Wednesday, July 29, 2015

8 wins on the trot

Wednesday 29 July 2015: Phnom Penh Crown 1 BBU 0 (Metfone C-League).
Phnom Penh Crown took their winning streak of results to eight successive Metfone C-League victories but at a cost when defender Ngoy Srin fell awkwardly in the closing moments of the game and suffered a serious fracture of his arm. The Crown players were visibly shaken by the freak accident as the full-time whistle went soon after. The only goal of the game at RSN Stadium came on 33 minutes when Shane Booysen hit a first-time effort inside the far post for goal number 10 this season, after fabulous approach play by Va Sokthorn. Crown went close on other occasions through George Bisan, Sary Matnorotin, Sokthorn and Leng Makara and led by a single goal at the break. Two floodlight failures early in the second-half, causing a thirty-one minute delay, broke the game’s rhythm though Crown created the most dangerous moments through Bisan, Keo Sokpheng and Booysen without extending their lead. Crown go back to the top of the MCL on 25 points from 9 games played.
Following the 1-nil success, head coach Sam Schweingruber offered up his thoughts. “After the last 4 or 5 games one of the major messages from me to the players was that we need to be more disciplined and better organised, to take our defending more seriously. In that way we regret when we don’t score more but I’m quite happy when we show discipline and work really hard. I don’t think they (BBU) had a real chance in the whole game. I thought we should’ve finished it off with a few more goals, we definitely had enough to score a second or a third in the second-half. It was very disappointing and sad that one of the players who stuck to the game plan and played a very disciplined and selfless game – Srin – should suffer such a serious injury. I hope he recovers quickly. The team was shocked, some were in tears, they felt really sad for their teammate, but that’s football, it’s happened to other teams too and we have to deal with it.
Our goal was brilliance by Sokthorn. His driving, quick passing and the final ball to Shane to score was very clinical. Some great work throughout the game from Sokthorn, maybe my man of the match. I was shocked how the officials didn’t understand what was happening with Shane – not protecting one of the best players in the league – finally after the fifth poor foul on him we saw a yellow card. He was also booked for nothing but great players have to deal with that kind of treatment. Finally, I want to apologise to the fans and to BBU for the floodlight failure. It’s not satisfying and we will sort it out.”
Update: The latest update on defender Ngoy Srin is that he underwent surgery on a double fracture of his left forearm in the early hours of this morning. The surgeon, Dr Vuthy, said the surgery to insert two pins to knit the bones together was a success and if everything goes to plan, he could be back on the training pitch in three months time. Srin is currently under observation at Dr Vuthy’s clinic and everyone at PPCFC sends him their best wishes for a complete recovery and thanks to all the fans who have sent their kind words of support and encouragement.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Crown hit five

PPCFC vs Western, back row, LtoR: Obadin (capt), Thierry, Bisan, Srin, Booysen, Ary. Front: Dani, Sokthorn, Suhana, Matnorotin, C Pisa - click to enlarge
Saturday 25 July 2015: Western 3 Phnom Penh Crown5 (Metfone C-League).
Crown took their consecutive wins to 7 with this victory on a very wet Western artificial surface. In a dominant first-half, Crown went three goals up by the break with two George Bisan headers, from crosses by Va Sokthorn and Shane Booysen, on 16 and 31 minutes. Booysen, who earlier struck the cross-bar, stepped up to convert a penalty for hand-ball on 41 minutes. Bin Thierry blasted a free-kick against the bar and other chances went begging, before Mohammed Tijani curled in a great shot on 66 minutes for the home team. With 9 minutes to go, Booysen took a pass from Keo Sokngon in his stride and crashed in his second goal, but Western came back again, through a Tijani header from close range on 87 minutes. In the last minute of normal time, Booysen completed his hat-trick, cracking home a Kouch Dani cross for Crown's fifth though there was still time for Mathew Osa to send a low drive inside the post to end the match at 5-3 in Crown's favour.
Full match report to follow.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Academy upset Boeungket

