Friday, October 31, 2014

Proud performance

PPCFC v Binh Duong, back row, LtoR: Pheng, Obadin, Bosma, Srin, Ngwa, Yaty. Front: Pellegrino, Boris, Sokthorn, Sothy, Sokumpheak (capt) - click to enlarge
Friday 31 October 2014: Result: Becamex Binh Duong 5 Phnom Penh Crown 2 (Toyota Mekong Club Championship semi-final).
Crown gave a fighting performance tonight at the home of Binh Duong and should be proud of themselves for causing the V-League champions so many problems. It was a very close run game until two goals late in the game flattered the eventual winners. After both sets of players were left to get cold with never-ending pre-match speeches and introductions, it was Binh Duong who caught Crown cold with a goal after a minute and 19 seconds on the clock. Nguyen Trong Hoang's corner fell at the feet of Dieng Abass, he made himself a yard and his shot took a wicked deflection of Kok Boris to leave Sou Yaty with no chance. Crown marched straight up the other end and Koen Bosma's shot was deflected for a corner. Next an Adriano Pellegrino free-kick was finger-tipped off a queue of waiting heads for a corner by lanky keeper Bui Tan Truong. Yaty was alert to the space Oseni Bolaji found himself and the Crown keeper kept gout his shot with his legs. With play switching ends, Va Sokthorn was flagged offside after Baldwin Ngwa's backheel put him free inside the box. Crown's chance to equalise appeared to arrive on 19 minutes as Bosma played Pellegrino into space on the left, his tantalising center was touched goalwards by the outstretched leg of Ngwa but the ball agonisingly sailed the wrong side of the upright. Yaty was again in the thick of it as he blocked a close range attempt by Abass from Bolaji's center, and then acrobatically caught a cross from Le Tan Tai. With 4 minutes of the first-half remaining, Binh Duong cracked open Crown through the middle and despite an initial stop from Yaty on Nguyen Anh Duc, Hoang poked the ball into the unguarded net. There was still time for Bosma to head a Pellegrino cross over the bar as Au Van Hoan applied pressure on the Dutchman.

Crown came out fighting at the start of the second-half and took the game to the home team. Va Sokthorn had a shot saved from Ngwa's lay-back with just 48 seconds on the clock, Pellegrino shaved the paint off the post with a ferocious drive from Bosma's pass, and the Dutchman had a drive blocked on the edge of the box. A 25-yard free-kick from Bosma deflected off the wall for a corner, and Sokthorn played in Ngwa, who cut inside but Truong was equal to his well-struck shot and punched the ball out of danger. Le Cong Vinh entered the fray and immediately found room only to shoot weakly at Yaty, but it was Crown who finally reaped the rewards for their pressure. On 66 minutes Bosma was on hand to tap home at the far post from Hong Pheng's perfect delivery across the face of goal. Kouch Sokumpheak weaved past three defenders but Ngwa's shot was blocked but with 20 minutes to go, Binh Duong knocked the wind out of Crown's sails with a scrappy third goal, Oseni Bolaji bending low to head in near the foot of the post, after Cong Vinh had headed down a cross from Hoang. As the game bounced from end to end, George Bisan came on for Ngwa with thirteen minutes to go and within fifteen seconds was thwarted by a defenders heel, as he played a neat 1-2 with Pellegrino. Moments later, Ngoy Srin's headed pass gave Bisan another opportunity, but he was a foot wide with his looping finish. As both teams made a flurry of personnel changes, Binh Duong made sure of the win when a quick break allowed Le Cong Vinh to rifle the ball into the roof of the net from an Abass pass, with two minutes to go. Crown were caught again in the 91st minute, another breakaway and Abass again found Nguyen Tang Tuan, who had time to pick his spot for number five with a neat curling shot. Not to be denied, Crown refused to give up and Leng Makara's run and cross was headed in by Bisan from close range in the fourth minute of stoppage time, to close out the game at 5-2, as referee Surasak from Thailand blew for full-time.

Sam Schweingruber gave this reaction at the final whistle to the packed press room: "When you have a game plan and everyone knows what you want to do, and after 2 minutes you are already 1-zero down, your plan is all messed up. I am extremely proud of the reaction my team showed in the first 25 minutes of the 2nd half - we were dominant and created quite a lot of good chances but were unlucky not to equalise at that stage. In a cup semi-final, losing 2-1 or 5-2 is not much of a difference, and you can see at the end we made changes and pushed up, gave everything and unfortunately it wasn't enough. We played a very strong team, compliments to our opponents, they have good individual skills and a good understanding of each other. I think I was most impressed today with the performance of the goalkeeper. We are usually quite good on our set pieces and you could see how comfortable he was in dealing with our crosses and corner kicks. I was also impressed with their striking force, good runs and dangerous when they had the ball." Crown will now meet the other beaten semi-finalist, Hoang Anh Attapeu, who lost 5-4 on penalties to Ayeyawady after a 1-1 draw on 90 minutes, in the 3rd-place play-off on Sunday.
PPCFC v Binh Duong: Yaty, Pheng (Makara 83), Srin (Da 82), Boris, Obadin, Sothy (Thierry 72), Sokumpheak, Sokthorn (Borey 66), Bosma, Pellegrino, Ngwa (Bisan 77). Subs not used: Ary, Suhana. Bookings: Pellegrino, Obadin. MOTM: Pellegrino. Goals: Bosma (66), Bisan (90+4).

