Sunday, June 29, 2014

Hat-trick of wins

The PPCFC U-14s win again, back row, LtoR: Sovannaroth, Chanmony, N David, Panha, Saphy, Rafat. Front: Piseth, S David, Pisoth, Kakada, Samel - click to enlarge
Result: Phnom Penh Crown Academy U-14 5 FFC Academy U-14 2 (Friendly).
The Academy U-14s travelled to Tonle Bati this morning to take on the FFC Academy boys who they are grooming for the 2023 SEA Games, which will be held in Cambodia. The Federation have appointed a Japanese coach and selected boys after trials about six months ago or more. No Crown boys were included and so this game pits the Federation's youngsters against Crown's best U-14s. In the previous meetings, Crown have won both games and our boys made it a hat-trick of victories in this morning's practice match. FFC began like a train and opened the scoring on five minutes. Mao Piseth waited just two minutes before he fired in from an acute angle to level the scores with an excellent strike. Two minutes later and a miskick by Academy keeper Kung Rafat and FFC went ahead again. At the end of the first of four quarters of 25 minutes each, FFC were in front. Twelve minutes into the second quarter and Svang Samnang playing in defence rather than his usual goalkeeping position, lashed a 25-yard free-kick into the top corner for a brilliant leveller. Seconds before the break, Sin Kakada crossed and Sok Panha got a touch to put Crown 3-2 ahead. The only goal of the third quarter went to Crown as Nop David fed Piseth and he took a touch before driving the ball into the roof of the net. Five minutes into the final period and Kakada cut in from the wing and curled a beauty into the top corner to give Crown a deserved 5-2 victory. After the game the Crown youngsters, who included three of the club's community boys, were treated to lunch at the Tonle Bati lakeside.
PPCFC U-14s: Rafat, Chanmony, Samel (S Samnang (Chetra)), Saphy, Sovannarath (Panha), N David, S David, Pisoth (Yet Chetra (Chan Rami)), Panha (Chan David), Kakada, Piseth. Goals: Piseth 2, S Samnang, Panha, Kakada.
The FFC U-14s who lost for the third time to PPCFC U-14s

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Academy success at home

PPCFC Academy v Guangdong, back row, LtoR: Samnang, Chanpolin, Sodavid, Chhaya, Titchhy, Sovann (capt). Front Row: Baraing, Chansopheak, Noeut, Piphop, Ponvuthy - click to enlarge
Match Result: Phnom Penh Crown Academy 2 Guangdong FA (China) 1 (Asia U-16 Champions Trophy).
The Crown Academy were still searching for their first win at home, with two victories on the road already chalked up, and they faced bottom of the table Guangdong from China, without a point from their matches so far. Chhuot Senteang was on the bench with a leg injury, so Sraing Titchhy took his place in attack. The pitch was slippery with Crown seeing the lion's share of the ball and Guangdong conceding a string of early free-kicks. Suon Noeut fired well wide early on, Titchhy had a shot blocked and Seut Baraing's free-kick was grabbed low down by the visiting keeper. Crown were using the flanks to good effect and Kim Chhaya's cross was laid back by Titchhy, only for In Sodavid's shot to lack the power to test the keeper. Titchhy was snuffed out as he shaped to shoot and then keeper Pang Jiajun collected Noeut's cross off the striker's toes. It was all Crown until Guangdong had a great chance on 17 minutes but Svang Samnang was alert to deny visiting captain Chen Guokang. Moments later and Titchhy's drilled 20-yard drive was pushed out by Jiajun, who was also equal to Noeut's goal-bound effort, tipping it over the cross-bar. Sodavid saw another attempt clear the bar before Crown finally made their dominance count just two minutes before the break. Titchhy and Orn Chanpolin combined with some neat touches and Chanpolin looked up before sending a dipping drive over Jiajun's head from twenty yards out for the game's opening goal. Crown continued to push on with another Sodavid effort going straight to Jiajun and Titchhy's left-foot effort taking a deflection across the face of goal.

Crown came out strongly at the start of the second-half with Chhaya sending a 25-yard free-kick straight at Jiajun and Noeut causing problems on the flanks, with Jiajun punching his dangerous cross clear. Titchhy was set up by Men Piphop but miskicked under pressure, before the visitors stunned the home crowd into silence. Fifteen minutes into the second period and some sloppy defending allowed Li Guohao to cross, Yang Quan's shot was pushed out by Samnang only for Li Canming to be waiting to tap the ball home at the far post. The equaliser had come against the run of play, which prompted Crown coach Bouy Dary to ring the changes, with top scorer Senteang sent on to add power up front. Titchhy burst into action with a dazzling run but his shot was blocked, with Senteang setting up Chhaya, whose shot was held at the second attempt. Moments later Senteang charged down a clearance by Guokang and found himself one on one with Jiajun, but the keeper stood his ground and kept out the striker's shot with his body. With seven minutes of the game remaining, off-the-ball fisticuffs in the Crown penalty area saw home substitute Mat Sakrovy cautioned and Guangdong skipper Guokang red-carded for his second offence. It was just the encouragement the home side needed. With their next attack, Chhaya's long corner to the far post saw Baraing arrive late and the central defender smashed his shot past Jiajun without hesitation, with just four minutes left to play. The crowd erupted, though they were less vocal moments later as Yao Yongrun shaped to shoot, only for Ouk Sovann to dive in to block the effort just six yards from goal. There was still time for Sakrovy to fire wide and for Chhaya to see his shot touched onto the foot of the post by Jiajun, who then caught Noeut's long range effort at the second attempt. The match ended with Crown collecting their first win on home soil in the Asia U-16 Champions Trophy and leaving coach Dary to comment: "First-half we played okay and created some chances but didn't have enough numbers in the box. We changed some players in the second-half and we deserved to win. But at the start of the second-half we were not good at all. We were asleep but woke up after they scored and created a few chances. We should be happy with the result but we know we can do better. We remain in 3rd position and for the last 3 games we have to fight really hard." 
PPCFC Academy v Guangdong: S Samnang, Chansopheak (Chanchav 75), K Chhaya (Muslim 90+4), Baraing, Sovann, Chanpolin, Sodavid (Rozak 90+3), Piphop, Ponvuthy (Senteang 70), Noeut, Titchhy (Sakrovy 80). Subs not used: Chanvuthy, T Chhaya. Booking: Sakrovy. MOTM: In Sodavid - powerhouse performance. Goals: Chanpolin (43), Baraing (86).

