Sodavid (Chanchav 46), Chanpolin (Rozak 70), Piphop (Sakrovy 66), Noeut (Nuron 46), Titchhy (V Samnang 73), Senteang (Ponvuthy 46). Booking: Titchhy. MOTM: Chanpolin. Goals: Noeut (10), Chanpolin (18).
The Green Youth starting line-up

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Naga sank early doors

Metfone C-League Round-Up:
The main game of Saturday was Boeung Ket's revival 2-1 win over NagaCorp, who had everyone scratching their heads as to how they beat BBU by five the week before. Naga looked toothless for the whole game until Boeung Ket started panicking late in the match. It certainly helps when you get given a goal after 1 minute as Naga handed to Chan Vathanaka. Their second came on 17 minutes when Elroy van der Hooft poached a goal from about five inches after Samrith Seiha failed to hold a scuffed Vathanaka shot. Vathanaka and Elroy were down on the ground more than they were on their feet as the Rubbermen dominated the opening half. There wasn't much happening in the second half, apart from the guy in black Thong Chankethya pulling out his yellow card half a dozen times in total, until Boeung Ket got the jitters late on, Chin Chum grabbed a goal back with six minutes to go and then Meak Chhordaravuth fluffed the chance of the match on the stroke of full-time that could've shared the points. To be honest Naga didn't deserve it. In the evening kick-off, Brazilian Santos des Deus wrapped in a goal for Kirivong on 20 minutes but Western's David Njoku saw his cross sail over the head of the Kirivong keeper just before the hour, in a game the University team just about shaded. It ended 1-1. Over at the Army Stadium, it was fun and games as Army drew 1-1 with AEU, who had their debutant, Australian Adriano Pellegrino sent off, after a fracas on the touchline. One of the Army players saw red too. Pellegrino is a top player, having played in the A-League and is just about to join Kedah in Malaysia. His debut didn't go as planned. Obviously. In the earlier game, Hoy Phallin's solitary goal was the difference between his team Svay Rieng, and leaders TriAsia, who lost their first league game. No histrionics from the bench/grandstand this time around. But we don't know what went on behind closed doors.
Postscript: Phnom Penh Crown went to the top of the MCL on Sunday, wiping the floor with BBU, winning 5-0 but it could've been double-figures. In the other game, Albirex Niigata looked good for forty minutes. conceded with the last kick of the first-half and then caved in, losing 5-0 to National Police, who moved into second place. Don't ask me who scored, it was too dark under the Olympic floodlights.

Friday, February 14, 2014

One World Futbol & PPCFC

The One World Futbol - photo by Bob Guerrero
The One World Futbol Project and Chevrolet joined forces with Phnom Penh Crown and SALT Academy to launch the One World Futbol into Cambodia today. The RSN Stadium was a hive of activity this morning as Phnom Penh Crown hosted a Football Festival and the launch of the One World Futbol Project in association with Chevrolet, here in Cambodia. A fantastic initiative designed to bring football and fun into millions of lives through a remarkable invention, the One World Futbol. With partners Chevrolet donating 5,800 of these indestructible balls to Cambodia, Crown and our great friends from the SALT Academy are joining forces to take these futbols around the country.

Today was the first step and 150 young children, mostly boys and some girls too, had a lot of fun with the Crown senior players, Academy and coaching staff at the club's training ground to kick it off. A massive thanks to the One World Project and Chevrolet for their partnership to bring joy to disadvantaged children all over the world, and especially here in Cambodia.

One of the world's largest car brands, Chevrolet have donated 1.5 million virtually indestructible footballs to children living in communities affected by war, natural disasters and extreme poverty. More than half a million children in 137 countries have so far benefited from the project in the last three years and now Cambodia is joining the list, with Chevrolet donating 5,800 One World Futbols all over the country through a partnership with Phnom Penh Crown and the SALT Academy.
The One World Futbol never goes flat and never needs a pump. The balls are made from a rugged material that cannot be punctured or crushed. Whether for use on the street, at the beach, at home or on the roughest landscapes in the world, the One World Futbol will last for years.