PPCFC Academy vs Bouengket, back row, LtoR: Thomas, Danny, Chanpolin, Sodavid, Chanchav, Titchhy, Samura. Front: Sovann, Chansopheak, Ponvuthy, Baraing - click to enlarge
Thursday 23 July 2015: Result: Phnom Penh Crown Academy 3 Boeungket 2 (Friendly).
A masterful performance by the Crown senior Academy saw them dominate for the majority of this friendly at RSN this morning. Against a strong Boeungket line-up, the Academy created many chances in both halves, but fell to a sucker punch six minutes before the break, as the visitors scored a breakaway goal. Crown continued to frustrate in front of goal until Umaru Samura threaded a pass through the defence and Ken Chansopheak drilled the ball inside the post on 56 minutes. Now in complete control, Ouk Sovann curled a free-kick against the bar and then blasted another shot against the foot of the post while the visiting goalkeeper saved his team on three occasions with point-blank stops. On 76 minutes, Boeungket completed a smash and grab raid to go further ahead but Crown continued to push forward and were rewarded for their pressure with two goals in the last five minutes. Umaru let fly from the edge of the box and his shot took a slight deflection into the roof of the net for the leveller. With a minute to go, In Sodavid crossed for Jason Thomas, who controlled perfectly and rolled the ball to Umaru, who rifled his shot into the net for a very deserved winning goal.

In second spot, still

PCFC starting XI, back row, LtoR: Thierry, Bisan, C Pisa, Makara, Ary, Boris (capt). Front: Dani, Boran, Suhana, Koroma, Booysen - click to enlarge
Thursday 23 July 2015: Kirivong 2 Phnom Penh Crown 5 (Metfone C-League).
Crown maintained their unbeaten record to remain in 2nd place but found Kirivong stubborn opponents. In fact Kirivong led 2-1 at the half-time interval with goals from Meng Sombor on 23 minutes and Ek Sopheap on 36 minutes. Sandwiched in between, George Bisan scored for Crown, knocking the ball in at the far post from a Bin Thierry free-kick on 33 minutes. Kirivong went a man down just before the break when Adebayo Ademola was sent off for a 2nd yellow card, tripping Bisan as he was in on goal. Eight minutes into the 2nd half, Kirivong lost another player, Meng Sombor for two yellow cards in quick succession for fouls on Leng Makara. As Crown pressed home their advantage, Makara and Santi Koroma hit the woodwork before the equaliser finally arrived on 72 minutes as Shane Booysen finished off a pass from Bisan. Two minutes later, Booysen was on the scoresheet again, blasting the ball home from close range after Bisan's header was cleared off the line. It was all one-way traffic and Bisan netted his second, heading in a Booysen cross and then completed his hat-trick in the 91st minute, running onto Yok Ary's long kick and walking the ball into the net. 5-2 to PPCFC and job done.
Match report to follow.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Backroom staff expanded at PPC

New goalkeeping coach Dave Maguire (center) with his 1st-team keepers and assistant Chansothea
Phnom Penh Crown have been busy expanding their backroom staff. Irish Goalkeeping coach Dave Maguire (24) has joined the club as the Head Goalkeeping Coach. Prior to moving into coaching David was a professional football player with Shrewsbury Town and represented the Republic of Ireland at U-17 national level. He also had spells in the Welsh League with Newtown, Welshpool Town and Cefn Druids. Dave has both a UEFA B-License and UEFA B-License Goalkeeping award and previous positions included the Lead Foundation Phase Goalkeeping Coach and, most recently the Head of Academy Goalkeeping at English Football League club Shrewsbury Town. Academy Technical Director, Tom Legg had this to say about the arrival of Dave: “I’m thrilled to welcome Dave to Phnom Penh Crown as the new Head Goalkeeping Coach. Dave will bring a vast amount of experience to the club, both from his time as a professional footballer and most recently his roles with English League side Shrewsbury Town. He is a vastly skilled and specialist Goalkeeping coach who will work with all age groups, from our Academy U-13 up to the club's First Team. Dave will also work closely with our current club Goalkeeping Coach Nguon Chansothea to support his professional development as we look to cement the long term success of PPCFC.”