Obadin on the mark

PPCFC v TriASia, back row, LtoR: Bisan, Makara, Boris, Obadin, Ary, Pellegrino. Front; Sothy, Srin, Pheng, Borey, Sokumpheak - click to enlarge
Match Result: Phnom Penh Crown 2 TriAsia 1 (Metfone C-League).
Crown coach Sam Schweingruber was without his injured goalkeeper Sou Yaty and the suspended Bin Thierry but welcomed back from injury the defensive duo of Kok Boris and Odion Obadin for this important clash with TriAsia. A win was vital for the league leaders as they maintain their march to the Metfone C-League championship. The opening fifteen minutes of the game was bogged down in midfield and it was Crown who forced the first noteworthy chance when George Bisan moved onto Boris' long ball and set up Adriano Pellegrino for a shot, which was blocked, as was Leng Makara's  follow-up at the far post. TriAsia then grabbed the initiative on 18 minutes as Thul Sothearith's long ball caught the Crown backline napping and Suong Virak sped away and tucked his shot under Yok Ary's body for the game's opening goal. A minute later and Ary's feet stopped Virak from doubling the lead. Former Crown player, Virak was causing problems with his quick feet and his low cross was touched wide at the far post by Friday Nwakuna as TriAsia posed all the questions. That was until the 26th minute when Crown used Route 1 football to level matters. Ary's long kick was headed on by Bisan, Pellegrino nodded it sideways and as it dropped, Bisan unleashed a thunderbolt volley from the edge of the area that gave Hem Simay absolutely zero chance as it arrowed into the top corner. Crown were level, though Virak twice sent in long range efforts that Ary collected comfortably. On the half hour, Kouch Sokumpheak sent Ngoy Srin sprinting away on the left flank and as he tussled with En Vichhay in the penalty area, referee Khuon Virak pointed to the spot after seeing the defender use his hands to gain an advantage. It took nearly two minutes for the TriAsia protests to die down as Bisan stepped up to smack the penalty against the foot of the left upright, with Simay's fingertips helping it on its way. With TriAsia still celebrating, Srin's quick throw-in was pounced on by Khim Borey and his header into the six yard box was nodded in by Odion Obadin to put Crown 2-1 ahead. It was a mere twenty seconds after the penalty miss, and 32 minutes into the game. Borey's long ranger was easily held by Simay, while Tomohiro Masaki's header was touched over the bar by Ary. From the corner, Hong Pheng was on the post to head away Nuth Sinoun's goalbound effort for the last serious action of the first-half.  

Dani Kouch whipped his drive a yard wide early on after the restart but it was the introduction of Khmer-Dutch midfielder Chan Sokha that briefly livened up proceedings. Crown's Ouk Sothy was booked for lashing out at the new arrival and after just five minutes on the pitch, Sokha was red-carded by referee Virak for a high foot on Sothy. TriAsia were down to ten men with 62 minutes of the game played. Bisan powered his way towards goal and his vicious drive rebounded off Simay's gloves, while Sokumpheak chanced his arm from 25 yards, but his shot veered well wide. TriAsia lost one of their coaches, when he was sent to the stands but they looked to have been presented with a gift when Virak adjudged Crown keeper Ary to have picked the ball up twice and gave an indirect free-kick just nine yards from goal. With the whole Crown team on the goal-line, Seng Kosen wasted the chance, sending it wide of the far post. Crown lost Pellegrino with a knee injury and Virak was again lively, nipping in behind the Crown defence, only to find Ary's legs blocking his way to goal, with six minutes left on the clock. Pheng and Sos Suhana exchanged passes with Pheng racing into the area only to send his shot high and wide. With five minute of stoppage time added on, Borey sent Suhana sprinting clear only for Simay to punch his angled shot away. It was the final action of the game as Crown collected three more valuable points, extending their lead to eight points and registering the double over TriAsia. 

Sam Schweingruber's after-match comments were: "We stay on top with another hard-fought win but we struggled a bit on the bumpy pitch, struggled with relaxing and getting into our groove. We found ourselves a goal down but managed to get ahead before halftime, which was very good, mentally strong to keep pushing. An amazing goal by George, a brilliant strike. He could've scored with the penalty but I think the keeper got a touch onto the post. But very happy how quickly we reacted to that, that's a sign of mental strength. We deserved to win, they didn't really create but I wish we were more relaxed and in control of the game and the ball. Towards the end we were too nervous, we should be keeping the ball and riding the time out. When they did get dangerous through 32 who I thought had a really good game, Ary did very well to save the situation." 
PPCFC v TriAsia: Ary, Pheng, Srin, Boris (Pisa 90+2), Obadin, Sokumpheak, Sothy, Makara (Suhana 58), Borey, Pellegrino (Sosela 81), Bisan. Subs not used; Soksela, Da, Dara, Morslim. Bookings: Srin, Sothy. MOTM: Srin - showed adventure down the flanks. Goals: Bisan (26), Obadin (32).

Monday, June 23, 2014

League Round-up

Week 17 MCL league table - from
Phnom Penh Crown maintained their 5 point lead at the top of the Metfone C-League table with a slightly less than convincing 4-2 win over the bottom club Albirex Niigata in Week 17. They were never seriously threatened but coach Sam Schweingruber will have something to say about conceding two goals. George Bisan wrapped it up with his 17th goal, of the season from the penalty spot at the start of the 2nd half. Four different nationalities scored for Crown. That doesn't happen often. Nearest challengers Boeung Ket limped home 3-2 against Western University but should've put the game to bed with some glaring misses in front of goal. Western took the lead with a thunderous Ly Saroth free-kick but Khuon Laboravy, Keo Sokpheng and Chan Vathanaka gave the Rubbermen a commanding lead before Chan Vannak made their sweat a bit before the final whistle. The championship race is now a two-horse affair, especially after NagaCorp could only muster a 1-1 draw with TriAsia on Saturday. Chim Sambo for Naga and Nuth Sinoun for TriAsia got the goals. In the other games of less significance, Kirivong moved out of the relegation places with a 3-0 win over Army, two goals from Savour Ratankvisa doing the damage. On Sunday, 1-1 was the final score between AEU and BBU as the two university teams came to a stalemate. Yusuke Yamagata opened the scoring for BBU with George Kelechi levelling just before the break. Sunday's game under lights saw Svay Rieng burst into a two-goal lead against National Police, including another brace for in-form striker Bata Dzarma, only for Samuel Oseika to pop up with two goals to end it at 2-2.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Crown march on