Taking part in today's football festival were teams from PSE, COLT, Prek Pra, Tiklork and others. All enjoyed playing with these fantastic One World Futbols and more mini-festivals will be held throughout March and April to distribute the balls around the country. Phnom Penh Crown and the SALT Academy are proud to be associated with this project where play and sport are used to foster social change.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

A baker's dozen

PPCFC v K Chhnang, back row, LtoR: Makara, Boris, Thierry, Srin, Pheng, Sarak. Front Row: Boran, Suhana, Ary, Borey, Sokumpheak - click to enlarge
Result: Kompong Chhnang 0 Phnom Penh Crown 13 (Hun Sen Cup Pool C).
In cup matches, like this Hun Sen Cup Pool C tie, when minnows are pitched against the bigger clubs, the outcome is virtually guaranteed before the game begins. A giant-killing is very unlikely. And that's how it proved to be when Crown met qualifiers Kompong Chhnang at the Army Stadium this afternoon. The first-half proved to be a frustrating 45 minutes for the big-boys, with the bounce of the pitch making it virtually impossible to control the ball with certainty. Head coach Sam Schweingruber later had this to say about his team's opening. "
The 1st half was embarrassing, we were rushing it and nervous for no reason, making a lot of silly mistakes, contrary to how we trained yesterday." And so it proved, with Crown creating more than fifteen clear goalscoring opportunities but only cashing in on three occasions. Long Boran was first to test goalkeeper Morn Kosal in the fifth minute, with the visitors going up the other end immediately and could've taken the lead but skipper Keo Chandara lobbed the ball weakly into Yok Ary's hands. Boran then blasted the ball against the cross-bar before Khim Borey opened the scoring in the 10th minute, turning on a Ngoy Srin pass and sending a left-foot drive into the bottom corner. Other chances came and went before Bin Thierry tried his luck from 20 yards and the bounce beat Kosal's flapping dive with 28 minutes on the clock. Borey bent down to send a header wide, Sos Suhana somehow managed to get his header over the bar from a foot away and Leng Makara prodded against the upright after Kosal had turned Kouch Sokumpheak's shot into his path. A minute before the break, Crown scored a third when Borey touched a Sokumpheak pass onto the post and though Kosal appeared to smother it in time, the linesman flagged that the ball had crossed the line.

After their half-time team rally, Crown almost scored withing 43 seconds of the restart but Borey failed to get a decisive touch to Suhana's pass. Chhnang's Ou Leangheng should've got on the scoresheet as they caught the home side napping, but he screwed his golden opportunity wide. Hong Pheng did the same when Borey set him up, missing the target when it seemed easier to score. Nine minutes into the 2nd period and Crown were back on the goal trail. Thierry's through ball allowed Makara to get a touch past Kosal and the ball rolled into an empty net. It was very much one-way traffic as Crown pushed on for a hatful of goals and Sokumpheak worked a neat interchange with Borey but found Kosal's trailing leg in his way. On 57 minutes, Sokumpheak weaved into the box and though his shot was deflected, Makara was poaching at the far post to turn it in. Two minutes later, Pheng found Borey and his left-foot drive found the corner once more for Crown's sixth and Borey's hat-trick. Kosal was the busiest man on the pitch, blocking shots from Boran twice and Makara before Sokumpheak got on the scoresheet, reacting the quickest after his first shot was saved, to fire home the bouncing loose ball on 64 minutes. Pheng lashed a shot against the cross-bar and Suhana blasted over when well placed before Borey was back in the groove, finishing off a pass from Sokumpheak with twenty minutes to go.

