|Va Sokthorn, wife and daughter in Crown colours|
Thursday, July 31, 2014
|The Crown players, LtoR, are: Thierry, Yaty, Boris, Sokumpheak, Sothy, Da, Suhana, Srin, Pheng|
Wednesday, July 30, 2014
|Kouch Sokumpheak getting his MVP award from the club president Rithy Samnang|
Most Valuable Player = Kouch Sokumpheak
Best Goal = Bisan George vs TriAsia
Best Save = Yok Ary vs Western
Best Assist = Adriano Pellegrino vs Police
Best Free-kick = Khim Borey vs Western
Best Sportsman = Tony Obadin
Most Improved Player = Ouk Sothy (Messi)
Best Celebration = Hong Pheng
Most Important Goal = Kouch Sokumpheak vs Naga
Worst Tackle = Neou Sosela vs TriAsia
Worst Miss = Leng Makara vs Naga
Phnom Penh Crown also handed out their own set of Academy awards this week before the youngsters took a break to spend time with their families. Recognition went to the following Academy players:
Top scorer for U-17s – Chhuot Senteang
Top scorer for U-15s – Mao Piseth
Best Academy Student- Orn Chanpolin and In Sodavid
Most Improved Player – Pov Ponvuthy
Best Behaved Player & Student – Orn Chanpolin
Best Leader – Ouk Sovann
Most Improved Behaviour – Suon Noeut and Kong Chanvuthy.
A big well done to all the Academy boys. We are very proud of them.
Tuesday, July 29, 2014
|PPCFC celebrating their success - courtesy of Pou Neang/CamSports|
Crown’s marquee signing Adriano Pellegrino gave his view on what winning the Championship meant to him. “I think it’s been sensational, that’s the right word. Honestly, it’s been a dream come true to come here and have an impact on the team and to be talking right now about winning the championship by 7 points, it’s amazing. It’s been a dream for me, being presented with that medal today and holding that trophy was honestly one of the best moments of my career. I’ve been very pleased with my performance. There was a lot of pressure on me when I first came, to do well and to push on – we had one goal as a team, to win the championship. My personal goal was to come and contribute, score goals and assist my teammates, and today I got another assist to cap it off, which I was pleased with, so all in all I’ve been very pleased with my personal contribution. Most of all our goal was to win the title, and to win the last game where there was nothing to play for, but we trained really hard this week and even though people might say the season was already over, Sam made sure that we won today. A great finish from everyone. Sensational.”
With 52 goals in 3 seasons of football in Cambodia, George Bisan has proved himself a lethal striker. A goal-machine. And he did what his coach Sam Schweingruber wanted him to do when he signed George before the season began, to realise the dream as a team and his dream as a striker and to get success. So how did George view this season? “I feel very excited to win because of the hard work throughout the team and we wanted to achieve this goal and God helped us, so its a great honour and joy. I’m very excited to win the championship trophy. I’m very happy with my own contribution, a little bit sad I cannot get the Golden Boot but at least I won the championship, so that’s enough for me. Next season I will be more explosive, so I will look to next season to get the Golden Boot. I’m very happy with the team because we all work so hard and encourage each other. Especially Adriano who encourages me in the field of play, and Sokumpheak, who tells me to remain calm, relax and play my game as the goals will come. I thank God for the courage he’s given me and for our success this season.”
Odion ‘Tony’ Obadin has just completed his 4th season with Crown and collected his second Championship medal. It would be hard to find a better clubman, and example to his teammates. So we asked Tony how did this success compare to 2011. “It’s not much different to 2011, we worked just as hard this time around as well. My first season was really great, then two seasons where we didn’t achieve enough, we lacked a few things like self-discipline and team discipline. The difference is now that we have so much discipline, teamwork in abundance, hard work and some great quality throughout the team that has really helped us. I can say it was a good season for me personally, last year I was okay but I didn’t perform as well as I did this year. To get five goals this season and a couple of assists and I stepped up my whole game from last season. I’m very happy.”
Crown captain Kouch Sokumpheak flies out to Laos this week with the Cambodia U-21 team for a friendly match, but I caught up with him to ask for this thoughts on winning the Metfone C-League Championship this year, which made it a hat-trick of Championship successes for the former Khemara Keila player. "I'm very happy and very excited to win it again. The second and third times were more meaningful for me as for the first championship I was used not so much and was substitute a lot. Now you can see how much the Cambodian players have improved than before, the same with the different foreign players we now have from so many nations. In my opinion, Crown won the championship because we prepared so well at all levels and we had unity throughout the club, the coaches and the players. The players like each other on and off the pitch, we are like a family. The leaders and administrators are great too. Everyone worked very hard, and worked together, to get this success. That's why I believe we deserved it. For me personally, I'm very happy as I can play a lot of games this season and contribute more to the team. I was so happy that I scored against Naga so that we could win the trophy. Very happy. I'm very pleased we won because we had to work really hard all season, whether under the hot sun or the rain. And I'm glad to win as I am getting old now and I don't know what will happen in the future."