PPCFC prepare

Kouch Sokumpheak answers the questions from Bayon TV
I've been a bit busy with Phnom Penh Crown preparing for their battle of the century with the Vietnam League champions Becamex Binh Duong at 8pm tonight, here in Binh Duong, just outside Ho Chi Minh. I'll bring you the result later but its live on Bayon TV at 8pm in Cambodia, so make sure you watch it. Here the Bayon TV boys are interviewing the Crown captain Kouch Sokumpheak, at training last night. Also a snap of the team before they left Phnom Penh airport en route for Vietnam. We arrived late on Wednesday, managed a training session on the pitch last night and now we're getting focused on tonight's semi-final in the new Toyota Mekong Club Championship. We've been paired with the favourites so we have the toughest game of all.
The PPCFC team before flying out for Vietnam

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Crown unveil

PPCFC staff at the press conference today. LtoR: Heang, Legg, Sokthorn, Schweingruber, Bosma, Carter, Brouwer
Phnom Penh Crown held a press conference this morning at the ASKAP Gold Investment office to announce a series of exciting new developments at the club. Head coach Sam Schweingruber has signed a new 2-year extension to his contract, which is great news for everyone involved with PPCFC. Sam had this to say to the press today: “When I first came, the club was going through a difficult time and it has been hard work to get the right structure and organisation in place. We have continued to progress and were Champions last year. With the strong leadership and support of President Rithy Samnang, the hard work of all the staff and the potential of the young players we have, makes me believe that PPCFC has a great future ahead of it. I am very happy to be chosen to continue to serve the club and to bring further success to the team.” Joining him are two new members of the club’s coaching staff. His new 1st team assistant coach is Jonathan (Jonny) Carter. With over 15 years of coaching experience in the UK, USA, Singapore and Hong Kong, the 39-year-old Welshman holds a coaching A-License and was most recently head coach of Kowloon Cricket Club in Hong Kong. He has run coaching courses and sports camps for many years in Asia and is the author of highly-respected coaching manuals. Another new face is our Academy Technical Director and Performance Analyst, Tom Legg. Tom (27) has coached in the USA, India and the UK and run coaching programs in Kenya and Sierre Leone, where he most recently was the head coach at the Craig Bellamy Foundation and Performance Analyst for the Sierre Leone national team. Englishman Tom holds a UEFA B coaching License and will work closely with our Academy head coach Bouy Dary.

The list of announcements continued with the unveiling of the club’s new website,, which will work in tandem with our Mobile App – the 1st-ever in Cambodia and available as a free download on Apple and Android mobile phones – to bring our fans the most up to date information on Crown’s matches, players and what’s happening at the club. Working very closely with, these are two very exciting developments in bringing the club even closer to its rapidly-growing fanbase both in Cambodia and abroad. We encourage all PPCFC fans to visit the website and download this free App and keep in touch with the club.

Crown are also very happy to announce the appointment of Dentsu Sports Asia (DSA), the Singapore-based sports marketing company, as our strategic partner. The two-year deal will see DSA provide our club with a host of marketing, branding, commercial and sponsorship opportunities. “DSA is always on the look-out for top football clubs in the region and PPCFC definitely fits the bill with its grassroots programme and its desire for commercial growth. We want to start this initiative of forming collaborations with clubs such as these to fully develop football in the south-east Asian region and beyond,” said Kunihito Morimura, President and Chief Executive Officer of Dentsu Sports Asia. Crown President Rithy Samnang, added, “We are proud to have formed this strategic partnership with Dentsu Sports Asia, a leader in the sports marketing industry, and we are confident that this collaboration can take this football club to greater success in the near future.”

Crown announced their 18-man squad that will travel to Vietnam tomorrow for Friday’s Toyota Mekong Club Championship match against the V-League Champions Becamex Binh Duong (8pm, live on Bayon TV). It is: Yaty, Ary, Da, Borey, Sothy, Thierry, Boris, Sokumpheak, Suhana, Makara, Pheng, Srin, Sokthorn, Bosma, Pellegrino, Obadin, Bisan and Ngwa. Two of the players were introduced to the press for the first time, Koen Bosma and Va Sokthorn, although they have already played a number of practice matches for Crown and a third, Sary Matnorotin, who is in Japan right now and last season appeared for AEU, was also included in the news round-up.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

More Academy victories

PPCFC U-17s, back row, LtoR: Chanvuthy, Sakrovy, Noron, Chanchav, V Samnang, Titchhy. Front: Rozak, Phearath, Noeut, Muslim, Piphop (capt) - click to enlarge
Result: PPCFC Academy U-17s 23 Bong Paoun 0 (Cambodia U-17 Youth League).
As it was in their first meeting in the Youth League, it was all one-way traffic from the opening minute of this afternoon's game at Tonle Bati. Coach Bouy Dary used the game to give his squad players a run-out. The U-17s led 11-0 at the interval and top scorer for the game was Mat Sakrovy, who scored five goals in the first-half and another three after the break to hit 8. Mat Noron scored 4, captain Men Piphop scored 3, and Suon Noeut moved up from full-back to net a hat-trick as well. Yeu Muslim 2, Choun Chanchav, Long Phearath and Ian Sodavid also scored. More later.

PPCFC U-15s, back row, LtoR: Samnang, Safy, Savey, Sovannaroth, Chanmony, Panha (capt). Front: Kakada, Pisoth, Piseth, S David, N David - click to enlarge

Result: PPCFC Academy U-15s 8 Chraing Chamres 1 (Cambodia U-15 Youth League).
The Academy U-15s made it six out of six with another comprehensive victory, but conceded their first goal of the season, a penalty. Mao Piseth top scored again, netting five goals, opening the scoring and grabbing another on the stroke of half-time. Chraing Chamres' only attack of the 1st half earned then a penalty, which they scored. After the break, Nop David scored from the penalty spot, Sin Kakada floated in a free-kick and Tong Chanmony fired in an unstoppable shot. Piseth took advantage of some weak defending with two goals from open play, before he wrapped it up from the penalty spot with his fifth. More later.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Crown much too strong

PPCFC v TriAsia, back row, LtoR: Srin, Obadin, Pheng, Bosma, Bisan, Yaty. Front: Sothy, Boris, Makara, Sokumpheak, Pellegrino - click to enlarge