Three minutes later, Ngoy Sastra tried to clear Pheng's goal-bound touch past Kosal, but ended up kicking it into his own net and a minute on, Suhana was on the spot at the far post, after Borey's shot was blocked, for Crown's tenth. Refusing to take their foot off the peddle, Um Tola was felled as he broke into the area but Borey had to wait to take his penalty kick, and when he did he smacked it against the foot of the upright. Soon after Tola inexplicably headed wide at the far post from Borey's cross, Kosal spread himself low to turn Suhana's shot for a corner and Tola again missed a sitter, as he scuffed the ground instead of the ball, from another Borey pass. Four minutes to go and Borey got a flicked header to Pheng's center to send the ball past Kosal, followed quickly by another Tola miss, again heading Borey's cross wide of the upright. It did come right for the substitute, on the stroke of full-time, when he raced onto a Sokumpheak pass and slotted the ball neatly past Kosal. A minute into injury time and Borey completed a double hat-trick when he took his time from Pheng's cross, composed himself and fired in Crown's 13th, a baker's dozen and definitely unlucky for Kompong Chhnang. There was still time for Thierry and Borey to send shots over the bar before the referee had seen enough carnage for one day and called time. I counted 26 goalscoring chances for Crown in the second half - they converted ten of them. Schweingruber's view at the final whistle. "I think we did a lot of things not as we could or should, but all in all we can be happy with the 2nd half in particular. The other team is an amateur team, they don't have the qualities or proper training so you expect to win comfortably. It took us a long time to get into a good rhythm and doing things the way we wanted to. I was glad that we sorted it out in the 2nd half, the players showed me some good signs after the break, when it was a lot better."
PPCFC v Kompong Chhnang: Ary, Srin, Pheng, Sarak, Boris (Dara 38), Thierry, Sokumpheak, Suhana (Sokheng 83), Makara, Boran (Tola 66), Borey. Subs not used: Yaty, Soksela, Da, Pisa, Sothy, Phearun, Morslim. Bookings: None: MOTM: Borey - scored 6. Goals: Borey 6 (10, 45, 59, 70, 86, 90+1), Makara 2 (54, 57), Thierry (28), Sokumpheak (64), Own Goal (73), Suhana (74), Tola (90).

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

National team changes

I see Myanmar have selected a man who knows his stuff to be their national team boss for the next year and a half at least. Serbian Raddy Avramovic, who was in charge of the Singapore national team for ten years until his contract came to an end early last year, has been appointed the new chief coach of Myanmar for this year's AFC Challenge Cup and AFF Suzuki Cup campaigns and onto the 2015 SEA Games, which will be held in his old backyard of Singapore. Avramovic brought Singapore three successes in the Suzuki Cup during his tenure. Myanmar fired their South Korean head coach, Park Sung-Hwa after they failed to qualify for the semi-finals of the SEA Games, held in their home country. Another country with a new man at the helm is Philippines, who have given the task to Thomas Dooley, a former USA international with 81 caps who played a big chunk of his football in Germany. His coaching CV is a bit thin, starting in the Bundesliga's second division, before assisting with the USA team's at U-20 and senior levels.

Here in Cambodia, not one word has been uttered by the Federation or the national team coach, Lee Tae-Hoon, after they finished bottom of their SEA Games qualifying group in Myanmar in December. Not a peep. The sports media here don't bother to ask the questions and the FFC and Lee are more than happy to keep stumm after another dismal campaign. Why open up a can of worms when you can hold your tongue and merrily continue in a role in which you have been singularly unsuccessful for far too long. Lee was given the job for a second time last August, for two years. As Cambodia have failed to qualify for this year's AFC Challenge Cup in May, he won't have that to occupy his mind, but he will need to get his team in shape for the AFF Suzuki Cup qualification competition in Laos around October time. There has been no indication of friendly matches for the national team, which is par for the course, though I'm sure some fifth-rate Korean university team will be over for a friendly and there's always the C-League teams to fill in the void. I seem to be a lone voice in the wilderness when it comes to jabbering on about the national team, the apathy and indifference at every level is mind-boggling, and soul-destroying for anyone that is passionate about football in this country.