In their Academy set-up, they have announced that Scottish coach Christopher Grant (28) has joined the club in the newly-created role of U-13 Technical Coordinator. A Scottish Football Association C-License Coach, Christopher has previously worked with several professional clubs in Scotland; Cowdenbeath, Livingston and Dunfermline Athletic. In 2009 he founded one of the biggest grassroots programs in Scotland; Elite Soccer Coaching Limited that currently delivers a coaching program to over 30,000 children annually. In 2013 Christopher moved to Cambodia and established Elite Soccer Asia, a leading grassroots football program with over 8,000 children enrolled annually. In his new role with PPCFC, Christopher will be responsible for implementing the long term development plan of the Academy U-13’s and mentoring our local U-13’s Head Coach. Academy Technical Director, Tom Legg spoke of Christopher's addition to the Academy technical team: “I’m delighted to welcome Christopher to our club's growing Academy program. His arrival is a clear sign of our commitment to cementing their position as the the leading football development program in Cambodia. Christopher has extensive experience in developing young players from his time working in professional clubs in Scotland and has demonstrated his ability to adapt and achieve by the successful launch of Elite Soccer Asia in Cambodia. A key part of Christopher's role with the club will also see him work closely with our local U-13 Head Coach, passing on valuable experience and expertise. He is uniquely positioned to combine his European coaching experience with knowledge of the local football scene to help create a culture of creativity within our Academy U-13 setup."

In the Academy U-15 set-up, Cambodian coach Soeu Siha (pictured) is the club's new Under-15 Head Coach. An AFC (Asian Football Confederation) C-Licence holder, Siha is an exciting young Cambodian football coach with six years professional playing experience. The 28-year-old started his professional career in 2004 when he joined the Navy team in the Cambodian League. In recent times he's been the captain of the Daniel FC futsal team. In 2010 he began his coaching career with Chamkar Nonong FC before moving into youth development, managing a junior side from the ISF (IndoChina Starfish Foundation). Siha continued his own personal development as a coach during this time, obtaining his AFC D-License, followed by his AFC C-License. His commitment to personal development did not go unnoticed and in 2014 he was appointed the Head Coach at ISF, responsible for managing all youth coaches working with teams in the organisation. Academy Technical Director, Tom Legg had this to say about the addition of Siha to the Academy technical team: “I’m pleased to welcome Siha to our clubs' Academy technical team. A key component to the long term success of this club is in its commitment to providing opportunity and development to local coaches. Siha has spent four years learning and developing at ISF and we are thankful to them for giving him the opportunity. I’m confident in Siha’s current abilities to support the long term development of the Academy U-15’s and we will support him as he continues his own journey as a coach."

More appointments are expected soon with a new Technical Coordinator for the U-15s and a new coach, likely to be female, for the U-13's arriving soon.

MCL Round 6

The Metfone C-League table after six rounds of the campaign. Click to enlarge.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Up and down for Academy teams

PPCFC vs Victory, back row, LtoR: Chanmony, Sovannaroth, N David, Chetra, Samnang, Panha. Front: Samel, Rina, Pisoth, Punlork, S David - click to enlarge
Sunday 19 July 2015: PPCFC Academy U-15s 5 Victory FC 4 (Friendly).
San David put the Academy ahead on 29 minutes with a beautiful lob but Victory came back strongly to score twice before half-time, including a penalty, at RSN this morning. Nop David levelled just after the break but Victory scored twice more, the first a penalty to go 2-4 ahead. Yeu Muslim, one of five senior Academy players to get match practice, tapped in twice on 71 and 77 minutes to draw level and Tong Chanmony curled in the winning goal in the final minute to give Crown the victory, 5-4.