Monday, July 28, 2014
|Sam Schweingruber with his son and friend|
I found it hard to believe how the referee tried to keep the game interesting. The amount of yellow cards we got for nothing, then a red card and a penalty, it makes me laugh, almost as much as Vathanaka getting the MVP award. What has he done, what game has he decided, what influence did he have on this year's league? Certainly not anywhere close to what Sokumpheak has done, what Adriano has done, what a whole bunch of our players have done. I'm shocked, but not surprised at all. As for best coach, I had a strong feeling they would give it to a Cambodian.
We came close last season so it was an obvious progression that we wanted to win it this year. The boss [Rithy Samnang] helped in many ways by getting the people on board we needed, coaching-wise and playing-wise. There were a few games that were close, though today was not a close game, there was only one winner today. The crowd support today was amazing, I wish we'll have this more often. For the players, I'm sad for some who didn't play today and for some who didn't have the impact this season they wanted to but very pleased overall with the performances from everyone involved."
|Ung Kanyanith gets his coach award - photo by Masayori Ishikawa|
Sunday, July 27, 2014
|Crown collect their 5th Championship - photo by Masayori Ishikawa, click to enlarge|
Phnom Penh Crown signed off their season with a final game against runners-up Boeung Ket and looking to settle a score after the Rubbermen won their first round encounter. Only Kok Boris was absent with an infected foot injury, Bin Thierry taking his place alongside Odion Obadin. In front of a massive Olympic Stadium crowd under the floodlights, the match came to life on eight minutes as Ly Ravy underhit a back pass which George Bisan quickly read and with Peng Bunchhay in no-man's land, the Crown striker lobbed the ball into the unguarded net for his 20th strike of the season from all of thirty yards out. Two minutes later and Thourng Da found Adriano Pellegrino with a through ball but his run into the box was halted by a lunging Ravy tackle. Chan Vathanaka weaved his way to the edge of the Crown penalty area but Ouk Sothy made a timely interception. Chukwuma Ohuruogu's long throw-ins are a known menace and Sou Yaty was under pressure from Mohammed Tijani before Obadin cleared his lines. At the other end, Khim Borey cut inside his marker only to see his shot deflected for a corner, from which Sos Suhana sent a fizzing shot a foot wide as it was cleared to him 35 yards from goal. Crown were forcing the pace and a Borey dink saw Bisan get a touch as Bunchhay came out to smother at his feet. The striker sustained an ankle injury and a few minutes later was replaced by Leng Makara. From the corner, a training ground move between Pellegrino and Thierry saw the latter's low drive blocked and cleared. Vathanaka's dipping free-kick almost caught out Yaty, who collected the ball at the second attempt with Sok Pheng closing in. Borey's deep cross was an inch or so too high for Pellegrino who sent a skimming header wide of the target. Boeung Ket's best chance fell to Khuon Laboravy, but he blasted high and wide, and looked a pale shadow of last season's top scorer and MVP. On the half hour of a pulsating encounter, a Pellegrino corner seared its way across the face of goal and Makara somehow managed to put his effort over the bar from close range. Referee Tuy Vichheka had already booked Hong Pheng for dissent and then harshly cautioned Pellegrino for kicking the ball at the Boeung Ket goal, at the same instant as he blew his whistle. Borey sent a 30-yard effort a few feet wide and twice Kouch Sokumpheak broke into the box but both times his shot was blocked by a forest of legs. The half ended with Yaty racing out of his area and then falling at the feet of Laboravy after recovering his position.
Another Ohuruogu throw into the six-yard box was caught by Yaty at the second attempt early on, but it was Crown who upped the stakes with a second goal after just four minutes of the restart. A foul on Makara near the left-hand touchline allowed Pellegrino to swing in one of his trademark pinpoint free-kicks and Obadin stabbed the ball goalwards with his right foot, with Bunchhay unable to stop it rolling over the goal-line. Boeung Ket made an early double change, though Tijani was the culprit as Yaty was hurt catching a free-kick. A late challenge on Thierry earned the Boeung Ket striker a yellow card two minutes later. Moments later Ohuruogu went into the book for a last-man trip as Sokumpheak broke clear onto Pellegrino's pass, though he was fortunate the referee was in a lenient mood. From the free-kick, Thierry curled the ball a foot wide of the far post. There was no such leniency from referee Vichheka on 59 minutes when Vathanaka spurted forward and the ball brushed the hand of Pheng. He immediately reached for his cards and flashed a yellow followed by a red. It was harsh in the extreme. Vathanaka's free-kick was easily handled by Yaty. The keeper was caught by Laboravay's boot in their next attack as Vathanaka's bye-line center caused concern, though Laboravy then went into the referee's notebook for an obvious trip on Sothy. Vathanaka was Boeung Ket's only source of danger and his 25-yard free-kick was acrobatically tipped over the bar by Yaty. From the corner, Momoh Sumaila will feel he should've done better with his blind run and far post header. Another Vathanaka free-kick fell onto the top of the bar before referee Vichheka handed the Rubbermen a lifeline they didn't really deserve. Touch Pancharong's lunge as Makara cleared his box should've been a caution but instead the referee saw it the other way and booked Makara, before pointing to the penalty spot. The Crown players simply couldn't believe their eyes and no amount of complaining would change the match officials' view. The clock had ticked into stoppage time as Vathanaka fired home the penalty which Yaty got his fingers to but couldn't stop. To add insult to injury, Vichheka allotted an additional six minutes but Crown were determined to hold onto their hard-fought success and they did so without any difficulty, finishing the game as 2014 champions and leaving Boeung Ket to lick their wounds, trailing some seven points behind in the final league standings. All that was left was for Crown to step up to the stage and collect their fifth Championship trophy.