With just the two matches played yesterday in the Metfone C-League, the only result I haven't mentioned is the Army versus Western Uni, which as I could've predicted, ended goal-less. That's the type of game Army seem to prefer, especially when they play with Pom Tola as their main striker. He's a full-back. Apparently two Army players got wed at the weekend, so their ranks were depleted. And Ke Vannak didn't spend most of the game on the floor as he did against Phnom Penh Crown the week before. Western had no such excuse and found the net akin to a long-lost relative, after winning the University battle the week before. Their African connection didn't work for them this time around. I think it's going to be a long hard season for both clubs.

Kirivong took on Crown under the floodlights at Olympic and played a similar game as Army did a week before, boring as hell. I can't fathom any team that goes into a match with such a negative attitude, content to defend for the whole game and happy to waste time from the kick-off. As the military did the previous week, Kirivong's players were going down like flies from the get go. The possession stats must've been very high in Crown's favour but it took until the last seconds before they made the game safe at two-nil. Kirivong paraded two new Brazilians in their line-up, though the well-travelled Ayrton Matheus Chagas de Morais, who has played in Thailand, Bulgaria, Philippines and Indonesia, only lasted fifteen minutes before he was stretchered off. He was the only player to go down and stay down. Their other Brazil import, striker Carlos Alberto Santos de Deus, showed some neat touches but was on his own for most of the game and didn't make a telling impact.

With Rafael Oliveira at Crown and the two new faces at Kirivong, the Brazilian invasion into the Metfone C-League is picking up speed, though it will have to go some to catch up to the Japanese connection, that is currently swamping Cambodian football. I've lost track of the number of imports from Japan this season, aided in no small measure by TriAsia's preference for players from the Land of the Rising Sun, Albirex's arrival in the competition and individual additions to teams such as Naga, BBU, Western Uni and National Police. I've heard the Federation's youth Academy also kicked off last week with a head coach from Japan (34 year old Yusuke Iki), though there's been no media coverage of the event so far.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Deserved success

PPCFC v Kirivong, back row, LtoR: Obadin, Yaty, Srin, Bisan, Thierry, Pheng. Front Row: Boris, Makara, Sothy, Borey, Sokumpheak - click to enlarge
Result: Phnom Penh Crown 2 Kirivong 0 (Metfone C-League).
Crown were itching to get back to winning ways after last week's disappointing draw with Army and Kirivong were the opponents in the late kick-off under floodlights at Olympic Stadium. For this Metfone C-League encounter, coach Sam Schweingruber was without the injured Rafael Oliveira and named South Korean Jeong Ho Kim on the replacements bench. Crown dominated possession from the first whistle, with Kirivong back-pedaling and struggling to get hold of the ball, as Kouch Sokumpheak and Bin Thierry pulled the strings in midfield. The latter had the first shot on target and it took a clearance from Touch Sokheang to avert danger with his second strike on goal. Ouk Sothy's low drive was collected by Kem Makara in the Kirivong goal, before Leng Makara blasted high and wide from the edge of the box. Makara in the Kirivong goal was again in the action as he dived to save a Khim Borey effort from 25 yards and then Borey linked with Sokumpheak only for the latter to be tackled by Sokheang as he looked set to score. As time ticked by and Crown continued to search for the opening goal, Sokumpheak must've thought he'd cracked it but his half-volley in a crowded box went straight into Makara's gloves from close range. Next up Nhem Sovannara got a block in as Sokumpheak again caused consternation, and the final action saw Thierry blast over the cross-bar from George Bisan's lay-back.