The Academy U-13s played this morning and lost for the second time to Chraing Chamres U-15s, going down 7-2. Jonh Chhomren and and own goal were on the Crown scoresheet.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Crown recover to win handsomely

PPCFC vs CMAC, back row, LtoR: Obadin, S Pisa, Thierry, Bisan, Ary, Boris (capt). Front: Da, Suhana, Matnorotin, Dani, Booysen - clck to enlarge
Saturday 18 July 2015: Phnom Penh Crown 4 CMAC 1 (Metfone C-League)
It required a wake-up call opener for CMAC, a fine individual effort from Tony Janzen on 20 minutes, to kick-start PPCFC into life in a match they ran out comfortable 4-1 winners at the close. Shane Booysen slotted in the equaliser from Bin Thierry's pass on 35 minutes to send the teams in level at the break. Just 9 minutes into the 2nd half a 16-minute floodlight failure caused an unscheduled break and it was the home side who took full control after they resumed. On 73 minutes, a trip on substitute Va Sokthorn gave Thierry the chance to display his free-kick mastery and he delivered the goods right on cue. It was all Crown as four minutes later, Sokthorn took a Sos Suhana pass in his stride, and unleashed a curling drive into the top corner for a stunning strike. With two minutes left on the clock, Booysen and Thourng Da combined to present George Bisan with a great opportunity from close range and he made no mistake for his 8th goal of the season.

Crown head coach Sam Schweingruber's post-match thoughts on the 4-1 win over CMAC. "I'm happy we got three points. I wasn't really concerned when we went 1-zero down, we had a sleepy start and a few players haven't played enough and we gave a goal away. But we got back into the game, got a goal and had a few other chances, though the referee didn't help us with not giving a clear trip, last man penalty. We had a pretty focused start to the 2nd half, we came out with purpose and then the lights went out. It was sort of symbolic. I wasn't nervous, I knew we had enough about us but it took longer than it should have. We came off strong and a deserved winner and I'm happy to get the job done and collect the points. Our fitness counted, the other team struggled with cramps and were not able to handle our fitness and speed. Congratulations to Sokthorn for his contribution. I think his movement is what we missed, so his introduction, and the third goal - which was pure brilliance, one-touch, turn, left foot curler into the top corner - worked a treat for us."

Friday, July 17, 2015

Academy sink Naga's boat

PPCFC line-up, back row, LtoR: Jason, Umaru, Samnang, Sodavid, Baraing, Chanvuthy. Front: Sovann, Suleiman, Muslim, Piphop, Noeut - click to enlarge
Friday 17 July 2015: PPCFC Academy 3 Nagaworld 1 (Friendly).
The senior Crown Academy triumphed over two strong Nagaworld line-ups in this friendly on the RSN Stadium pitch under floodlights tonight. In three periods of thirty minutes, all the goals came in the final third, with Baldwin Ngwa heading Naga in front on 67 minutes. Until that point it was pretty even between both teams. A minute later, Ouk Sovann's shot was saved and Santi Koroma followed up to knock in the equaliser. Finishing strongly, the Academy grabbed victory with two goals in the last three minutes. A glorious Suleiman Samura pass put in Umaru Samura and he scored at the second attempt. With the final kick of the match, Seut Baraing's free-kick was touched onto the bar and In Sodavid followed up to smack home the third and final nail in Naga's coffin.

MCL - round 5

MCL - round 5 - click to enlarge

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

4 wins in 4

PPCFC vs Army, back row, LtoR: Obadin, Thierry, Bisan, Makara, Ary, Boris (capt). Front: Sokthorn, Matnorotin, Suhana, Dani, Booysen
Wednesday 15 July 2015: Phnom Penh Crown 2 Army 0 (Metfone C-League).
Crown's South African wing wizard Shane Booysen will be wondering how he didn't kill off Army almost single-handedly at RSN Stadium this evening. He scored with the last kick of the first-half, completing the perfect finish to a perfect one-two move with Va Sokthorn that completely tore open the Army defence, but was upset at the final whistle that he didn't do better with other chances that came his way. In the fifth minute he struck the cross-bar and late in the half, sent clear by Kouch Dani, he rounded the goalkeeper for an easy tap-in, only to see Op Kamol recover to save on the goal-line. Twice in the second-half, keeper Yok Ary sent Booysen speeding clear of the Army defenders, but his first chance went skidding wide and the other was snuffed out by Army keeper Um Sereyroth, who was also at full stretch to keep another snap-shot by Booysen at bay and then saved a late effort with his feet at the near post.
Sereyroth was an obstacle Crown found hard to breakdown with Sary Matnorotin seeing the keeper pull off a great stop early on. However, the first goal arrived on 37 minutes as Matnorotin's corner found George Bisan unmarked ten yards out and he headed the ball into the bottom corner for the opener. Booysen's goal gave the home team a two-goal interval lead. After the break it was Sereyroth who was to deny Bin Thierry and Keo Sokngon, with other efforts blocked or wayward as Crown failed to add to their tally and had to settle for a 2-nil victory, their fourth win in succession.