PPCFC v Boeung Ket: Yaty, Da, Pheng, Thierry, Obadin, Sokumpheak, Sothy, Borey, Suhana, Pellegrino (Srin 90+2), Bisan (Makara 25). Subs not used: Ary, Soksela, Dara, Sokheng, Morslim, Pisa, Sosela. Bookings: Pheng (+ red card 59), Pellegrino, Yaty, Makara. MOTM: Obadin - rock solid and the winning goal. Goals: Bisan (8), Obadin (49).
|PPCFC v B/Ket, back row, LtoR: Pheng, Obadin, Thierry, Bisan, Borey, Yaty. Front: Da, Suhana, Sothy, Sokumpheak, Pellegrino - click to enlarge|
Friday, July 25, 2014
Wednesday, July 23, 2014
|The MCL table after Week 21|
Tuesday, July 22, 2014
|The new RSN playing surface before the drains are laid|
Monday, July 21, 2014
|PPCFC v Chonburi, line-up, back row, LtoR: Chanvuthy, Chanpolin, Chanchav, Senteang, Titchhy, Sovann. Front Row: Sakrovy, Baraing, Ponvuthy, Sodavid, Phearath - click to enlarge|
For their final ACT game of the season, the Crown Academy were looking to do a lot better against the competition favourites Chonburi here in Thailand, after losing 8-3 at home last week to the same opponents. The home team had already qualified for the competition's semi-finals, having won the 2013 version and are keen to repeat the feat. Crown would finish in 3rd place in Group B whatever the outcome. Kung Chanvuthy got the nod for the final match between the sticks with slight knocks for Kim Chhaya and Suon Noeut leaving them on the bench. In the opening minutes, Crown looked to Sraing Titchhy for a breakthrough but he was halted in his tracks on a couple of occasions. Chanvuthy was called into action in the 8th minute as Kritthanaphong Paidaen got a lucky break in the box but his shot was palmed away by the Crown stopper. On sixteen minutes Orn Chanpolin released Titchhy and as he raced clear he was upended by Autthagowit Jantod. A yellow card for the defender, saved from dismissal by a teammate in a covering position. Ouk Sovann's free-kick from 20 yards out looked to have found the top corner only to hit the post and bounce to safety. A let off for the home team. Moments later, Long Phearath ventured down the left flank, slalomed around three challenges but his dangerous low cross was cleared at the last moment with Chhuot Senteang looming menacingly. It was Chonburi's turn to hit the woodwork when Nititorn Sripramarn fed Paidaen on the edge of the box and he lazily struck a shot which rebounded into Chanvuthy's hands after hitting the upright. Pov Ponvuthy was looking lively on the left flank for Crown and after his run was blocked, Chanpolin sent a speculative 25-yarder wide of the target. Chonburi brought on substitute Theeraphat Niyomrit after 31 minutes and in less than a minute, he opened the scoring for the home team. Keeping the ball with successive passes, Kritsada Kaman spotted Niyomrit's blindside run into the box and picked him out perfectly, for the substitute to arch his neck muscles and send a header over Chanvuthy's outstretched hands. Chonburi kept the ball well for long periods, with Sripramarn heading over and Niyomrit firing straight at Chanvuthy before the goalkeeper was pulled up for holding the ball too long. The free-kick came to nothing as half-time came with the group winners a goal to the good.