Saturday 25 October 2014: Result: Phnom Penh Crown 5 TriAsia 2 (Friendly).
Crown dominated this practice match, switched to Olympic Stadium, from start to finish, and deservedly won but will be disappointed to concede two goals, as they look to their final preparations before their trip to Vietnam for the Toyota Mekong Club Championships. Strengthened with the return of five players from national team duty, it was fit-again George Bisan who rammed home Crown’s opening goal on 13 minutes. Adriano Pellegrino’s corner found Odion Obadin in space at the back post and his downward header was blasted home by last season’s top goalscorer, who returned to training this week after a couple of months on the sidelines. On 20 minutes, Koen Bosma’s low center found Leng Makara in acres of space but his side-foot effort missed the target. Kouch Dani fired TriAsia’s only opportunity high and wide as the first of three 35-minute periods came to a close. Four minutes after the restart, Pellegrino was fouled on the edge of the penalty box and Bosma wasted no time in spotting space inside the far post and his free-kick was aimed perfectly for Crown’s second goal. Sou Yaty recovered from a poor kick out by stopping TriAsia’s advance with his legs, with Crown quickly going up the other end to extend their lead on 43 minutes. Pellegrino took aim from thirty yards and his low skidding drive went through the arms and legs of the TriAsia goalkeeper and crossed the goal-line before he could recover. Dani struck the cross-bar moments before his teammates pulled a goal back through Sopheak as Crown’s defensive line caved in too easily. Less than a minute later, George Bisan was amongst the goals again as Pellegrino’s pass allowed Bosma all the time he needed to pick out Bisan at the far post with a pinpoint cross and the striker powered the ball home with a forceful header. 53 minutes on the clock.

Dutchman Bosma tried an audacious chip from just inside the half-way line and Obadin failed to keep his shot down as a corner was laid back into his path. Five minutes into the third period and substitute Baldwin Ngwa’s headed goal put Crown in total control. Sos Suhana picked out Va Sokthorn’s run into the box and his chest down and pass to Ngwa was spot-on. Two chances in a minute came and went as both Ngwa and Khim Borey missed the target, before Soeukirin made Crown pay for waiting for an offside whistle by firing home TriAsia’s second goal on 81 minutes. The goal will give coach Sam Schweingruber much to work on before the team head to Vietnam next Wednesday. Ngwa was denied by the keeper’s legs, who also saved Sokthorn’s 20-yard drive.  Borey missed a simple chance that was identical to Makara’s earlier miss and then sent a stooping header a foot wide. Ngwa was causing problems and went close with three more opportunities including a toe-poke against the upright from Borey’s incisive pass.   
PPCFC v TriAsia: Yaty (Ary 71), Pheng (Pisa 71), Srin (Da 58 (Sokheng 88)), Boris (Chhaya 105), Obadin, Sothy (Suhana 63 (Chanpolin 105)), Sokumpheak (Sodavid 88), Makara (Sothy 71 (Sovythang 88), Bosma (Sokthorn 71), Pellegrino (Baldwin 71), Bisan (Borey 63 (Titchhy 105)). Goals: Bisan 2 (13, 53), Bosma (39), Pellegrino (43), Ngwa (75).

Monday, October 20, 2014

Cambodia end on a high note

Cam v Brunei, back row, LtoR: Udom, Sovan, Laboravy, Piseth. Pheng. Yaty. Front: Suhana, Chhoeun, Samoeun, Visal, Sokumpheak (capt) - courtesy of Masayori Ishikawa/CAMPA/Khmer Goal
Result: Brunei 0 Cambodia 1 (AFF Suzuki Cup).
Cambodia ended their AFF Suzuki Cup qualification competition with a 1-0 victory over Brunei in Laos this afternoon, their 2nd win in 4 games, but it was not enough to qualify. Myanmar and Laos go through to the finals, with the Burmese claiming top-spot in a 2-1 decider. Chhin Chhoeun scored the game's only goal on 56 minutes, taking a Prak Mony Udom pass in his stride and sending his finish low inside the near post. Cambodia had other chances with Kouch Sokumpheak and Sos Suhana going close in the first-half. Khuon Laboravy and Chan Vathanaka should've extended the lead but failed in front of goal, and a very poor Brunei team, who left their first-choice keeper and their captain on the bench, nearly snatched a draw late on when they hit the upright. Cambodia deserved their win, with 4 Phnom Penh Crown players starting the game: Sokumpheak, Sou Yaty, Suhana and Hong Pheng. Ngoy Srin missed out through suspension. 
Cambodia starting XI: Yaty, Samoeun (Virak), Pheng, Piseth, Sovan, Visal (Vathanaka), Udom, Sokumpheak, Chhoeun, Suhana (Chanrasmey), Laboravy. Subs not used: Sophea, Sovannrithy, Daravorn, Soksana, Sothearath. Goal: Chhoeun (56).

Sunday, October 19, 2014

U-15s make it five

PPCFC U-15s, back row, LtoR: Kakada, Savey, Chetra, Sovannaroth, Safy, Samnang. Front: Sophara, Panha, Piseth (capt), Pisoth, N David - click to enlarge
Result: PPCFC Academy U-15 6 Chhlam Samut 0 (Cambodia U-15 Youth League).
Captain for the day Mao Piseth gave the Academy U-15s a fifth minute lead and they went onto dominate their opponents to record their 5th victory in as many matches at Tonle Bati. Sin Kakada provided the pass to Piseth, but the striker did all the hard work for his own second goal, dodging the attentions of three defenders and firing in a superb finish on 28 minutes. Sok Panha let fly from 25 yards and his shot took a deflection off a defender's head to put the Academy 3-nil ahead on the stroke of half-time. Seven minutes after the restart, Nop David set up Kakada for another excellent finish as Crown made all the running. On 66 minutes San David produced an audacious lob from 20 yards for a fifth and Yue Safy's deflected shot made it six in the final minute.

Match report to come.

Power play by Polin

PPCFC U-17s, back row, LtoR: Chanvuthy, Sodavid, Senteang, Chanpolin, Sovann, Chhaya. Front: Piphop, Ponvuthy, Chansopheak, Baraing, Noeut (capt) - click to enlarge
Result: PPCFC Academy U-17 6 Civil Aviation 1 (Cambodia U-17 Youth League).
Another powerful performance from the Academy U-17s as they took the game to Civil Aviation, who in particular, had no answer to a man-of-the-match display by midfield dynamo Orn Chanpolin. It was the lanky youngster who fired in a Kim Chhaya free-kick from the edge of the box after just 3 minutes. He rose highest to nod home an In Sodavid corner six minutes later. Despite Civil Aviation's heavy-handed tactics, Pov Ponvuthy tapped home Ken Chansopheak's centre on 26 minutes before Chanpolin's twice-taken penalty, on 36 minutes, made it four at the break. The penalty incident caused a 4-miunute stoppage as most of the CA team walked off the pitch after Chanpolin's first penalty was saved, but the kick was ordered to be retaken for encroachment. Chanpolin took his tally to 4 goals on 59 minutes, taking advantage of a poor clearance with a dipping drive. Goal number six fell to Yeu Muslim, who took Suon Noeut's pass in his stride and slotted the ball inside the far post for another convincing win at Tonle Bati. 