In a positive mood after the final whistle, head coach Sam Schweingruber gave his view on the 2-0 success over Army."We have managed to create a lot of chances today. I think Shane in particular must feel disappointed not to have scored more - he did a lot of things very well, though some of it was the keeper and others, his lack of urgency and too many touches. 
We had a lot more control over the game today than the last few matches. We won the last game 6-1 but I feel more happy with the way we played today. We played the way we wanted to, we created enough chances, should've score more and will be kicking ourselves if goal difference will be the decider later on. I'm happy with the discipline we showed and whilst it wasn't 90 minutes of entertainment, after the last few games, I feel much better with our performance today - as I saw a team in most situations implement the game plan and follow instructions.
Sorry for the fans who were hoping for more entertainment and goals - I think we created a lot of chances - but at the end of the day we did the job and with disciplined performances like this, we can build upon and be ready for the next games, which will come very quickly."

Crown in ACT from August

Ly Heang, So Dany and moi
The Phnom Penh Crown Academy team will take part as one of 8 teams in this season's Asia Champions Trophy U-18 2015 competition, which will take place between 5 August to 19 November. The senior PPCFC Academy team have been drawn in Group B alongside Japan's Kashima Antlers, Vietnam's PVF (2014 runners-up) and Malaysia's Frenz United B, with matches both home & away. Crown's first match is against the most successful club team in Japan, and the current Japan youth champions, Kashima in their 40,000-capacity stadium in the first week of August. All fixture dates are pending final confirmation though PPCFC's home matches will be played at RSN Stadium and broadcast live on Bayon TV. This will be the third year of the ACT and eight of the best academies from Japan, Vietnam, Cambodia, India, Malaysia and Thailand will be taking part. Dato' Ihsan A Hamid, President of organisers Frenz United said: "The Asia Champions Trophy has become a regional brand. In just three years, the Asia Champions Trophy has quickly become one of the premier youth football tournaments which is now highly anticipated by the teams and football fans alike." PPCFC will meet Frenz United B, PVF and Kashima Antlers at RSN Stadium on dates to be confirmed soon. The top two teams from each group will go to the semi-finals. In Group A, Chonburi, AIFF India and two Malaysian teams, Frenz United A and Felda United will compete. Crown's representatives at the workshop and launch in Malaka, Malaysia were general secretary Ly Heang, Academy team manager So Dany and media officer Andy Brouwer.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Crown hit six