The second half started brightly for the visitors with Chanpolin feeding Senteang who looked to have escaped the back-line only to take a moment too long to get his shot away, and Arthit Kansangwet got a last-ditch tackle in to thwart Crown's leading scorer. A rare miskick by Seut Baraing presented Paidaen with a golden opportunity from fifteen yards out but Chanvuthy stood firm and helped the ball over the cross-bar with a strong hand, with just five minutes played. Choun Chanchav got a timely block in to deflect a shot from distance by Saharat Sontisawat, the home skipper. As Chonburi pressed, last week's 5-goal hero Sittichok Paso headed over and Sontisawat blasted well wide. With twelve minutes of the second-half gone, Senteang was played in by Ponvuthy and as he got a shot away with his left foot, home keeper Chakhon Philakhlang was at full stretch to keep his goal intact. Men Piphop came on for Crown and was immediately in the action as he raced clear onto Mat Sakrovy's pass, but found Philakhlang's reactions razor-sharp as he left his line to block the attempted cross-shot. In an end-to-end encounter that was being lapped up by the audience, the home team went in search of a second goal and skipper Sontisawat stung Chanvuthy's fingertips with a 20-yard blast, before Paso weaved his way around two defenders but screwed his shot across the face of goal. It was edge-of-the-seat stuff. At the other end, Senteang took the ball on from the halfway line and evaded the tackle of Kansangwet before unleashing a curling low drive which Philakhlang did well to get down to and hold at the second attempt. Sontisawat escaped his marker and laid the ball to Sripramarn only for Chanvuthy to be equal to his snap-shot at the near post. Chonburi were fortunate to find the referee from Malaysia in a benevolent mood when Natthanon Charoensingkeewan jumped up in his own box and the ball struck his hand, only for play to be waved on. Senteang was a constant thorn to the home team and a one-two with Ponvuthy gave the striker a half chance, though Jantod got his foot in to block for a corner. The final ten minutes was devoid of chances as Chonburi were content to sit on their lead and Crown couldn't find a way through, to end the season with a defeat but their pride restored after this narrow reverse.
Crown Academy coach Bouy Dary had this to say at the final whistle. "The boys did really well in terms of defending, creating chances, we didn't score but we played good football, especially in the second half and we did well. Unlucky not to score and get a penalty for handball. I'm proud that the boys gave everything they had. We lost the game but I'm happy to see us improve from the last game. Its important to understand why we do so well away from home. First, the quality of the pitch. Every away team has a far better pitch than the Olympic Stadium. They allow us to play good football, we play the ball on the ground and a good surface allows us to play our game. Secondly, away from home we play in the late afternoon or evening when its cool, which makes a real difference from the morning games at home, when its so hot. We've improved a lot this year, as a coach I want more, but I'm happy that we've shown a big improvement over last year. We only drew 2 games last year and found it hard to score goals. This year we have scored a lot more goals and we've stopped the other teams scoring, except the Chonburi game when we had a lot of injuries. I'm quite happy with our results this time around. I would choose Pov Ponvuthy as our most improved player. He's only small but he causes other teams problems and works really hard at all aspects of his game, attacking and defending."
PPCFC v Chonburi: Chanvuthy, Sovann (K Chhaya 90+3), Phearath, Chanchav, Baraing, Chanpolin (Muslim 89), Sodavid (Chansopheak 86), Sakrovy (Rozak 72), Ponvuthy (Noeut 81), Titchhy (Piphop 61), Senteang. Sub not used: S Samnang. Bookings: None. MOTM: Senteang and Chanvuthy - both had very good games.
Sunday, July 20, 2014
|PPCFC XI, back row, LtoR: Srin, Gibbs, Bosma, Oliveira, Kim, Boris (capt). Front: Sosela, Pisa, Soksela, Suhana, Sokheng - click to enlarge|
On a sodden RSN Stadium pitch on Sunday morning, a Phnom Penh Crown XI were too strong for TriAsia B in a practice match for players who didn’t appear in the C-League matches yesterday. Crown also gave games to three players who’ve been training with the team in recent days – strikers Koen Bosma, Joey Gibbs and Danish defender Franck Bodjo. Jeongho Kim opened the scoring on 35 minutes when he finished off a Koen Bosma free-kick that the keeper couldn’t hold. Dutch striker Bosma gave Crown a two-goal lead a minute later when he drove home from a Rafael Oliveira pass. Two minutes after the break, Australian Joey Gibbs poked into an open net after Ly Morslim’s shot was saved, and five minutes in, Bosma cracked in his second from Neou Sosela’s pass. TriAsia responded with two goals, the first a penalty before Bosma recorded a hat-trick on the hour with another competent finish. A pass by Gibbs and a strong run into the TriAsia box by Kok Boris, saw the defender score with a clean strike on 77 minutes, while TriAsia netted another late penalty to end the proceedings.
PPCFC line-up: Soksela, Pisa, Srin (Bodjo 46), Boris, Kim, Sokheng (Dara 66), Suhana (Morslim 46), Oliveira, Sosela, Bosma, Gibbs. Goals: Kim (35), Bosma 3 (36, 50, 60), Gibbs (47), Boris (77).