PPCFC v Albirex, back row, LtoR: Suhana, Srin, Makara, Bisan, Kim, Ary. Front Row: Da, Pheng, Pellegrino, Borey (capt), Sothy - click to enlarge
Result: Phnom Penh Crown 4 Albirex Niigata 2 (Metfone C-League).
Crown arrived at the Olympic Stadium for this top v bottom clash with Japanese-club Albirex Niigata without five of their starting line-up. Suspension saw Bin Thierry and Kouch Sokumpheak on the sidelines, with injury forcing Sou Yaty, Odion Obadin and Kok Boris to watch from the stands. Albirex have been improving of late and are not a team to underestimate, despite their place at the foot of the league ladder. A slow start saw Crown with a few attempts on goal though it was Albirex who came closest to open the scoring. Jeongho Kim's recovery tackle on the marauding Yusuke Ueda took a deflection off Ngoy Srin and edged towards the goal-line, only for Thourng Da to clear the danger with his quick reactions. Crown had already gone close when Sos Suhana ghosted in behind the Albirex defence but just failed to get a touch to Adriano Pellegrino's decisive pass, Ouk Sothy sent a long distance attempt into the arms of the keeper and George Bisan's touch was a little too heavy as he broke through. Pellegrino's set pieces are a danger to any team and from two of his corners, Kim headed wide under pressure, and then Hong Pheng will wonder how he managed to skim his free header wide of the upright. It was all Crown as Khim Borey tried an ambitious 30-yarder, another Kim header from a Pellegrino corner caused panic but was scrambled clear, and Borey, popping up on the right flank, saw his drive edged inches wide. Next, Borey's near post header went tantalisingly wide, and Leng Makara's pass to Pellegrino saw the Australian send a snap-shot into the far corner of the net only to turn around and see the flag raised. The breakthrough finally arrived on 31 minutes. A foul on Bisan allowed Pellegrino to whip a free-kick from the right flank into the crowded box and smack onto the forehead of Kim, who nodded home for his second goal in as many games.

Albirex, with their second strike on goal, were inches away from levelling the scoreline. Former Crown defender Sen Sarak launched a 40-yard free-kick goalwards and it dipped viciously onto the crossbar before being cleared. Less than a minute later, Crown too had struck the woodwork, as Borey cut inside from the left and his 25-yard effort rebounded off the upright. A Pheng thrust into the box was cut out just in time and Suhana headed a corner over the top before Pellegrino made his mark on the game. Thirty yards from goal, his free-kick skill was again much in evidence as he curled the dead-ball into the top corner to make it two-nil with six minutes of the half remaining. Within a minute Crown registered their third. Makara threaded a pass through for Borey to run onto, he avoided the keeper and from a very acute angle, rolled in his perfect touch via the far post. It was no more than Crown deserved. A minute before the break and Albirex showed they were no slouches. Ueda, a recent addition from Singaporean football, gave Srin the slip and fired a shot from the edge of the box past Yok Ary to reduce the deficit.

Albirex changed their goalkeeper at the break but it didn't change their fortunes. Just 49 seconds into the second half and Crown were handed another opportunity on a plate. Makara's chip into the box was controlled by Bisan and as he went around the new keeper, Chhim Busan tapped his ankle and referee Tuy Vichheka pointed to the spot. Bisan stepped up to confidently to dispatch his 17th goal of the season in the second minute of the half.  A few minutes later and the Nigerian hitman was again in the thick of it as he bypassed one defender but sent his powerful drive a foot over the crossbar. Makara challenged keeper Mat Muslim for a Pellegrino chip which referee Vichheka wrongly viewed as high feet, Kim tried his luck from 35 yards out but to no avail and at the other end, Tatsuta Kazuki's attempt was deflected into Ary's hands. Makara was guilty of a bad miss ten minutes in, when Pheng's center found him and Pellegrino in acres of space, but the striker skimmed his header wide of the mark, and soon after, the same player's drive was held by the keeper above his head. Seventeen minutes into the second half and Albirex took advantage of some sloppy marking by the league leaders. Chea Virath's free-kick found the head of Kheng Sopanha and his touch took a deflection and nestled in the corner of the Crown net to make it 4-2. Hearts in mouths time a few minutes later as Ueda crossed for Kazuki but his prod at the far post was blocked by Ary, who gladly grabbed the ball at the second attempt. As a contest the match got bogged down in midfield mediocrity, with few bright moments, though a one-two between Suhana and Bisan saw the Crown hotshot lob the ball over the bar from just outside the area. The final action was Touch Sokheng's cross that gave Muslim a few flutters as it landed on the roof of the net. The whistle blew and Crown celebrated another three points, maintaining their five point lead over their nearest challengers, Boeung Ket, who'd beaten Western Uni 3-2 in the game before. 

At the final whistle, Crown head coach Sam Schweingruber gave this assessment. "With 5 games to go it's about winning games. For me we were much better in both halves but we made some mistakes. Very frustrating as we have these moments where we lose focus. A sign of a team that is still a work in progress. I hate conceding goals and being 4-1 up but not playing how I want us to play. That said, we had a lot of players working hard and giving their best until the end, a couple of really good goals that we scored - 3 from set pieces - showing how important that is for us, and how we need to create more chances and opportunities from open play."
PPCFC v Albirex: Ary, Pheng, Da, Srin, Kim, Sothy, Suhana (Sokheng 83), Makara, Borey (Sosela 90+1), Pellegrino (Pisa 90+4), Bisan. Subs not used: Soksela, Dara, Morslim. Booking: Sothy. MOTM: Pellegrino - continues to thrive and drive. Goals: Kim (31), Pellegrino (39), Borey (40), Bisan (47 pen).

Muslim nets winner in Laos

PPCFC v Lao Toyota, back row, LtoR: Titchhy, Chanpolin, S Samnang, Senteang, K Chhaya, Sovann (capt). Front Row: Ponvuthy, Noeut, Sodavid, Baraing, Piphop - click to enlarge
Result: Phnom Penh Crown Academy 1 Lao Toyota - Laos 0 (Asia U-16 Champions Trophy).
Academy coach Bouy Dary was able to select his strongest line-up for this away match in Vientiane, the capital of Laos. A crowd of 2,022 watched at the National University Stadium, including a continegent of supporters of locally-based Cambodians. The match-winning goal came courtesy of substitute Yeu Muslim with just three minutes of the match remaining, from Suon Noeut's right wing cross. It was Crown's second success on the road in three matches, having also claimed victory in China on the opening day of the campaign. Coach Dary's view at the final whistle; "I think our desire to win was the difference. We dominated the first half and we should have scored a few goals in the half. In the 2nd half I changed a few players for tactical reasons and the boys showed tremendous fighting spirit, which is why we deservedly won the game." 