With last week's frustrating draw on their minds, Crown were determined to turn their superiority into points and pushed on from the restart. Within two minutes, they were ahead. Ngoy Srin sent an inviting cross into the box and Bisan steered it, on the volley, into the far corner, leaving the Kirivong defence looking forlornly at each other. Borey latched onto a Thierry long-range pass but fired well wide and soon Bisan was on target again, only for his drive to be turned away for a corner. Sokumpheak's flag kick was headed wide by Odion Obadin at the far post. Little was seen of Kirivong as an attacking force though their new Brazilian striker Santos de Deus showed some neat touches. With Crown unable to add to their lead, nerves began to jangle as the final whistle approached and Kirivong's Chan Dara sent their first real attempt on goal, way over the cross-bar. In time added on, substitute Jeong Ho Kim turned quickly on the edge of the area but squirted his shot wide. In the third minute of additional time, an attempted Bisan overhead kick was cleared to Neou Sosela 25 yards from goal and the speedy winger let fly with a blast with the outside of his right foot that arrowed into the top corner. It was a real screamer of a goal and a great way to end a game that Crown had completely dominated. The 2-nil win puts them in third place in the league table on goal difference. This was Sam Schweingruber's after-match verdict on his team's win. "We needed to learn from our game against the Army, and though last week we didn't lose, it felt like it, being 1-0 up and not finishing the game off. So today our goal was to win 1-0 - last year we didn't lose one single game after going 1-0 up. We didn't quite do it as we wanted to do it, and that second goal didn't come for ages. But hopefully we've learned a few lessons and we'll take it from there. All in all, a good performance but it shouldn't take us 93 minutes to score a second goal."
PPCFC v Kirivong: Yaty, Srin, Pheng, Boris, Obadin, Thierry (Kim 64), Sothy (Sokheng 77), Sokumpheak, Makara (Sosela 83), Borey, Bisan. Subs not used: Ary, Soksela, Sarak, Da, Dara, Tola, Boran, Suhana. Bookings: Thierry, Kim. MOTM: Sokumpheak - very prominent 1st half display. Goals: Bisan (47), Sosela (90+3).

Time for study

PPCFC v TriAsia, back row, LtoR: K Chhaya, Senteang, Chanvuthy, Sovann, Baraing, Sakrovy. Front: Sodavid, Chansopheak, Noeut, Nuron, Rozak - click to enlarge
Result: PPCFC Academy 0 TriAsia B 8 (Friendly).
Playing against adult teams is the Phnom Penh Crown Academy's way of toughening up their youngsters for the season ahead, especially if the team gets the thumbs up to enter the FAM-Frenz U-16 Asean Champions Trophy later this year. However, on occasions it won't go their way and that's what happened with the match in this morning's friendly against a TriAsia B-team. Four goals in each half for the full-time professionals was a lesson for the Academy to learn, especially the turnover of possession from which the Japanese-backed club profited. With experienced striker Friday Nwakuna leading their line, TriAsia pressed from the start and made their pressure pay with the opening goal on 18 minutes. A second quickly followed on 24 minutes and it was at that point that Suon Noeut had Crown's first shot on target. Nwakuna netted his first on 28 minutes, but Mat Nuron should've done better with only the keeper to beat and then Chhuot Senteang smashed a shot against an upright with six minutes of the half, remaining, after a great move down the left flank. TriAsia scored their fourth just before the break. With their usual passing game not clicking into gear and losing possession in important areas, it was a wake-up call for the Academy U-16s.

TriAsia continued where they left off as a Seut Baraing clearance cannoned in off an attacker's body, twelve minutes into the 2nd half, and Nwakuna netted a second four minutes later. Senteang escaped his marker, rounded the keeper but stood on the ball as he shaped to shoot, Noeut fired wide on two occasions and Kim Chhaya's low drive was saved at the second attempt. To round-off the match, TriAsia scored two more in the last two minutes, the latter a hat-trick solo goal for Nwakuna, as Crown were left to lick their wounds and learn from the experience. Orn Chanpolin was sidelined with a groin strain.
PPCFC v TriAsia: Chanvuthy, Chansopheak, K Chhaya, Sovann (Muslim 36), Baraing (Sovann 83), Sodavid, Sakrovy (Piphop 60), Rozak, Noeut (Nuron 86), Nuron (Ponvuthy 63), Senteang (T Chhaya 79). Subs not used; S Samnang, V Samnang, Phearath, Chanchav, Titchhy.
The TriAsia B-team starting line-up