Saturday, July 19, 2014
|PPCFC v Svay Rieng line-up, back row, LtoR: Obadin, Makara, Thierry, Bisan, Borey, Ary. Front: Dara, Da, Sothy, Pellegrino, Sokumpheak - click to enlarge|
Phnom Penh Crown slipped to their first defeat in 16 matches and their first reversal in Round 2 of the Championship, which they had already guaranteed themselves with their win over NagaCorp last week. Kok Boris was suspended so coach Sam Schweingruber sprang a surprise by slotting Bin Thierry alongside Odion Obadin as the central defensive pairing. Hong Pheng missed the game as he was at a wedding. It took a while for the game to warm up before George Bisan's shot was blocked by James Adekunle and Obadin cleared the danger from Prak Mony Udom's low cross into the six-yard area. The best opportunity fell to Dzarma Bata when a fortunate rebound off Ouk Sothy fell into his path but he slipped his shot wide of Yok Ary and the upright. Ary looked a bit uncomfortable as he fumbled a low shot from distance by Nob Tola around the post, before an unfortunate clash required Svay Rieng to change their goalkeeper after just twenty minutes. Khim Borey slotted a pass through to Sothy but keeper Aim Sovannarath came out quickly to collect, but also got caught by Sothy's boot on his head and required stitches in a wound. Sar Sophea replaced him in goal. Bisan's long range free-kick was deflected for a corner and then his run across the pitch, exchanging passes with Adriano Pellegrino and Leng Makara, ended with the striker firing well wide of the target. A few minutes later Pellegrino played a one-two with Bisan and let fly from 25 yards, though his drive whistled a foot over the cross-bar. Borey's long ball send Bisan scampering clear on the left touchline but his sprint into the box was ended with a heavy touch allowing Sophea to collect. Bata forced a one-handed save from Ary though a raised flag meant it didn't count.
On 33 minutes Crown opened the scoring when Kouch Sokumpheak's lobbed pass, aimed at Bisan, found the head of Seuy Visal and in trying to direct his header to Sophea, sent it inside the far post for an own goal. It took just two minutes for Svay Rieng to equalise. Udom's curling free-kick was forced in at close range by Adekunle's high foot though Crown complained bitterly to referee Sang Sopheak that the scorer's foot was dangerously high, with a mark on Ary's ribcage to back up their claims. He waved aside the appeals. Stung by the decision, Crown forced the pace with halftime approaching. Borey released Bisan again and this time the striker cut inside but couldn't find the power to beat Sophea. Bisan nearly turned provider when his through ball looked to have caught out the Svay Rieng defence with Pellegrino looking to get a crucial touch, only for Sophea to clear the ball to safety off the Australian's toes. Udom's curler narrowly avoided the post after Tola had set him up and to close the first-half, Makara blasted well over after Pellegrino's shot was deflected into his path. It was all-square at the interval.
Crown will be disappointed to concede just three minutes after the restart as Svay Rieng broke, Tola laid the ball into the path of Bata, and he made no mistake, forcing the ball past Ary, to take him well clear of Bisan in the race for the Golden Boot award. Responding well to the reverse, Visal was forced to head the ball away from danger from Borey's cross, though at the other end it needed a timely intervention by Thierry to clear a similar situation. Bata's touch let him down as Udom sent him clear and Ary came out quickly to collect at the striker's feet. A trademark Pellegrino free-kick from 35 yards out looked destined for the net from Sokumpheak's flicked header but Sophea dived full-length to divert it around the post. Pellegrino's corner was met by Borey's head at the near post and though Sophea's stop gave Makara a close range header, he missed the target and sent the golden opportunity over the cross-bar. On 63 minutes, Crown got the goal their pressure deserved. Pellegrino, 30 yards out on the touchline, floated over a free-kick which missed everyone except Makara at the far post and his hook back across goal was nodded in by Sokumpheak from a couple of yards out to draw the teams level again. Nofiu Lawal swept a cleared corner past the post through a crowded area, before another Pellegrino corner was headed goalwards by Sokumpheak but stopped on the line by Visal and cleared.
Ngoy Srin tried his luck from 35 yards when a poor clearance landed at his feet, but a back-pedalling Sophea saw it all the way and fingertipped it over the bar. A foul on Sothy gave Borey an opportunity for one of his curling free-kicks but he pulled it left and past the upright from 25 yards. The winning goal came out of the blue with twelve minutes to go. A long ball down the middle saw Ary race out to kick it away, only for the ball to hit Bata and ricochet into the path of substitute Samouen Pidor, who calmly volleyed it into the empty net. It was rough luck on Ary and his Crown teammates who quickly recovered their composure to take the game to their opponents. Pellegrino found Borey and he took aim from 30 yards only for his ferocious drive to strike the wrong side of the post. Sophea, not involved at all, remained motionless on the ground for two minutes as Svay Rieng played for time. Neou Sosela sent a hit and hopeful shot wide before the final chance of the match fell to Borey. Two minutes into stoppage time, Sokumpheak forced his way at the heart of the defence and slipped the ball to his teammate, but Borey's dipping drive was tipped aside by Sophea and referee Sopheak had seen enough and blew for time, and the end of Crown's nine-match winning sequence.