Match Report to come.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Cambodia miss out again

Cam v Myanmar, back row, LtoR: Piseth, Vathanaka, Laboravy, Sovannrithy, Pheng. Yaty. Front: Sovan, Samoeun, Srin, Sothearath, Sokumpheak - click to enlarge
Result: Myanmar 1 Cambodia 0 (Aff Suzuki Cup).
The Cambodia national team lost 1-0 to Myanmar as their AFF Suzuki Cup qualification came to a premature end with one game still to play, in Vientiane, Laos this afternoon. Kyaw Ko Ko slotted home a penalty on 42 minutes as Myanmar went to the top of the five-team table. TV replays were inconclusive as Sok Sovan had his back to the camera when Japanese referee Iida Jumpei adjudged he'd handled a harmless cross into the penalty area. Cambodia huffed and puffed but didn't cause the Myanmar back-line too many problems, though Khuon Laboravy should've done better with a chance early in the second half. Coach Lee Tae-Hoon surprisingly left his super-sub Sok Chanrasmey on the bench until just twenty minutes to go and his introduction failed to inspire his teammates as it did against Timor-Leste. In fact, it needed two more very good saves from Sou Yaty to keep Cambodia in the game towards the end, as Cambodia failed to find a way through and are out of contention for a qualifying spot once again. Four Phnom Penh Crown players started the game; captain Kouch Sokumpheak, Sou Yaty, Hong Pheng and Ngoy Srin, with Sos Suhana an unused sub. With Laos beating Timor-Leste 2-0 in the later game, the two qualifiers have been confirmed as Laos and Myanmar, who go forward to the competition's final stage.
Cambodia v Myanmar: Yaty, Samoeun (Chhoeun 69), Pheng, Piseth, Sovan, Sovannrithy, Srin (Chanrasmey 70), Sokumpheak, Sothearath (Udom 58), Vathanaka, Laboravy. Subs not used: Sophea, Visal, Daravorn, Suhana, Virak, Soksana. Bookings: Srin.

Friendly reverse

PPCFC v Police, back row, LtoR: Ngwa, Bosma, Odion, Borey, Chanpolin, Ary. Front: Makara, Sokheng, Da, Sothy, Pellegrino - click to enlarge
Result: Phnom Penh Crown 1 National Police 3 (Friendly).
Crown came unstuck against Police in this afternoon's practice match at RSN Stadium, going behind on 14 minutes and couldn't find the net as two periods of thirty minutes flew by. Khim Borey, Koen Bosma and Odion Obadin all went close without troubling the scoreboard. At the start of the third period, in fact just 20 seconds in, a tug by Seut Baraing after he'd just come on as a substitute earned him a red card, Crown reduced to ten men and Police's Borey netted from the penalty spot. The homse side pushed forward and dominated the ball and on 80 minutes Bosma curled a 20-yard free-kick into the top corner, but Crown were caught by a breakaway and Police's Borey scored their third on 88 minutes. 

More from the game later.

Thursday, October 16, 2014


Cambodia's starting XI v Timor-Leste, back row, LtoR: Piseth, Sovan, Sovannrithy, Pheng, Laboravy, Yaty. Front: Srin, Suhana, Daravorn, Soksana, Sokumpheak (capt) - courtesy of Masayori Ishikawa/CAMPA/Khmer Goal
Result: Timor-Leste 2 Cambodia 3 (AFF Suzuki Cup Qualifying).
The Cambodia national team found themselves a new poster pin-up boy when Sok Chanrasmey left the substitutes bench with thirty minutes of the game remaining, and turned this AFF Suzuki Cup qualifying match on its head with a hat-trick of goals to earn his team a 3-2 victory, after they trailed by two goals with fifty minutes of the game played. The shock of the round said the TV commentator as Cambodia's national team came back from the dead to beat Timor-Leste in Laos this afternoon. Entering the fray as a replacement for Ngoy Srin, the TriAsia substitute Chanrasmey was on for five minutes before he netted his first on 65 minutes as Prak Mony Udom pulled the ball across the face of goal for an easy tap-in. While Sou Yaty kept his team in the game with a world class save at the one end, Chanrasmey was in space to direct his header into the corner from a Khuon Laboravy cross at the other on 78 minutes. And the Cambodian players were in seventh heaven just four minutes later as Chan Vathanaka lashed a shot against the cross-bar and as it bounced down, Chanrasmey made sure it counted as he headed the ball home. A turnaround of monumental importance to keep Cambodia's qualifying chances alive. There was still time for Laboravy to hit the foot of the post. In truth, whilst the victory was sweet for Cambodia, their opponents visibly wilted as the game wore on, playing their third game in six days and having lost two of their better players, recalled by their Kuwaiti club. The first-half was pretty poor fare by any standard and it was Timor who took a 25th minute lead when a free-kick took a deflection en route, caught Yaty going the wrong way and all he could do was palm it onto the knee of Barbosa who accepted the gift. Six minutes after the break, Timor pulled further in front when Bertoldo found space in the box and finished with a flourish, back-heeling the ball past Yaty. It was the only piece of flair Timor produced, despite a sprinkling of Brazilians in their line-up. Two quick substitutions by Cambodia's Korean coach Lee Tae-Hoon and the new faces combined to open the door for Cambodia's revival, which they took full advantage of.  "We were a bit lucky today as Timor had played two matches straight and it was obvious that they were tired. They were also missing two key players,” said Lee after the match. “We had some defensive problems, so this is something which we need to work on.” Cambodia now meet the favourites to progress, Myanmar on Saturday, hoping to keep their renewed dream alive.
Cam v Timor: Yaty, Pheng, Sovannrithy, Daravorn, Piseth, Sovan, Sokumpheak, Suhana (Udom 54),  Srin (Chanrasmey 60), Soksana (Vathanaka 35), Laboravy. Subs not used: Sophea, Visal, Samoeun, Sothearath, Chhoeun, Virak. Bookings: None. MOTM: Chanrasmey. Goals: Chanrasmey 3 (65, 78, 82).