PPCFC Academy v Lao Toyota: S.Samnang, Noeut, K Chhaya, Baraing, Sovann, Chanpolin, Sodavid (Chanchav 90), Piphop, Titchhy (Chansopheak 63), Ponvuthy (Rozak 86), Senteang (Muslim 69). Subs not used: Chanvuthy, Phearath, Sakrovy. Bookings: None. Goal: Muslim (87)

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Toyota splash the cash

News came through last week that the champions of 4 Mekong region countries - namely Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam - will contest a brand new competition, the Toyota Mekong Club Championship, to be played at the Hang Day Stadium in Hanoi, Vietnam between 31 October and 2 November this year. Toyota, the world's largest car maker, have been spreading their wealth around in recent times, including the World Cup, AFC Asian Cup and the Thai Premier League and this is another string to their marketing bow it seems. In conjunction with the title sponsorship, Toyota are also launching the ‘Toyota Mekong Football Challenge’ to inspire and groom young talented footballers. Not sure how that will work, but that's the plan. Whoever wins the Metfone C-League, it looks like their players will have a busy off-season period with the Cambodia national team due to play in Laos in the AFF Suzuki Cup qualifying tournament from 12-20 October. If Cambodia progress, the finals will start at the end of November, with this new club competition squeezed in between. There is also the U-21 competition in Brunei, the Hassanal Bolkiah Trophy, which will be in August. There was also some talk of starting the C-League earlier as well though nothing more has been said about that.

Monday, June 16, 2014

MCL look back

The MCL table courtesy of

The action at the weekend in the Metfone C-League saw Phnom Penh Crown extend their lead to five points over 2nd-placed Boeung Ket, who went down to the reigning champions Svay Rieng. Crown did it the hard way, beating Western Uni 2-0 despite losing Bin Thierry to a red card for an errant elbow on the stroke of half-time. Goals by Leng Makara and two minutes after the restart, Jeongho Kim with a sublime volley, earned the league leaders the points at the Army Stadium. In the game before, bottom-club Albirex Niigata deserved the three points against a poor BBU side but were caught out in stoppage time by Prum Putsethy's header, which made it 2-2. Albirex started like a train and were two goals up, both from new face Yusuki Ueda until Adeyanju Omokafe reduced the arrears and Putsethy sent the Japanese team to their knees at the final whistle. For Boeung Ket, they will look at the numerous chances missed by wunderkind Chan Vathanaka, as they went down 2-1 to Svay Rieng. A penalty and other golden opportunities were fluffed before the striker let fly from almost 30 yards to level the game after Bata Dzarma fired Svay into the lead. Prak Mony Udom popped up six minutes from the end to tap home to leave Boeung Ket regretting those missed chances. Two goals from Japanese import Reijin Tani helped National Police to a 3-2 success over Army at Olympic Stadium. Touch Roma and Chhin Chhoeun netted for Army but Ol Ravy clinched the points for the Police midway through the second-half. Police are now in 4th spot, and a place behind them are TriAsia who rolled over Kirivong without much difficulty. Friday Nwakuna netted twice, with Sok Chanrasmey and Suong Virak also getting in on the act, while In Vichheka scored for Kirivong, who are now in the relegation places with Albirex. NagaCorp relied on their old guard to get a 3-1 win over AEU, with Teab Vathanak, with 2 goals, and Sun Sovannrithy on the scoresheet on Sunday.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Goals galore

PPCFC Academy line-up, back row, LtoR: Titchhy, Sodavid, V Samnang, Morslim, Phearath, Sakrovy. Front: Chanvuthy, Chansopheak, Muslim, Saphy, T Chhaya - click to enlarge
Result: PPCFC Academy 5 Kompong Tralach 4 (friendly).
The Crown Academy boys, who didn't start the game against Frenz Malaysia yesterday, took on the adult team from Kompong Tralach at the RSN Stadium this afternoon. The visitors arrived from Kompong Chhnang province with two trucks loaded with supporters, despite the torrential rain before the game began. The first half was dominated by the Academy with Mat Sakrovy scoring first after 5 minutes with a shot under the keeper's body. Yeu Muslim scored the first of his double on 9 minutes, finishing on the goal-line after In Sodavid's shot struck the crossbar, and again five minutes before the interval from Ly Morslim's pass. In between Morslim, getting a run out from the senior team, netted on 12 minutes, from Mat Sakrovy's through ball, with the visitors scoring from the penalty spot. After the break, Kompong Tralach scored another before Sraing Titchhy ran onto Muslim's pass to score with ease on 78 minutes. Two late goals took the scoreline to 5-4 in favour of the Academy in what was a very open match. All the substitutions came in the second-half.
PPCFC v Kompong Tralach: Chanvuthy, Chansopheak, Phearath (Net Chetra), Saphy (Panha), V Samnang, Sodavid (N David), Sakrovy, T Chhaya (S David), Titchhy, Muslim (Samel), Morslim (Piseth). MOTM: Muslim. Goals: Sakrovy (5), Muslim 2 (9, 40), Morslim (12), Titchhy (78).

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Winning the hard way

PPCFC v Western, back row, LtoR: Pellegrino, Thierry, Kim, Srin, Ary. Front Row: Bisan, Pheng, Makara, Da, Borey, Sokumpheak - click to enlarge
Result: Phnom Penh Crown 2 Western Uni 0 (Mefone C-League).
Crown were without four first-choice regulars for this Metfone C-League game against Western Uni at the Army Stadium, when Kok Boris was withdrawn minutes before the kick-off. Injury ruled out Odion Obadin and Sou Yaty, while Ouk Sothy (suspended) were also missing.  With Adriano Pellegrino prominent, Crown were on the front foot from the start and it was the Australian who fired the games' first opportunity over the crossbar with five minutes played. A Pellegrino pass saw George Bisan try his luck from the edge of the box, but the league's top scorer was also off target. However on 14 minutes it was Bisan's burst to the bye-line that gave Crown their first goal when his center was headed goalwards by Khim Borey and Leng Makara got his head to it to claim the goal. A minute later Pellegrino got on the end of Borey's cross but steered his shot wide. Ly Saroth broke through the Crown high backline on 25 minutes and referee Khuon Virak awarded a penalty for an ankle tap by Ngoy Srin. Saroth took the spot-kick but fired it against an upright only for the linesman to flag for encroachment by Crown keeper Yok Ary. Saroth retook his kick and this time Ary dived to his left to keep it out. Just after the half hour mark, Bisan turned on a sixpence and unleashed a fierce thunderbolt from 25 yards, that was only equalled by a superb fingertip over the bar by Western keeper Ngoy Boranoch. A Hong Pheng drive from a cleared corner was deflected before Bin Thierry fed Pellegrino and his run and vicious drilled shot went agonisingly wide. With five minutes of the half to go, Pellegrino's 30-yard free kick missed everyone in the box and clopped the crossbar on the bounce. Boranoch dived low to save a Bisan drive from wide out but it was Ary, who came to Crown's rescue with a one-handed stop to deny Saroth's break and whipped shot. In the second minute of stoppage time, referee Virak brandished a red card to Thierry, only after he saw Western skipper Krouch Mol with a cut on his forehead, judging the Crown midfielder to have used his elbow illegally.  