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Bragging rights for AEU

Two very different games at the Olympic Stadium this afternoon as the Metfone C-League moved into its into third week. Last season's champions Svay Rieng looked anything but title contenders with a poor showing against previously pointless Asia Euro University, who claimed the bragging rights with a goal-less draw in the early kick-off. There was certainly nothing to shout about for the boys from the province who gave debuts to strike partners Nigerian Bata Dzarma and Frenchman David Quadrao but both failed to trouble the scoreboard, though Dzarma was thwarted by another point-blank Mak Theara save - he's making a habit of them - just after the interval. It was a turgid first half and the 2nd period wasn't much better and with a bit more composure, AEU could've sneaked a late win. Ten minutes into the 2nd half and Svay Rieng had made their three substitutions, two of them being defenders. What does that tell you? In the later match under floodlights, it was one-way traffic for most of the game, with TriAsia starting off like a runaway train and leading 3-nil after just sixteen minutes against a hapless Albirex Niigata. A cricket score looked likely though Tatsuta Kazuki nicked a consolation before the floodgates opened up again. TriAsia led 5-1 at the break and ended up registering an 8-1 win, when it could, and should've been considerably more. Sok Chanrasmey netted two early on, after Chan Rithy lobbed the opener. Vi Lika headed in from a corner and Kouch Dani scored the first of his hat-trick before the interval. A Dani free-kick and another long range effort from the French-Khmer import sandwiched an embarrassingly easy goal for substitute Masakazu Kihara. Still no room in the line-up for Friday Nwakuna as TriAsia move into top spot after three matches. As for Albirex's defence, if they continue in that vein their time in the MCL will be short-lived. Over at the Army Stadium, Boeung Ket's nightmare continued, losing 2-1 to National Police. Beaten by TriAsia the week before, Khuon Laboravy scored for the province team but goals from Ol Ravy and Reijin Tani, even though the Police had Sob Ravy red carded, gave the spoils to the Old Bill. For the second week running, the match ended with handbags aplenty as both teams squared up. No magic from Elroy van der Hooft this week either, he was sidelined with injury. In the second match, NagaCorp found their scoring streak to put BBU to the sword, 5-0, with goals from Sun Sovannrithy 2, Jang In Yong, Chin Chum and an own goal.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Academy register a double

PPCFC U-16s, back row, LtoR: Titchhy, Sakrovy, K Chhaya, Chanpolin, Senteang, Sodavid, Sovann. Front: Nuron, Chansopheak, Muslim, Chanvuthy - click to enlarge
The Phnom Penh Crown Academy teams played two games Sunday morning.
Result: PPCFC Academy U-16s 7 Prek Kdam 2 (Friendly).
In the later game, the older Prek Kdam team fell behind on 10 minutes as Kim Chhaya's bye-line pull back was poked in by Mat Nuron. Three minutes later In Sodavid's pin-point 20-yard free-kick found the top corner for number 2. It was one-way traffic as Nuron scored another, from Chhuot Senteang's pass, on 17 minutes and ten minutes later, Senteang got the final touch to Sraing Titchhy's through ball to give Crown a commanding half-time lead. Prek Kdam came out fighting and netted just 4 minutes into the second half after Kung Chanvuthy was injured in the build-up. Twenty minutes after the restart, Pov Ponvuthy scored with his first touch after arriving on the pitch thirty seconds before, poking in a Titchhy cross. Mat Sakrovy by-passed three defenders and shot goalwards, only for Titchhy to stab it over the line on 67 minutes. Crown scored a seventh as Ponvuthy raced clear from the half-way line to finish coolly on 74 minutes. Job done and a good work out.
PPCFC v Prek Kdam: Chanvuthy, Chansopheak, K Chhaya, Sovann, Muslim, Chanpolin, Sodavid, Titchhy, Nuron, Sakrovy, Senteang. Goals: Nuron 2 (10, 17), Sodavid (13), Senteang (28), Ponvuthy 2 (65, 74), Titchhy (67).
PPCFC U-15s, back row, LtoR: Rozak, Samnang, Baraing, Chanchav, Piphop, Sovannaroth. Front: Chanmony, Saphy, Piseth, N David, S David - click to enlarge