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Diary dates

A few dates for your diary. The Metfone Cambodian League will begin on 25 March 2015 according to an announcement from the football federation. That of course depends on whether the new Olympic Stadium pitch will be ready in time. The grass will be torn up sometime this month and with the help of a $500,000 infusion of FIFA money, a new artificial grass surface will be laid. It should be ready by late February we are told. Because of the work taking place, the Hun Sen Cup rounds involving C-League teams will be played at the Army Stadium and they will begin from 8 January 2015 as a season precursor. There is still no word about the play-off dates for the Division 1A teams and the two clubs that finished at the foot of the C-League table in July. Albirex Niigata have been in serious training since the regular season ended and have signed a number of players from other clubs including former Crown players Noeu Sosela, San Narith and Men Seyha. They are determined to retain their C-League status. There is no word from Kirivong, whose key players have already moved onto other clubs. With the advent of home & away for some clubs in the 20-14 C-League, Svay Rieng have announced a four-team tournament (the three invited teams are from adjoining provinces in Vietnam) over the Water Festival in November period to open their new stadium in the province. The latest news from Phnom Penh Crown's new RSN Stadium is that they are well into the swing of building their new grandstand and have begun work on their new playing surface in the past week. They are targeting the end of the year to complete all the major building works, including seating on all four sides of the stadium in Tuol Kork.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Opening defeat

Cambodia v Laos, back row, LtoR: Sovan, Laboravy, Vathanaka, Samoeun, Piseth, Yaty. Front: Pheng, Suhana, Visal, Srin, Sokumpheak (capt) - photo by Masayori Ishikawa/Khmer Goal - click to enlarge
Result: Laos 3 Cambodia 2 (AFF Suzuki Cup Qualifying).
Cambodia's Suzuki Cup adventures began with a 3-2 defeat against the hosts Laos in Vientiane, but it was a close-run game in which the visitors showed their battling qualities to drag themselves level after going two goals behind in the second-half. Five Phnom Penh Crown players started the game. The first-half was a close affair which Cambodia just shaded according to the tv pundits but neither team could break their duck and it was goal-less at the break. Both Kouch Sokumpheak and Sos Suhana went close early on, in the opening half. The home team came out at the start of the second half with real purpose, no doubt inspired by coach David Booth's half-time blast, and opened the scoring on 54 minutes when two Cambodian defenders failed to deal with a long ball and Sihavong scored with a well-placed drive. Sou Yaty in the Cambodian goal was in the thick of it, with three good saves but didn't reach a ball delivered into the corridor of uncertainty between the last defender and the keeper, and Khampheng got the merest of touches to claim Laos' second on 70 minutes. To their credit Cambodia responded just three minutes later with a cracking goal from Khuon Laboravy as he bamboozled the Laos defenders and let fly with his trusty left foot. Cambodia's tails were up and just two minutes later, substitute Sok Chanrasmey got his knee to a Laboravy center and eased the ball over the line, despite Laos claims for offside. Game on and a great recovery from the visitors, albeit relying on a long ball strategy for their offensive moves. However, their hopes were dashed just six minutes later when Khampheng took a leaf out of Wayne Rooney's book the night before, and curled a free-kick over the wall and past Yaty's despairing dive, for what turned out to be the game's clincher. Yaty had to make two more saves whilst Laboravy took a tumble in the box but the referee was having none of it. To be honest, he went down too easily. And that was that. Laos just about deserved it on the balance of play, but Cambodia showed they weren't there just to make up the numbers.

After the game, Lee Tae-Hoon, the Korean coach of Cambodia, had this to say. “We missed our chances in the first half and let our guard down early in the second, allowing those two goals which put a lot of pressure on us. It is always very hard when it comes to playing the opening game against the hosts. We have to do better in our next match. There are a lot of things we need to get right.” David Booth, the successful coach of Phnom Penh Crown in 2011, who took over the Laos team just a few weeks ago, said: "We didn’t play well in the first half and we kept giving the ball away but in the second half we were a lot stronger. Maybe the players thought we had done enough when we went two goals up and they lost their concentration and let in two quick goals. They could have easily given a third away at that point but we got the lead back and held on for the win, which was very important for our first game.” Cambodia face Timor-Leste in their next game on Thursday, who will be cock-a-hoop after their 4-2 win over Brunei in the opening game. Murilo de Almeida grabbed a hat-trick to make his mark in the tournament. Timor have six players playing abroad - two are playing in Kuwait, three in Brazil and one in Thailand - with the remainder from the local amateur league. Cambodia will have their work cut out to kickstart their Suzuki Cup hopes into life.
Cambodia NT: Yaty, Pheng, Visal, Piseth, Sovan, Samoeun, Srin (Sothearath), Sokumpheak, Suhana (Chanrasmey), Laboravy, Vathanaka. Subs: Sophea, Udom, Chhoeun, Daravorn, Soksana, Virak, Sovannrithy. Bookings: Sokumpheak, Srin. Goals: Laboravy (73), Chanrasmey (75).
Ex-PPCFC coach David Booth, now with Laos, emerged victorious
Cambodia's Lee Tae-Hoon, ponders his next move at the press conference