Crown, down to ten men, grabbed the initiative at the start of the second-half with their second goal. Just ninety seconds in, a Pellegrino corner to the far post found Jeongho Kim on his own and his expertly executed left-foot volley crashed into the net. A stunning strike. Reo Nakamura skied a good chance as Western offered some resistance but it was Pellegrino who went closest, taking a pass from Kouch Sokumpheak and exchanging a one-two with Bisan, but his first-time drive nicked the crossbar as it went over. Kim's free kick from distance was blocked twice, while Western's Isa Kolawole blasted high and wide at the opposite end. Bisan was found lurking at the far post by Pellegrino but his volley only found the side netting, and Touch Sokheng's drive was held by Boranoch. In stoppage time, Western's Sor Piseth broke through but shot weakly at Ary and Saroth headed over as the whistle blew and Crown cemented their lead at the top of the MCL leaderboard. Head coach Sam Schweingruber gave this after-match reaction. "It's always a gamble on this field, it doesn't encourage the game we want to play. But it is what it is. We are very happy with the 3 points. Very disciplined, good performance in the 2nd half. We kept things nice and tight, applied ourselves really well, did what we wanted to as a team and really happy with the result. Jeongho is unstoppable with some of the things he does. He's the best player we have in the air, he's extremely good with his free-kicks - I think he did really well today. And what a cracking goal. We needed 3 points from this game, and without Tony, Boris and Messi (Sothy), but that's no reason why we should go down to an average team like Western, just because of a few players missing."
PPCFC v Western: Ary, Da, Pheng, Srin, Kim, Sokumpheak, Thierry, Borey (Sokheng 86), Makara (Sosela 89), Pellegrino, Bisan (Suhana 93). Subs not used: Yaty, Soksela, Dara, Boris, Pisa, Morslim. Bookings: Thierry (+red card), Sokumpheak. MOTM: Pellegrino - involved in everything. Goals: Makara (14), Kim (47).

Deflection fells Academy

Academy v Frenz, back row, LtoR: Samnang, Chanpolin, Senteang, Chhaya, Chanchav, Sovann (capt). Front: Ponvuthy, Piphop, Noeut, Rozak, Baraing - click to enlarge
Result: Phnom Penh Crown Academy 1 Frenz Utd Malaysia 2 (Asia U-16 Champions Trophy).
For their third home match in as many weeks, the Crown Academy were looking to avenge their recent 3-2 defeat in Malyasia against one of the competition favourites. Suspension ruled out Sraing Titchhy and illness forced In Sodavid onto the bench as Crown looked to get the large crowd on their side from the start, but it was Frenz who threatened first when Mohammed Haiqal's low drive was pushed aside by Svang Samnang, making his first appearance in this season's competition. Haiqal was again a thorn to Crown as he sent a header against the foot of the upright and then missed a clear-cut chance moments later from a corner, all within the first ten minutes. Crown got back into the game with Ouk Sovann's free-kick headed wide by Orn Chanpolin and Sath Rozak's shot was blocked on its way to goal. They were really in it when Chhuot Senteang celebrated his 16th birthday by getting on the end of Sovann's curling free-kick and heading the ball inside the near post. Seventeen minutes on the clock and after a torrid opening, Crown were in front. Their lead lasted nine minutes. Frenz strung a series of one-touch passes together and gave Iman Aidiel the opportunity to strike a fierce shot from 25 yards that flew into the net for the equaliser. A fine goal. Frenz could smell blood and pressed with Samnang dropping a corner under pressure, though the keeper had absolutely no chance with Frenz's second goal that arrived on 34 minutes. A poor challenge by Men Piphop gave Mohammed Helmi a free-kick from 25 yards out, and his strike hit the back of Choun Chanchav in the defensive wall and flew over Samnang's head. Crown ended the first-half with a mini-flourish but to no avail. Chanpolin's one-two with Senteang saw the former send a shot well wide, Kim Chhaya's 35-yard free-kick also was off target and another Sovann dead-ball attempt sailed wide.

Crown had the first sight of goal after the restart but Rozak sent his attempt too high from Seut Baraing's corner after three minutes. Abdul Rahman's cross fell to Haiqal fifteen yards out but Samnang was equal to his first-time shot. The keeper was again in action as he raced out and took the ball off Mohammed Fareez's toe only for Mohammed Hafizuddin to cross to the far post, but Samnang had recovered his ground and saved Fareez's header at the foot of the post. A series of substitutions, eleven in all, broke up the flow of the game as Crown struggled to get back on level terms against their stronger and tactically-aware opponents. Baraing tried his luck from thirty yards out but without success, while Aidiel's shot from distance found Samnang more than a match. Substitute Vat Samnang's 25-yard effort went straight into the hands of Frenz keeper Zairi Adam and as the game entered stoppage time, there were opportunities at both ends. Suon Noeut's mazy run was stopped by Adam quick reactions, Fareez fired against the foot of the post for Frenz, Samnang was well-place to push away Niza Saiful's drive, and Yeu Muslim had the last kick, with a neat turn and shot from outside the box, which was held by Adam. The points belonged to Frenz, who recorded a double over the Crown Academy in the competition. Crown Academy coach Bouy Dary was upbeat after the game. "I'm quite happy with our boys, they worked really hard, we played okay, we need to improve some areas, which is okay when you play against this type of opponent. We scored a goal then conceded two - we lost the ball on transition and they scored a great goal from far out, and then their second goal hit someone, we couldn't do anything about that. I'm happy with the boys who started today, especially Samnang in goal, he did a great job, confident and calm. I'm not so happy with my substitutes though."
PPCFC v Frenz: S Samnang, Noeut, Baraing (Phearath 80), Chanchav, Sovann, Chanpolin (V Samnang 70), Rozak (Sodavid 55), Piphop, Ponvuthy (Sakrovy 64), Chhaya (Chansopheak 84), Senteang (Muslim 78). Subs not used: Chanvuthy. Bookings: None. MOTM; S Samnang - confident display. Goal: Senteang (17).