Coach Sam Schweingruber had this to say about the game. "The game was quite good, I thought they had a bit more in midfield, they keep the ball well and were a bit better organised in the 1st half. We had a couple of good opportunities and were a bit unlucky a couple of times. We got a fortunate goal and then they got one that shouldn't have counted for a high foot, though it was poor defending by us. I was quite happy with our possession, rotations and general build-up play. We made a little mistake at the start of the 2nd half and were too far away from Bata, and he showed why he's the top scorer. I was unhappy with that. We equalised, had more opportunities, we were the better team at that stage. Then as we were deciding on our next change, their third goal came. We did really well playing from the back today and Ary had some really good moments helping the build-up. And then to have this fairly easy ball, which he kicked at Bata and it bounced perfectly for a one-touch finish. These things happen. We tried to equalise, there wasn't much between the two teams and I'm disappointed we couldn't get a result out of this game. We deserved another goal."
PPCFC v SVR: Ary, Dara (Srin 54), Da (Sosela 83), Thierry, Obadin, Sokumpheak, Sothy, Borey, Makara, Pellegrino, Bisan. Subs not used: Yaty, Soksela, Pisa, Morslim, Sokheng, Suhana. Bookings: None. MOTM: Pellegrino - for his 2nd half prompting. Goals: OG (33), Sokumpheak (63).
Monday, July 14, 2014
|Week 20 and PPCFC have clinched the Championship with 2 games to go|
Saturday, July 12, 2014
|PPCFC v Naga, back row, LtoR: Srin, Boris, Bisan, Obadin, Borey, Ary. Front: Suhana, Sothy, Da, Sokumpheak, Pellegrino (and mascots) - click to enlarge|
Match Result: Phnom Penh Crown 1 NagaCorp 0 (Metfone C-League).
Phnom Penh Crown's challenge for the Metfone C-League, winning all 8 matches in the second round of competition, gave them the comfortable position of having to win just one of their final three league matches to claim the title. With a full complement of players to choose from, only a late concern for Hong Pheng left him on the bench as coach Sam Schweingruber went with his tried and tested line-up, led out by captain Kouch Solumpheak. Opponents NagaCorp included no less than six ex-Crown players in their squad. Naga kicked off but it was Crown's Sos Suhana who had the first shot at goal in the second minute, but it was an easy pick-up for Samrith Seiha. Khim Borey cut in and let fly, but it sailed wide and Chhim Sambo gave an easy catch for Yok Ary at the other end. On fifteen minutes, George Bisan took a pass from Sokumpheak, turned his marker and sent in a dipping, bouncing shot that Seiha just managed to tip around the post. Five minutes later, Kok Boris rose high to head Borey's center firmly against the cross-bar and as the ball bounced down on the goal-line, the danger was cleared. It was the highlight of an otherwise nervy and inconclusive first-half for both teams. Odion Obadin stood strong to head away a dangerous Sun Sopanha corner and moments later Sun Sovannrithy found room in the box but headed over the top with Naga's best opportunity of the half. Borey sent a cross-shot across Seiha's goal, a rebound off Ngoy Srin sailed over the bar and Adriano Pellegrino's center was inches away from Bisan's boot in front of goal as referee Chy Samedy blew for half-time.
Pheng replaced Srin at the break as Crown showed their determination to get the all-important win they required. Pellegrino tried a long range effort that was well wide, and Bisan set himself up for a drive from the edge of the box that took a deflection off Zogbe Anderson and cleared the bar by a matter of inches. With their next attack, Crown at last broke the deadlock and sent their fans into raptures in the grandstand. Pellegrino, as he has done so many times, sent over another of his pinpoint crosses from the right flank and Sokumpheak timed his run to perfection, sending his header past Seiha and into the corner of the net from twelve yards. A fitting reward for the captain who covered every blade of grass on the pitch. Bisan was next to threaten as he drove goalwards from 20 yards out with Seiha parrying and collecting at the second attempt. Sovannrithy headed wide and Ary dealt comfortably with a long range effort from Jang In Yong as the clock ticked down. In stoppage time, Anderson got a touch to a cross but steered it wide and with the final action of the game, Seiha rushed out of his area and clattered into Bisan, as the striker got to the ball first but sent it looping wide of the target. The whistle blew and Crown's players and staff began wild celebrations on the pitch as the three points confirmed their fifth Championship victory, with two matches still left to play.