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Rozak inspires win

PPCFC U-17s, back row, LtoR: Chanvuthy, Sakrovy, Senteang, Chanchav, Chanpolin, Baraing. Front: Sovann, Ponvuthy, Sodavid, Phearath, Rozak (capt) - click to enlarge
Result: Phnom Penh Crown Academy U-17 4 Boeung Ket 1 (Cambodia U-17 Youth League).
Crown began in confident fashion, passing the ball cleanly while Boeung Ket were content to defend in numbers. Mat Sakrovy headed over a Long Phearath free-kick and Orn Chanpolin had a long range shot deflected inches wide of the upright. The BK goalkeeper did well to punch a Seut Baraing free-kick to safety after Ouk Sovann was fouled. At the other end Kung Chanvuthy made a diving save but from the resulting corner, he was clearly impeded as he went for the ball, but the referee turned away as Boeung Ket stabbed the ball home to take the lead, much to Chanvuthy's disgust. Four minutes later on 28 minutes, Crown were level. In Sodavid's short pass put Sath Rozak in space 25 yards out and he drilled an arrow-like scorcher into the bottom corner. It was his third attempt on goal in five minutes. Sodavid then set up Sakrovy but he powered a shot against the crossbar, a long distance drive from Seut Baraing stung the keeper's hands before Sakrovy went close on two more occasions. With four minutes of the first-half remaining, a foul on Chhuot Senteang gave Sovann the excuse to try his trademark free-kick and he didn't let his teammates down. Twenty-five yards from goal he curled the ball over the wall and in off the inside of the post. 2-1 to Crown. And there was still time for both Sakrovy and Senteang to miss very presentable chances before the break.

The one-way traffic continued after the interval. Sodavid had a shot blocked by a forest of legs, another Sovann free-kick was caught by the keeper, who then took out Chanpolin around his ears, as he was clean through and touched the ball past the stopper, only for the referee to blow for a foul by Chanpolin. A decision no-one could fathom. It was at the very least a red card and a penalty. Yeu Muslim broke clear but his shot was saved by the keeper's legs, Baraing sent a free-header over the bar from close in before Crown claimed their third on 75 minutes. Rozak's through ball was pounced on by Suon Noeut, who cut inside a defender and let fly with a hard drive inside the near post. Crown piled on the pressure, with Muslim's snap-shot tipped over the bar and then he screwed another shot across the face of goal. Sakrovy's drive was touched onto the cross-bar by the keeper until on 87 minutes Men Piphop blasted in the Academy's fourth from ten yards out, to make it 2 wins in two games.
PPCFC U-17s: Chanvuthy, Sovann, Phearath, Baraing, Chanchav, Chanpolin (Piphop 82), Sodavid, Rozak (capt), Ponvuthy (Noeut 66), Sakrovy, Senteang (Muslim 63). Subs not used: S Samnang, Chhaya, Titchhy. Bookings: Ponvuthy. MOTM: Rozak - led by example. Goals: Rozak (28), Sovann (41), Noeut (75), Piphop (87).

4 in 4

PPCFC U-15s, back row, LtoR; Rafat, Samnang, Safy, Sovannaroth, Chanmony, Chetra. Front: Kakada, Pisoth, Piseth, Panha, N David (capt) - click to enlarge
Result: Phnom Penh Crown Academy U-15 2 Svay Rieng 0 (Cambodia U-15 Youth League).
The Academy U-15s made it 4 wins in as many league games with a dominant performance at Tonle Bati on Sunday morning. After SVR struck the cross-bar early on with their only real threat of the game, Crown took control and Svang Samnang should've opened the scoring when put through by Mao Piseth, but fired straight at the goalkeeper. The same player opened the scoring 18 minutes when Piseth's shot was saved and Samnang followed up to head home. Piseth had an angled shot saved and Samnang blasted a Lim Pisoth pass over the crossbar before half-time. Piseth screwed a good chance across the face of goal before the clock ticked onto 63 minutes and Sok Panha added a clinical finish under the advancing keeper to Vuth Sophara's neat through ball, to seal the victory. Twice in the space of a minute in stoppage time Sophara went close, but found the SVR goalkeeper in good form, as Crown took the three points on offer and lead the league table.

PPCFC U-15s; Rafat, Chanmony, Chetra (Savey 59), Safy, Sovannaroth, Samnang (Sophara 51), Kakada (Rina 69), N David (capt), Panha, Pisoth, Piseth. Subs not used: Samel, Punlork, Davann. MOTM: Kakada. Goals: Samnang (18), Panha (63).

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Tough win

PPCFC v San Siro, back row, LtoR: Borey, Bosma, Pisa, Ngwa, Obadin, Ary. Front row: Pellegrino, Da, Boris, Sokheng, Chanpolin - click to enlarge
Result: Phnom Penh Crown 2 San Siro XI 1 (Friendly).
The Crown first-team beat the African San Siro team 2-1 at RSN Stadium this afternoon in a practice match. The African team had recently lost 4-2 against the Cambodia national team and were littered with MCL players from different clubs. In the first of three thirty-minute halves, Baldwin Ngwa, back after injury, twice went close, with a mistimed attempt and then a header that went the wrong side of the upright. Adriano Pellegrino also sent a powerful free-kick inches wide before the break. Pellegrino drilled in a low shot which the keeper spilled but Ngwa just failed to get a touch, he was also close to a Koen Bosma cross which Leng Makara blasted into the side netting at the back stick. The substitute also saw another shot blocked by the San Siro stopper and Ngwa was unlucky to see an effort cleared to safety after he flicked the ball over the keeper. In the final minute of the second period, Odion Obadin arrived late to power a header into the net, feeding off a delightful Bosma free-kick to give his team the lead. Just 4 minutes into the third period, Makara smashed the ball against the cross-bar from Pellegrino's pass and then headed Va Sokthorn's cross into the keeper's hands. Three minute later and Ngwa's first effort was blocked but his second attempt spun off a defender's leg and found the corner of the net for Crown's second. Matnorotin poked a shot wide from Pellegrino's floated cross but it was San Siro that scored next, on 78 minutes, after an error from Kok Boris. Moments later, Thourng Da was alert to clear the danger from his own line. There was little further goalmouth action as the game came to a close with victory in Crown's favour.
PPCFC V San Siro: Ary, Da, Pisa (Sokthorn 58), Boris, Obadin, Chanpolin (Sothy 31), Sokheng (Matnorotin 61), Pellegrino, Bosma (Sovythang 72), Borey (Makara 45), Ngwa (Borey 77). Subs not used: Soksela, Baraing, Chhaya, Sovann, Titchhy, Sodavid. Bookings: None. MOTM: Pellegrino. Goals: Obadin (60), Ngwa (67).