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Crown back on top

PPCFC v BBU, Line-up, back row, LtoR: Bisan, Boris, Srin, Obadin, Makara, Yaty. Front Row: Pellegrino, Sothy, Da, Pheng, Sokumpheak (capt) - click to enlarge.

Result: Phnom Penh Crown 3 BBU 1 (Metfone C-League).
Crown were without the injured Khim Borey and Sos Suhana and the suspended Neou Sosela as they faced 5th-placed Build Bright United at Olympic Stadium, live on TV. BBU knocked Crown out of the Hun Sen Cup earlier this season but were well beaten 5-0 in the 1st round encounter between the two teams. Clearly under instructions to subdue their opponents from the kick-off, Crown pressed and created four good chances in the opening ten minutes. Odion Obadin headed Adriano Pellegrino's free-kick straight at Sos Proshim in the BBU goal, Hong Pheng twice arrived in the opposition box only to fire wide on both occasions and then Obadin headed a glorious opportunity past the far post from a Pellegrino corner. On 15 minutes, referee Tuy Vichheka blew his whistle for offside, only for Adeyanju Omokafe to clobber Crown keeper Sou Yaty, who received five minutes of treatment for a rib injury, but no caution for the striker's very late challenge. Pheng, playing wide left instead of his usual full-back role, looked certain to latch onto Pellegrino's pass until Rim Bunheang took it off his toe, and at the other end, Omokafe held off Thourng Da's challenge but fired straight at Yaty. The stalemate was broken on 22 minutes as Crown took the lead their dominance deserved. Kouch Sokumpheak's quick reactions won the ball and he fed leading goalscorer George Bisan, who moved swiftly into the box and in a repeat of his goal from the previous week, steered the ball inside the far post. The striker was soon receiving treatment for a knee injury but was fit to carry on. Pellegrino tried his luck from distance but the shot took a deflection into Proshim's waiting grasp, while Thai Phalla's hopeful strike was more dangerous to the ball-boy than Crown's goal. With five minutes left of the first-half, Sokumpheak's hook over his shoulder from the edge of his own box found Pellegrino lurking on the half-way line and in a flash he'd spotted Bisan's charge from his own half. The Australian's pass was inch-perfect, Bisan's touch was just as good and as Proshim came out, the deadly marksman guided the ball inside the post for his second of the afternoon. 

Crown continued the second-half where they'd left off the first, as Ouk Sothy blasted well over from 25 yards out and Ngoy Srin latched onto a Pellegrino pass but his touch deserted him as Proshim came out, though the keeper failed to gather and was fortunate to get a free-kick. Leng Makara fired well wide from Sothy's pass, before Kok Boris reacted to BBU's refusal to return the ball in a fair-play incident, by clattering Omokafe from behind. It was a feud that had been simmering all match. Boris was quickly substituted for Bin Thierry's second appearance after a long lay-off, with Sokumpheak moving into defence. BBU finally managed to get into the match as Phlong Chanthou headed wide from a free-kick and Prom Putsethy drove the ball well off-target after Obadin had headed clear a dangerous cross. With eleven minutes of the game remaining, that BBU pressure paid off as Obadin was caught out by Phalla's surge into the box and tumble, with referee Vichheka pointing to the spot. Rim Bunheang found the corner with his penalty kick. Crown stormed back up the other end immediately and a Pellegrino free-kick was punched clear by Proshim. On 82 minutes, a training ground one-two between Bisan and Pellegrino, sent the Nigerian striker clear and he pulled the trigger with a low drive for his hat-trick and Crown's third. It took his season's tally to 16 goals and a clear lead in the race for the MCL's Golden Boot award. A minute later and another one-two, this time with headers, looked to have set up Bisan for his fourth but his lob missed the far post as Proshim came out with a high foot. Crown keeper Yaty eventually succumbed to that first-half take-out by Omokafe and had to be replaced by Yok Ary with three minutes of normal time left. Peter Anayo sent a fizzing drive wide of the upright from distance as BBU's final effort, as Crown saw out five minutes of stoppage time for their 11th win in fifteen starts and a return to the top of the league table, clear by two points from Boeung Ket.

Crown coach Sam Schweingruber's views at the final whistle. "Quite happy with the 1st half performance. Then a good response after the penalty against us. We should've closed the game out earlier and scored more goals. A bit of a lack of urgency in and around the box. Overall very pleased with quite a few players and their contribution to the game. A very strong performance by George. Against teams like BBU and how they play, he's very dangerous. That last goal was an amazing ball from Adriano and such a cool finish. I'm very proud of George's contribution. I took Boris off as he was very frustrated at half-time and in some pain. His foul could've been a red card, so I took him off to avoid another booking. It was just after Tony kicked the ball out in sportsmanship and BBU didn't give it back, which really shows their lack of character. And how their number 10 who absolutely crunched Yaty, and how is that not a card, I don't know."
PPCFC v BBU: Yaty (Ary 87), Da, Srin (Morslim 61), Boris (Thierry 69), Obadin, Sokumpheak, Sothy, Makara, Pheng, Pellegrino, Bisan. Subs not used; Soksela, Dara, Sokheng, Pisa. Booked: Srin, Boris, Sothy. MOTM: Bisan - unstoppable when in this mood. Goals: Bisan 3 (22, 40, 82).

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Out-of-sorts Academy go down

PPCFC Academy v Mandalay, back row, LtoR: Chanvuthy, Chhaya, Senteang, Chanpolin, Titchhy, Sovann (capt). Front: Sodavid, Noeut, Ponvuthy, Piphop, Chanchav - click to enlarge
Result: Phnom Penh Crown Academy 0 Mandalay Academy Myanmar 1 (Asia U-16 Champions Trophy).
Academy coach Bouy Dary was forced into making changes to his line-up with goalkeeper Sem Mesa and defensive rock Seut Baraing picking up knocks. That meant starts for Kong Chanvuthy in goal, Choun Chanchav alongside skipper Ouk Sovann and a return for fit-again Suon Noeut. Blazing sunshine and a large crowd greeted the two teams at the kick-off at Olympic Stadium on Saturday morning. The opening stages of the game were cagey with neither team threatening until In Sodavid broke into the penalty box and delivered a low cross that evaded Chhuot Senteang by a matter of inches on fifteen minutes. Most of the play in the attacking third came from Crown with Suon Noeut sending a cross into the hands of Mandalay goalkeeper Sann Sat Naing and Pyae Maung putting an end to Senteang's charge forwards with a timely intervention. On 23 minutes, Sodavid worked himself Crown's best chance when he moved on Senteang's pass, sidestepped Zar Nay Thu's challenge but blasted the ball over the cross-bar, when placement was a better option. A minute later, Mandalay's Moe Min Zaw lobbed his side's first serious effort over the top from distance. Pov Ponvuthy caused consternation in the opposition box with his dash and cross but Senteang lost his footing at the crucial moment. Moe Min Zaw popped up on the edge of the Crown box to unleash a fizzing low drive which Chanvuthy moved quickly to push aside, and as the Myanmar side found their feet at last, Hein Phyo Win saw his glancing header from a corner go well wide. The first-half ended with Orn Chanpolin's shot blocked by a defender after Sodavid's turn created the opening. No goals at the break and an unusally subdued Crown display.