Head coach Sam Schweingruber gave his verdict in the midst of the celebrations. "It's a great relief finishing the job in the first Final and not having to go through another two Finals. Lots of emotions, pressure, it's been building up over the week, trying to prepare, do everything right and hoping things will work out. The game was more difficult than I expected. They had almost nothing but we still couldn't create the chances and opportunities that we are used to. At the end of the day, just very happy, thankful to the fans who came today to support us, they were really amazing - and really thankful to the players who put in 90 minutes of excellent fight, showing the right spirit, showing the discipline and showing the commitment of champions. I was very happy with what we displayed, but we can clearly see we have a long way to go if we want to play at the next level. We have to get a lot more comfortable to play our style when we're under pressure, when things are a bit shaky because of the emotions, we have to develop that. Hopefully we can move forward as a club and the team can establish even more victories for the future of Crown."
PPCFC v NagaCorp: Ary, Srin (Pheng 46), Da, Boris, Obadin, Sokumpheak, Sothy, Borey, Suhana (Thierry 88), Pellegrino (Makara 90+2), Bisan. Subs not used: Yaty, Soksela, Dara, Pisa, Sokheng, Sosela, Morslim. Bookings: Boris. MOTM: Sokumpheak - the game's winning goal. Goal: Sokumpheak (53).
|Celebrations after the final whistle - courtesy of Masayori Ishikawa|
|PPCFC Academy v Chonburi, back row, LtoR: K Chhaya, Senteang, Chanpolin, Sakrovy, S Samnang, Sovann (capt). Front: Phearath, Rozak, Noeut, Ponvuthy, Baraing - click to enlarge|
For their final home game in the Asia U-16 Champions Trophy, Crown coach Bouy Dary was without midfield regulars In Sodavid and Men Piphop and wideman Sraing Titchhy all because of injury. Chonburi were the 2013 champions and are topping Group B once again, and are odds-on favourites to take the 2014 championship as well. Crown kicked off on another hot morning at the Olympic Stadium and surprised their opponents by taking a very early lead, with less than two minutes played on the clock. Chhuot Senteang spotted the run of Mat Sakrovy and picked him out beautifully with his pass, Sakrovy's first touch seemed to be too much but he got his toe to the ball before the Chonburi goalkeeper and rolled it under his body. In the 13th minute Chonburi showed their prowess as Sittichok Paso let fly with a low shot into the corner past a hapless Svang Samnang in the Crown goal. Autthagowit Jantod headed a corner in Samnang's hands before Paso netted his second with a sweet first touch from Samart Authairatsamee's cross that eluded the Crown defence on 23 minutes. Visiting keeper Chakhon Philakhlang was off his line quickly to snuff out danger as Senteang raced onto Kim Chhaya's through ball, but Chonburi remained a constant threat each time they attacked. Chhaya got in the way of Saharat Sontisawat's fierce strike and Samnang was also quick to deny Kritthanaphong Paidaen's burst into the box. On 38 minutes, the league leaders pierced the home defence for a third time as Authairatsamee got behind Long Phearath and though Samnang saved his shot, the ball squirmed under his body for Paso to make it a hat-trick with the easiest of tap-ins. Chhaya, playing in a wide right position for the first-time, sent a 30-yard shot harmlessly wide and then forced a near post save from Philakhlang in stoppage time, as the keeper reacted quickly to touch the shot around the upright.
Suon Noeut failed to re-appear for the second-half with Ken Chansopheak taking his place, to the delight of the crowd. Crown started the second period more brightly, with Chhaya's short corner to Seut Baraing catching the visitors unaware, but Baraing's shot was easily collected by the Thai stopper. In the fifth minute after the restart, Chonburi reasserted themselves due to some sloppy defensive play. Chansopheak's backpass was too weak, Paso challenged Samnang as the keeper went for it with his feet and the Thai striker rolled in the loose ball for his, and his team's fourth. Choun Chanchav replaced the limping Ouk Sovann, and Crown awoke from their slumber when Senteang got to Sakrovy's through pass but couldn't steer his shot on target. The partnership worked a treat a minute later as Sakrovy swerved past two defenders and rolled a pass into the path of Senteang, who made no mistake with his shot from ten yards to make it 4-2 on 57 minutes. The goal sparked the crowd into life, Orn Chanpolin sent a long distance effort into the keeper's hands and Chonburi quickly picked up three bookings for late challenges as Crown raised the tempo. In between, Sakrovy's free-kick to the far post was an inch or two from Chhaya's desperate dive but the extra effort was negated as Chonburi broke to extend their lead on 61 minutes. Authairatsamee's pass sent Paidaen sprinting clear from the half-way line, with a hint of offside, and the striker calmly slid his shot under Samnang's dive for their fifth. Paso sent a free-kick a foot wide before Crown again raised hopes when Chhaya won the ball, fed Senteang and he lashed the ball in from fifteen yards on 64 minutes. The goals were coming thick and fast, and as soon as the home team were looking to get back into the game, Chonburi showed their clinical side to put it further out of reach. Just a minute after Senteang's second, Paso netted his fifth and the best goal of the game, as a superb one-touch move carved open the home defence, leaving the hotshot to smash the ball home to make it 6-3. Pov Ponvuthy slipped in Senteang and the striker was denied an attempt on goal by Jantod's timely intervention.