Result: PPCFC Academy U-15s 6 Boeung Ket U-15s 0 (Friendly).
With coach Bouy Dary giving his younger Academy players a run-out, Boeung Ket provided the opposition and despite putting up a stern resistance in the first half, were well beaten by the end of the 90-minute match. Men Piphop slotted in the opening goal on 20 minutes from Tong Chanmony's pass and then Seut Baraing pushed up from the back, played a neat one-two and found the corner of the net with a firm strike, nine minutes later. He then struck the cross-bar with a powerful drive as the interval came at 2-0. Three minutes after the restart, Chanmony's shot fell nicely for Piphop to poke in the third. Crown had to wait another half hour before Mao Piseth's shot hit the foot of the post and Nop David tucked in the rebound. With 8 minutes to go, David's shot was saved and Sath Rozak lashed the rebound home. A minute from time, Baraing tested the keeper with a free-kick from out wide on the right and he got his angle spot on, as the powerful drive found the net. Six-nil and a masterful performance. Missing with injuries were Suon Noeut, Sin Kakada, Sok Panha and Lim Pisoth.
PPCFC v Boeung Ket: Samnang, Chanmony, Sovannaroth, Baraing, Saphy, Chanchav, N David, S David, Piphop, Rozak, Piseth. Goals: Piphop 2 (20, 48), Baraing 2 (29, 89), N David (77), Rozak (82).

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Frustrating draw

PPCFC v Army, back row, LtoR: Obadin, Makara, Srin, Thierry, Katanha, Yaty. Front Row: Boran, Bisan, Pheng, Sokumpheak, Borey - click to enlarge
Result: Phnom Penh Crown 1 Army 1 (Metfone C-League).
Phnom Penh Crown will be kicking themselves that they failed to turn their greater share of possession into goals as they were held to a 1-1 draw with National Defense Ministry, aka Army, at Olympic Stadium, in the televised game. With injuries ruling out Kok Boris and Rafael Oliveira, Hong Pheng was retained at centre-half after his game there in midweek, and Newton Katanha got his first run out in a Crown shirt as the main striker. With Army concentrating on defense rather than offense, the pattern of the match quickly settled down with Crown keeping possession and pushing forwards. Leng Makara fired into the side netting and Kouch Sokumpheak's fierce drive cannoned off a defender as it headed for goal. On fifteen minutes a couple of Khim Borey efforts kept Army keeper Um Vichet on his toes, with Borey's low drive fumbled for a corner at the foot of the post and from the corner, Borey's shot from distance was tipped over the cross-bar. Ke Vannak cleared the danger as George Bisan and Katanha combined on the edge of the box and then Bisan went within a whisker of scoring, robbing Pom Tola but sending his low drive a few inches wide of the upright. It was all one-way traffic in Crown's favour, though Army defender Vannak repeatedly lay on the ground and required a stretcher to ferry him to the touchline - perhaps a result of him being overworked? Bin Thierry's long-range passing was a feature of the game, though his 30-yard free-kick cleared the cross-bar by a couple of feet. His next involvement, a minute into injury time, was decisive. He played a one-two with Katanha on the edge of the penalty area and let fly with a powerful drive that arrowed into the far corner to give Crown a deserved lead. 

The pattern of the first-half continued after the break, with Crown pushing forwards but they were rocked to their core, seven minutes after the restart. Sokumpheak was caught in possession 20-yards from goal and Op Kamol sent a skidding shot through the legs of Odion Obadin and out of the reach of Sou Yaty, as it struck the upright and levelled the scoreline at 1-1. Army were cock-a-hoop that they now had something to hold onto with their first shot on goal. At the other end, Bisan ducked low to send a header into the arms of Vichet from Obadin's headed lay-back, and Katanha saw his 22-yard free-kick smothered by Vichet at the foot of the post. A cross-shot from Bisan nearly caught out the Army keeper as it floated inches over and Crown's best chance came, and went, on 73 minutes. Bisan robbed a defender, dazzled three Army players with his quick feet and sent in a rasping drive that had 'goal' written all over it. That was until Vichet produced an outstanding leaping save that will be amongst the best of the season without a doubt. Crown made changes and continued to push on, but were frustrated by their own ability to create clear-cut opportunities, as Sos Suhana sent their final goal attempt wide from Sokumpheak's corner. It was simply one of those days.     