Mandalay took advantage of Crown's failure to clear the ball as it bobbled around the edge of their area, with the second-half just over a minute old. Moe Min Zaw saw his chance for glory and took it, lobbing the ball over Chanvuthy for the opening goal, stunning the home crowd into silence. Referee Suhaimi Ismail from Malaysia consulted his assistant after Crown's Chanchav was floored in his own box before a corner, and flashed yellow cards to both Chanchav and Zwe Thet Paing for the altercation. Moments later, as Sraing Titchhy moved onto Sodavid's through ball, he went over a defender's leg only to see Ismail's hand held high holding a yellow card, for apparent simulation. Crown had improved on their first-half showing but were finding it hard to make head-way until Ponvuthy was felled and Sovann's curling free-kick from 25 yards was held at the foot of the post by Naing. A poor kick from Chanvuthy gave Mandalay hope but Oakkwr Bo was flagged offside, and at the other end Naing was quickly out to smother the danger from Sodavid's break into the box. With half an hour gone, a three minute stoppage saw Crown keeper Chanvuthy forced to leave the field, after he bravely dived at the feet of Aung Phyo Thar and got a kick in the nose for his troubles. Thar was cautioned and Svang Samnang got his first taste of action, as Chanvuthy's replacement. Senteang's spurt into the box was ended when his weak shot was scooped up by Naing, while Samnang's footwork let him down and Aung Pyae Ko's shot went wide with the keeper scampering back between the sticks. Crown's passing, one of their normal strengths, wasn't at its best but a perfect Kim Chhaya cross, with twelve minutes to go, found the forehead of Senteang but the striker sent his header wide of the upright. Holding his head in his hands, Senteang knew the opportunity was a game-changer. A series of substitutions - ten in all in the second-half - disrupted the flow of the match and despite shots from distance by Chanpolin and Sodavid, Mandalay held out for their first victory in this year's competition. An error of judgement by referee Ishmail saw just two minutes added on at the end when the player changes, injuries, a water break and time-wasting suggested at least 8 minutes would've been more appropriate.

Crown coach Bouy Dary gave his thoughts at the final whistle. "The first half we started really slowly and didn't play the way we wanted to play. We weren't at 100% and didn't show enough spirit. I want them to play good football, regardless of the result, but 1st half we didn't do that today. We tried things too quickly, looking for the runs of our striker and it didn't work. Then we started the 2nd half too sleepy and let them score too easily. I warned them, close them down at the edge of the box. We didn't. But after they scored, we played much better, as a team, showed a good spirit, even though we didn't score. Its important with the youths, that they play together as a team, enjoy the game and continue to develop. I think the referee should learn from this game - in the 2nd half there were 10 substitutions, lots of breaks and injuries, but he added just 2 minutes - I don't know what he was thinking! I talked to him and he just said sorry. Next week we have a very difficult game against Frenz, they are very physical, but we have a plan, we know what to do and we want to get a good result."
PPCFC v Mandalay: Chanvuthy (S Samnang 75), Noeut, Chhaya (V Samnang 90), Chanchav, Sovann, Chanpolin (Muslim 90), Sodavid, Piphop (Sakrovy 59), Ponvuthy (Phearath 71), Titchhy (Baraing 83), Senteang. Subs not used: Chansopheak. Bookings: Chhaya, Chanchav, Titchhy. MOTM: Sodavid - always active, involved and available.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

MCL Round-up

The reduced Metfone C-League program at the weekend saw Phnom Penh Crown extend their lead at the top to five points, playing Kirivong off the park, a very wet park I should add, winning 3-0 and totally dominating the game. It was as one-sided a match as you will see. Torrential rain threatened the game though referee Thong Chankethya decided that the water lying on the surface wouldn't stop the teams playing sloshball so they kicked off just 25 minutes late, under the Olympic Stadium floodlights. From the start, Crown kept the ball and two goals by George Bisan gave them a clear winning advantage by the break. Ly Morslim then netted his 1st goal for the club as they ran out very easy winners. Kirivong were never at the races and more performances like that, and they will be heading out of the league. Crown surge into a 5 point lead at the top of the ladder with NagaCorp not playing after their Singapore debacle. Boeung Ket were hoping to close the gap on Saturday but came partially unstuck against National Police, only drawing 0-0. Both sides hit the woodwork but goalless just about summed up the game. In the all-Japanese clash on Saturday, Chan Rithy rolled back the years to send a 40-yard strike sailing over the keeper's head to give TriAsia the lead. Just two minutes later, Albirex Niigata's new striker, Yasuke Ueda levelled and that's how it stayed, 1-1.  Continuing the theme of drawn games, on Sunday Western Uni's Men Seyha hit a swinger from 30 yards which sailed in, but a minute before the break, Phourng Soksana equalised for Army, and 1-1 was how it finished. Midweek games involving NagaCorp and Boeung Ket will throw a bit more light on the race for the championship, though Crown coach Sam Schweingruber feels; "Its still too early to think too far ahead of ourselves, and with so many games to go, there is still a lot of hard work ahead of us." Crown have eight games left to play.