Chonburi were not finished and Paidaen made Chanchav's weak clearance look even worse by quickly poking the ball past Samnang and in off the post on 69 minutes. Baraing came to the rescue to deny Nititorn Sripramarn with a last-ditch tackle, and Samnang held Paidaen's low drive as Chonburi created havoc each time they attacked. A flurry of substitutions allowed both teams some breathing space, but a rare mistake by Baraing saw Peerapat Kaminthong strike a shot which Samnang blocked well. The visitors final goal of the game came with three minutes of the match to go. Panawat Ketmala sped onto a through ball, evaded Chanchav and slipped the ball under Samnang to give Chonburi eight goals in a game for the second week running. Before the final whistle, home substitutes Theang Chhaya and Yeu Muslim both sent shots over the cross-bar, but the home side were well beaten by a team looking serious contenders for their second successive trophy. The Crown Academy must travel to Thailand for the return game in a week's time. Coach Dary gave this assessment. "Both teams didn't play their best but Chonburi finished their chances well and they have strikers who can do that. First half we scored early on but then we took it too easy, not serious or strong enough and let them score three easy goals. In the second-half I was more pleased with how we played, though whenever we scored, we made a mistake and they scored again. We played some good football, everyone wanted to fight back, which is what I want to see. Overall, we should do better than this." Crown donated $270 from the gate receipts and 60 One World Futbols to the Cambodian Center for the Protection of Children's Rights, from where thirty children joined us for the match.
PPCFC Academy v Chonburi: S Samnang, Noeut (Chansopheak 46), Phearath, Baraing, Sovann (Chanchav 50), Chanpolin, Sakrovy (V Samnang 87), Rozak (T Chhaya 68), Ponvuthy, K Chhaya, Senteang (Muslim 75). Subs not used: Chanvuthy, Piphop. Bookings: None. MOTM: Baraing - fought for everything. Goals: Sakrovy (2), Senteang 2 (52, 64).
|The Chonburi starting line-up v PPCFC|
|Our guests were from the Cambodian Center for the Protection of Children's Rights|
Friday, July 11, 2014
Bottom-line, if Phnom Penh Crown beat NagaCorp in tomorrow's late Metfone C-League clash under floodlights at Olympic Stadium, then they will be champions with two games to spare. If they don't win they have games against Svay Rieng and Boeung Ket to get the three points they need to make sure of the title, their first since 2011. Crown head coach Sam Schweingruber gave his thoughts to the Phnom Penh Post this week on tomorrow's mouth-watering clash between the first and third-placed teams.
“We are close to receiving the rewards for our hard work over the last 20 months. Yes, we know that we are facing the strongest opponents of this year for all of our final three matches and will take preparation as seriously as we can and not be affected by the comfortable view of the table. If we approach our game the way we have recently, I am confident we can lift the title as expected by many of our fans. But it will certainly not be easy as each of our opponents will do everything possible to see us stumble. While Naga’s and Boeung Ket's form has recently not been their best, Svay Rieng have shown similar qualities to last year when they were Champions - so we have been warned!”
"For the first time in many months every player is available for selection and I will have to make the right choices for this match, which we will treat as a Final. We have won all our 8 games of the second round and established some good ways to control games and get the results we want. We won't make many changes to the way we have recently played. For our first game with Naga, we were disappointed with the result and at the same time were fortunate as they missed a late penalty. Hopefully we can learn from that and find a way to overcome the best defence of the league (only conceded 13 goals so far) and show that we have the best attack (we've scored 52 goals) and score the goals we need."
"Obviously our foreign players have been important for us, just looking at George's 19 goals, the many assists by Adriano and the defence organised around Tony. Our Cambodian players have also developed very well which is recognized by the national team coach in selecting so many to his squad. In each position we have options and players have to fight for a starting spot, which creates healthy competition. The work rate and discipline of our team is very good and the unity is an additional strong factor. The coaching staff have as a team managed with hard work to get the team on a nice level in all aspects of the game and we are looking forward to further strengthen the ability of Phnom Penh Crown. Difficulties come along during a season, key players are injured or not fit and players suspended, but each time less recognized players have stepped up and did a good job for us."
Thursday, July 10, 2014
|Dzarma Bata, knocking in the goals for Svay Rieng|
* There is no official confirmation of the goals tally from the Football Federation.
|Week 19 of the MCL campaign, courtesy of Sabay.com.kh|
In Wednesday's midweek game, former champions Svay Rieng gave Kirivong a lesson they won't forget quickly, thrashing them 9-0 with Nigerian striker Dzarma Bata netting a personal tally of 5 goals to take him above Crown's George Bisan in the race for the Golden Boot. Prak Mony Odom grabbed a brace, with Nob Tola and Samoeun Pidor adding the others. In the later game, NagaCorp and National Police rode out a boring 0-0 draw.