Crown head coach Sam Schweingruber was a disappointed figure at the final whistle. "The whole game we dominated possession, we were here to win and to play football - some moments where it worked and lots of moments where it didn't work. The other team was here to clearly get a draw, wasting time from just 15 minutes in, people sat on the floor and getting carried off again and again, making it really difficult to have a flowing game at times. It went our way as we nicked a goal just before half-time and then we needed to be smart and control the game. I thought that would be the case. How we then gifted the other team a goal is just shocking and then we didn't manage to turn possession into clear cut chances and get a 2nd goal. We were a bit slow and not positive enough at times. We just have to do it quicker and better against tight defences. We had about 12 corners today and almost none of them were dangerous - why, after we scored 2 corner kick goals last week?"
PPCFC v Army: Yaty, Srin, Boran (Tola 90), Pheng, Obadin, Thierry, Sokumpheak, Makara (Sosela 65), Borey, Bisan, Katanha (Suhana 74). Subs not used: Ary, Soksela, Sarak, Dara, Pisa, Da, Sothy, Sokheng. Bookings: None. MOTM: Thierry - showed great range of passing and a superb strike for his goal. Goal: Thierry (45+1). 

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Newcomers snatch win

TriAsia, still hiding their jerseys under tracksuits, beat Boeung Ket 2-1
It all turned into handbags at five paces at the end of TriAsia's 2-1 win over Boeung Ket at Olympic Stadium tonight. The offer of a handshake by the Japanese coach of the winning team was refused and an altercation ensued as the newcomers to the Metfone C-League took the three points against one of the league's fancied teams. It all looked so promising for the Rubbermen as Chan Vathanaka's surge was illegally brought to an end by Hem Simay in the TriAsia goal to give new recruit Elroy van der Hooft a gift from the penalty spot after just 15 minutes. However, Simay was in no mood to confirm a debut present and pushed the spot-kick away. The match sparked a few minutes before the break when Ros Samoeun escaped what should've been a red card for an elbow, Vathanaka was cautioned for sprinting fifty yards to push the wronged Masakazu Kihara (one of 3 Japanese players for TriAsia), and moments later, TriAsia took the lead when Kouch Dani unleashed a 35-yard screamer which hit the bar, bounced down onto the prostrate Peng Bunchhay and trickled into the net for an own goal. Three minutes into time added on before the break, Dutchman van der Hooft made amends for his earlier miss with a sweetly struck low drive into the far corner to level the game. Not much was seen of TriAsia as an attacking unit throughout the game, but half an hour into the 2nd period and substitute Suong Virak sprinted past the static Boeung Ket defence to lob the ball over Bunchhay, for the winner, against his former teammates. Despite a strikeforce boasting van der Hooft, Vathanaka, Khuon Laboravy and Chukwuma Ohuruogu, the Rubbermen were blunted and frustrations boiled over on the touchline, as the final whistle blew.
Boeung Ket go down 2-1 to newboys TriAsia
In the first game at Olympic, Western Uni used their African connection to beat AEU with all the goals coming in the 2nd half, in a 3-1 win. Nigerian David Njoku netted twice after he pushed up front and Cameroonian Privat Mbarga struck a sweet third after Men Seyha had put past his own keeper to give AEU a brief glimmer. In the two matches at Army Stadium, NagaCorp could only manage a goal-less draw with Kirivong, whilst Albirex Niigata took the lead against Svay Rieng but were then crushed 6-2.
The winning Western Uni line-up, 3-1 v AEU

AEU went down to their 2nd successive MCL defeat against Western Uni