Update: Boeung Ket came from a goal down early on, and an own goal at that, to beat Svay Rieng 2-1 on Wednesday. Chan Vathanaka, used sparingly this season by the Rubbermen, got the match winner but there was controversy with criticism of the match referee and his assistants. In the second match, rain caused a half-hour delay before Kirivong took a shock lead against NagaCorp, who finally woke up after the break. A 3-1 win for Naga was marred by two red cards for Kirivong, including their keeper Kem Makara for an x-rated tackle on Naga's winger Barry Lelouma, while coaches from both teams were dismissed to the stands. Military Police had to jump in when both teams squared up to each other. Both results ate into Phnom Penh Crown's lead at the top of the table.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Crown 5 points clear

PPCFC v Kirivong, back row, LtoR: Obadin, Boris, Bisan, Makara, Sokumpheak, Yaty. Front: Pellegrino, Sothy, Pheng, Sosela, Da - click to enlarge
Result: Phnom Penh Crown 3 Kirivong 0 (Metfone C-League).
Phnom Penh Crown began June as they finished May, in winning mode as they extended their lead at the top of the league table to five points over their nearest rivals Boeung Ket. Despite losing Khim Borey to a niggling knee injury the day before the game, coach Sam Schweingruber was able to include Kok Boris in his starting line-up and birthday boy Bin Thierry got a place on the bench, for the first time in three months, both players returning after injury. A torrential downpour at the end of the earlier kick-off and during the break between matches left the Olympic Stadium pitch under a considerable amount of water and referee Thong Chankethya only allowed a 25-minute delay before calling the teams to begin. With so much water still lying on the surface, that decision could've backfired but Crown set out their stall early on, mastering the conditions with firm and quick passing, leaving Kirivong literally floundering in the shallows. It took just 45 seconds for Crown's top marksman George Bisan to find his range, sending a shot from the edge of the box two feet wide. Boris was quick to clear his lines when a Kirivong free-kick fell invitingly in the box but that was almost it as far as Kirivong being seen as an attacking force. They managed to muster just one single shot in anger in the opening 45 minutes. The league leaders began to build their momentum early on, with captain Kouch Sokumpheak sending a 25-yard drive into the hands of Kem Makara, and the keeper then had to sort out his feet quickly as Neou Sosela bore down on him. Leng Makara blasted a shot over the bar from fifteen yards out after Hong Pheng's dash into the box found his teammate lurking and Sokumpheak, did likewise, with Makara this time using his left foot with greater accuracy, though it still whistled past the uptight by a few inches. The inevitable goal for Crown arrived in the 17th minute as Sosela threaded the ball to Bisan, who broke into the box unopposed and picked his spot inside the far post, leaving Kem Makara with no chance, and the striker wheeling away with his 12th goal of the campaign. Adriano Pellegrino was prominent early on and it was his corner, one of 14 that Crown earned, that Pheng got his head to at the near upright, only to see his attempt miss the post by a whisker. From their next Pellegrino corner, Makara looped a header onto the cross-bar and Sosela's fizzing shot from the rebound found Kem Makara blocking the route to goal. A tap on Sosela saw him go down but Chankethya has a habit of booking players for simulation and he saw the tiny winger's fall as just that, earning him the game's first caution.

Nob Chanborarasmey provided Kirivong's sole attempt on goal after some casual defending allowed him a sight of goal, but his shot went straight to Sou Yaty, who was otherwise seriously unemployed. A quick throw-in from Thourng Da sent Bisan scampering towards goal and weaving past two defenders, his drilled low drive from the edge of the area was pushed around the post by Makara. From that corner, with another perfect delivery from Pellegrino, Bisan had the easiest of tasks of nodding the ball home, unmarked, in the six-yard box for his, and Crown's, second on 39 minutes. They don't come much easier than that for the Metfone C-League's leading scorer with 13 goals. Pheng broke quickly soon after but Ouk Sothy sent his pull-back pass way over the bar. A Pellegrino reverse pass looked to have put Makara in with a chance but the Kirivong keeper came out quickly and cleared the ball with a two-footed challenge that left his namesake needing treatment. The half ended with a second yellow for Crown, given to Sothy for a sliding challenge. Bisan tried his luck from the second-half kick-off, but Makara collected easily enough, and then the Nigerian swung inaccurately as Sokumpheak found him in space on the right side. With his vision in top gear, Sokumpheak saw the run of Sosela but the winger's shot was deflected wide, while another Pellegrino corner found Bisan on the edge of the area in a practice-ground move, only for the striker to miskick into the keeper's hands. Pellegrino was enjoying acres of space and his snap drive spun off legs for a corner, before his right-wing free-kick delivery met the head of Sokumpheak, only for the ball to fizz just wide of the upright.

Coach Schweingruber handed Ly Morslim a rare chance and the switch with Sosela would work well, but before that two more Pellegrino corners from the right were met by Odion Obadin at the far post, only for Kem Makara to stand strong and snatch up both attempts on goal. On 70 minutes, Morslim was on the spot to grab his own slice of glory. Pheng's surge down the right wing saw him pull the ball back to Bisan, who let fly with a fizzing shot, which Makara pushed out into the path of the substitute and he neatly tucked the ball into the gaping goal for Crown's third, and his first in Crown colours. Another change and Bin Thierry reappeared after his lengthy absence, and it took him just twenty seconds to unleash a tasty drive which was blocked. In Vichheka finally picked up Kirivong's first caution for a poor challenge on Morslim and from the free-kick, Pellegrino's dipper was caught above his head by Makara. Soon after, Nhem Sovannara's rash tackle on Pellegrino saw him booked and a touchline chat between Schweingruber and the referee ensued. From the dead-ball kick, Thierry's effort cleared the wall but Makara pushed it clear from the foot of the post. And that was it. Pretty much one-way traffic for the entire game and a deserved three points for Crown as their championship challenge gathers speed. Sam Schweingruber's view on the game and his team's league position: "The field obviously made it a bit of a lottery but we completely dominated the game. After just 15 minutes we were 1-zero ahead and we had the luxury of trying a few things, and probably should've scored a couple more goals. At the end of the day, I'm happy with the performance, we did really well and kept good possession of the ball. 2nd half they were never dangerous at all, nothing. Possession-wise, we could've done anything we wanted and yes, we were not clinical enough. But very happy with the result. There are still 8 games to go, we're just a few points ahead, a lot can still happen. Kirivong are the weakest team in the league, so good for us we got six points from them - especially as both Naga and Boeung Ket dropped points against them. Its still too early to think too far ahead of ourselves, and with so many games to go, there is still a lot of hard work ahead of us."
PPCFC v Kirivong: Yaty, Pheng, Da, Boris, Obadin, Sokumpheak (Thierry 77), Sothy (Suhana 68), Makara, Sosela (Morslim 63), Pellegrino, Bisan. Subs not used: Soksela, Dara, Sokheng, Srin, Pisa. Bookings: Sosela, Sothy. MOTM: Pellegrino - always prompting and dead-ball kicks are sublime. Goals: Bisan 2 (17, 39), Morslim (70).