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Late show for the NT

Cam v CTaipei, Back Row, LtoR: Udom, Sovan, Piseth, Visal, Laboravy, Yaty. Front: Vathanaka, Srin, Pheng, Virak, Sokumpheak (capt) - click to enlarge
Success for the Cambodia national team is rare, so a 2-0 victory on foreign soil, in Taiwan against the Chinese Taipei NT earlier this evening, is cause for a celebration. It was an international friendly against a national team who play as rarely as the Cambodian team do, so it was pretty level-pegging on paper and that's pretty much how it turned out in the game itself. Neither team covered themselves in any glory in the 90 minutes. However, it was in the 4 minutes of stoppage time added on at the end of the game that Cambodia will recall for many moons to come. That's when Chan Vathanaka, a peripheral figure for the ninety, burst into life with two goals to sink the home side, who had switched off and were thinking of their hot showers a mite too early. The victory, just days before the tough task of qualifying for the AFF Suzuki Cup in Laos which starts on Sunday, should lift the players spirits for starters. Cambodia were led out by captain Kouch Sokumpheak, making his return to the stadium where his team, Phnom Penh Crown were robbed of the AFC President's Cup in 2011. It just so happened that the Taiwan Power coach facing him that day is now in charge of the country's national team, so there was a certain element of pay-back extracted for Sokumpheak and four other members of the Cambodia NT, who were involved on that devastating night three years ago. In fact Sokumpheak made a decisive tackle in his own box to snuff out a rare Chinese Taipei attack early on and his Crown teammate Sou Yaty also came to his side's rescue, as he often does. A few minutes before the break, Chen broke into the box and it was Yaty's outstretched hand that turned his shot away for a corner and sent the teams in goalless at the break. The first-half was a non-event, with the home keeper only called on to catch a couple of crosses.

The second half wasn't any better until just after the hour. Hong Pheng, getting his first start for the NT, sent over a cross which Khuon Laboravy volleyed wide of the upright with his shin. Moments later the home side sent an overhead kick against the cross-bar before a flurry of substitutions took the heat out of the game just as it was warming up. With Chhin Chhoeun on for his pace, he got behind the home defence but lost his bearings and allowed the keeper to get in a tackle when a simple dink would've put his side ahead. Yaty had to drop on a late low drive but the game appeared to be heading for a nondescript ending with no goals when Chinese Taipei switched off, allowed Chhoeun to whip over a cross and Vathanaka was lurking at the far post to volley the ball home. Cue delirious celebrations. The stopwatch had just ticked past 90 minutes. Exactly four minutes later, a breakaway presented Vathanaka with a sight of goal and his aim was true for his second and confirmation of a very rare away victory for Cambodia. There were yellow cards a plenty, including Crown's Ngoy Srin and Pheng, but they won't mind one iota. No-one will call the game a classic, both teams found it impossible to string passes together or attack in a coherent fashion, but keeping going until the final whistle is a football basic and that's what Cambodia did in spades this evening. Full credit to them for doing just that.
Cambodia NT: Yaty, Pheng, Visal, Sovan, Piseth (Sovannrithy 74), Srin (Sothearath 73), Sokumpheak, Udom (Chanrasmey 58), Virak (Samoeun 43), Laboravy (Chhoeun 73), Vathanaka. Subs not used: Sophea, Sothy, Daravorn, Soksana,  Bookings: Srin, Sovan, Piseth, Pheng. Goals: Vathanaka (91, 94).

Sunday, October 5, 2014

A thumping victory

PPCFC U-17s, back row, LtoR: Chanpolin, Sodavid, Senteang, Chanchav, Sovann, Chanvuthy. Front: Ponvuthy, Piphop, Noeut, Baraing, Phearath - click to enlarge
Result: Phnom Penh Crown Academy U-17s 25 Bong Paoun U-17s 0 (Cambodia U-17 Youth League).
The Academy U-17s set about retaining their U-17 title with a thumping 25-0 win over newcomers Bong Paoun at Tonle Bati this afternoon. The new boys, who won the ISF U-17 Youth League in August, conceded after just 37 seconds and it was all downhill from there. The half-time score was 10-0. Crown netted another fifteen after the break and without a dozen excellent saves by BP goalkeeper Torn Prohpov, the result would've been more crushing. Suon Noeut top scored with 8 goals, followed by Chhuot Senteang and In Sodavid with 5 each. Men Piphop scored 4 and there was 1 each for Pov Ponvuthy, Ouk Sovann (pen) and an own goal. And the Academy were without six of their players because of an Islamic holiday and injuries.

PPCFC U-17s: Chanvuthy, Sovann, Phearath, Chanchav, Baraing (S Samnang 62), Chanpolin (V Samnang 48), Sodavid, Piphop, Noeut, Ponvuthy, Senteang (Titchhy 69). Bookings: None. MOTM: Noeut - eight goals and never stopped running. Goals: Noeut 8 (25, 28, 62, 74, 75, 77, 88, 89), Senteang 5 (1, 19, 57, 58, 67), Sodavid 5 (3, 45, 46, 65, 85), Piphop 4 (34, 72, 76, 83), Ponvuthy (15), Sovann pen (21), Own Goal (36).

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Missed opportunities

PPCFC v BBU, back row, LtoR: Borey, Boris, Obadin, Kotamake, Sokthorn, Ary. Front: Chanpolin, Bosma, Matnorotin, Chhaya, Pisa - click to enlarge
Result: Phnom Penh Crown 0 BBU 1 (Friendly).
Phnom Penh Crown failed to find the net in this afternoon's practice match with BBU at the RSN Stadium, despite having more possession and creating numerous chances, especially in the third of three 35 minute halves. The Crown squad was without 11 players, either on the injured list or away with the national team, so there were starting places for Va Sokthorn, who arrived from France a few days earlier, and two of the club's Academy players. Koen Bosma's free-kick opened up the BBU backline on fifteen minutes but Sary Matnorotin headed well over from a good position. Bosma then supplied Khim Borey but he hesitated and allowed the BBU keeper to recover the ball. The same pair combined soon after with Borey heading over the crossbar from ten yards out. Sokthorn had his first attempt, controlling Bosma's chip but sending his shot high and wide. The final chance of the first half, one of three 35 minute periods, fell to Borey who brought down Matnorotin's long ball with ease but sent his chip inches wide of the upright with the keeper off his line. Yok Ary was out quickly to tackle BBU's first foray in the second half, but it was Borey who again fired wide from Sokthorn's neat pass. BBU capitalised on a sloppy piece of defending by Crown as Rim Bunheang's shot from twenty yards found the corner of the net with 50 minutes played. It was a lead that BBU would not relinquish despite spending the rest of the game on the back foot. Crown fluffed two more good opportunities before the end of the second-half. First, Bosma's chip sent Borey in on goal but he shot well over, and then a Bosma free-kick was headed wide by Leng Makara as he was challenged by the keeper.

Coach Sam Schweingruber continued to ring the changes, introducing three more Academy players amongst his substitutions. In the third half, Crown completely dominated but lacked a killer touch in front of goal, with strikers George Bisan and Baldwin Ngwa, both injured, watching from the stand. Borey, playing as a central striker for the first time in a long while, was guilty again when put through by Matnorotin, and fired across the face of goal. Touch Sokheng then teed up Matnorotin, who was free in the middle but steered his goal attempt wide of the target. Soon after the same player saw his drive saved by keeper Sos Proshim, who kept his team in the match with a series of stops late on. Borey sent a free-kick wide of the upright, Makara again headed wide, a Ly Morslim diving header was deflected into Proshim's hands, and then Chhom Pisa, in acres of free space, lobbed his shot wide as well. With the final two chances of the game, Bosma's 20-yard free-kick was finger-tipped over by Proshim and with the last kick of the game, a corner fell to Odion Obadin and his acrobatic overhead kick was again saved by the keeper with another touch over the crossbar. The final whistle blew and BBU recorded a 1-nil success.
PPCFC v BBU: Ary (Soksela 71), Pisa (Dara 36 (Sovann 71)), Chhaya (Sodavid 36 (Makara 90)), Boris (Kotamake 57 (Boris 90)), Obadin, Chanpolin (Morslim 71), Kotamake (Sokheng 36), Sokthorn (Baraing 71), Matnorotin (Makara 36 (Matnorotin 71)), Bosma (Pisa 71), Borey (Bosma 90). Bookings: None. 
This afternoon's practice match gave Va Sokthorn (pictured below) the opportunity to start his first game in Crown colours, after he arrived from France just a few days ago. Sokthorn is 27 and has lots of experience in the amateur Championnat de France leagues, the fourth tier of the French football system, with teams like ES Torcy, FC Montceau Bourgogne, US Motte Servolex, SO Chambery Foot 73 and last season scored 17 goals in 14 matches for Le Creusot JO. His Khmer parents are from Kratie and Prey Veng, though he was born in Le Creusot in eastern France. Sokthorn signed his contract in July, when he successfully completed his try-out.
Va Sokthorn, another French-Khmer player to join our ranks

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Strong showing

PPCFC U-17s, back row, LtoR: Sodavid, Chanpolin, Chanchav, K Chhaya, Senteang, S Samnang. Front: Sakrovy, Piphop, Ponvuthy, Baraing, Sovann - click to enlarge
Result: PPCFC Academy U-17 3 Albirex Niigata 4 (Friendly).
The Crown Academy U-17s put up a strong showing against a full-strength Albirex Niigata squad in this afternoon's friendly game at RSN Stadium. The final score was 4-3 to Albirex but it was a close call as the teams took advantage of four periods of thirty minutes to give their full squads game-time. Crown threatened first but Mat Sakrovy fluffed the opportunity before Albirex took the lead through Kazuki Tatsuta on 9 minutes. Four minutes later Chhuot Senteang was wrestled to the floor for what looked like a penalty, only for a free-kick to be awarded. Kim Chhaya stepped up to blast the ball at goal which Mak Theara couldn't keep out to make it 1-1. ten minutes later Tatsuta netted his second after a neat one-two. Just two minutes into the second period and Ouk Sovann levelled the scores again. A foul on Yeu Muslim and Sovann curled one of his trademark free-kicks inside the near post from twenty yards out. Muslim had a shot blocked before ex-Crown Noeu Sosela raced onto a ball over the top to put Albirex back in front. Both Orn Chanpolin and Muslim came close but both shots were just off-target. In the third period, no goals but Senteang's drive was touched over the top and Mat Noron blasted over when well-placed, while Albirex hit the upright. Four minutes into the final quarter, a weak punch out allowed Albirex to rifle in a shot which Suon Noeut could only deflect into the net with his head. Another Sovann free-kick almost caught out the Albirex keeper who managed to fingertip it over the bar before Crown scored their third with three minutes remaining as Muslim's 25-yard drive was tipped onto the bar and Ly Morslim finished off the rebound from close range.

PPCFC U-17s: Samnang (Soksela 91), Sovann (Chanchav 61), Chhaya (Phearath 31 (Chhaya)), Baraing (V Samnang 61 (Baraing (Sodavid 91))), Chanchav (Noeut 27 (V Samnang 102), Chanpolin (Sovann 91), Sodavid (Sakrovy 61), Piphop (Ponvuthy 91), Ponvuthy (Morslim 61), Sakrovy (Noron 31 (Muslim 91)), Senteang (Muslim 31 (Senteang 61)). Goals: Chhaya (13), Sovann (32), Morslim (117).

The previous afternoon the Academy U-15s defeated Chraing Chamres Youth at RSN Stadium 5-1 in a friendly game, with Mao Piseth scoring 4 (33, 42, 50, 70 mins) and Vuth Sophara 1 (38), and that was after the opposition took a 16th minute lead.

The Cambodia U-17 Youth League begins this Sunday (5 Oct), with all matches at Tonle Bati on Sunday afternoons. There are 4 teams in the league. The PPCFC Academy U-17s games are as follows:
Sun 5 Oct v Bong Paoun 2pm
Sun 12 Oct v Boeung Ket 2pm
Sun 19 Oct v Civil Aviation 2pm
Sun 26 Oct v Bong Paoun 2pm
Sun 2 Nov v Boeung Ket 2pm
Sun 16 Nov v Civil Aviation 2pm.