PPCFC vs AEU, back row, LtoR; Obadin, Bisan, Thierry, Makara, Ary, Boris. Front Row: Koroma, Sokthorn, Boran, Sokpheng, Matnorotin - click to enlarge
Sunday 12 July 2015: AEU 1 PPCFC 6 (Metfone C-League).
PPCFC ran out easy winners at RSN, despite being the away team at their own stadium! AEU held their nerve for the first-half and went close through Chan Hai and Sunday Ayodele before Crown put Kha Theara in the AEU goal, to the test through Long Boran and George Bisan twice, while Leng Makara miskicked in front of goal. AEU were reduced to 10-men on 25 minutes when Hou Sambo received a straight red card for a dangerous foot up on Bin Thierry. Goalless at the interval, that soon changed when within 51 seconds of the restart, Bin Thierry's pass sent Keo Sokpheng clear and he neatly rolled the ball inside the far post. Three minutes in and Sokpheng fed debutant Santi Koroma who burst between two defenders and lashed the ball into the top corner from an angle. Theara saved with his fingertips from Bisan but was helpless as a Sokpheng's corner wasn't cleared and Makara poked the ball past him from three yards out on 51 minutes.
Sokpheng had two more chances but failed to score before George Kelechi accepted a gift from the Crown defence to reduce the arrears on 54 minutes. Four minutes later, Sokpheng send Bisan clear and he opened his body up to send his angled drive inside the far post. Sary Matnorotin was out of luck with three good chances before Va Sokthorn sent a low drive inside the upright for number five on 77 minutes. Bisan headed wide from Matnorotin's cross but three minutes later the Nigerian hit-man had a simple tap-in after Matnorotin's sprint clear and low center. There was still time for Ngoy Srin to come on and fail to find the target with three opportunities as Crown coasted to a 6-1 victory though they will feel they should've done a lot better.
Head coach Sam Schweingruber's after-match views following PPCFC's 6-1 demolition of AEU. "Yes we won but I am quite disappointed. There was a lack of application, not enough intensity or movement, they were down to a red card early in the game and we still failed. We woke up at half-time and scored four goals in ten minutes or so - I don't know why we have good moments and good phases and then for too long are disappointing. It was not in the plan to be messing around at the back. They had a few chances so it was fair they scored, but we need to defend with more calm and class than we did. As for in front of goal, we were too selfish and that's not good enough."

Academy weekend results

Saturday 11 July 2015: PPCFC Academy 1 Nagaworld 2 (Friendly).
The first-half of this entertaining friendly at RSN this morning belonged to the Academy with Umaru Samura scoring the only goal to give PPCFC a half-time lead. On 16 minutes Suleiman Samura's pass down the middle was taken in his stride by Umaru who held off his defender and lobbed the ball over the goalkeeper's head. He had two other guilt-edged chances in the half but both times fired straight at the keeper. At the other end Keo Soksela saved at the feet of Baldwin Ngwa and then turned a shot around the post with a neat one-handed stop. 
The second-half didn't live up to the first period but Naga claimed victory with two goals. The first came on 73 minutes when Jason Thomas pushed Ngwa in the back and Teab Vathanak tucked away the penalty. Three minutes later, Soksela saved Ngwa's shot but Chin Chum was on hand to tap into an empty goal. Naga held onto gain the win.

Saturday 11 July 2015: PPCFC Academy U-13s 3 Chraing Chamres U-15s 8 (Friendly).
After two defeats against the PPCFC Academy U-13s, Chraing Chamres gained revenge with this emphatic victory at RSN. It rained goals in the first-half of this 9-a-side match, with the visitors leading 7-2 at the break. Jonh Chhomrean and a Thong Rathana free-kick netted for the home team, who were playing their fifth match since their formation. On the back of four victories for PPCFC, the second-half was less goal crazy though Crown will be disappointed not to have scored more, hitting the bar twice before Chhomrean scored his second.

Sunday 12 July 2015: PPCFC Academy U-15s 2 Pisnoka 2 (Friendly).
The Academy U-15s drew with Pisnoka on Sunday at the RSN training pitch, allowing the visitors to score with the last kick of the match. Tong Chanmony gave Crown the lead on 34 minutes when he sent a rasping half-volley into the top corner after Yet Chetra's cross was cleared to him. Pisnoka levelled just after half-time when a shot hit the bar and bounced down, judged behind the line by the referee. Chances went begging for the U-15s before Ken Chansopheak steered in Yeu Muslim's bye-line cross on 77 minutes, and then Pisnoka's late equaliser.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Youth teams prepare

The Cambodia U-16 national team has been enjoying tournament football in Japan against other Mekong region countries and Japanese club junior sides, but finished up with a series of losses and no successes to show for their efforts, despite a couple of penalty shoot-outs. Three Phnom Penh Crown youngsters travelled with the squad: Sin Kakada, Yue Safy and Mao Piseth, in a squad of 17 that was made up of the FFC Academy team filling the remaining places. No comment. The team will be staying in Japan for a couple more weeks, playing more matches against Japan school teams before coming home, where the AFF U-16 Youth Championship will be held in Cambodia from 27 July until 9 August. Two more PPCFC players will join the squad, Svang Samnang and Chey Chetra. Matches will be played at Olympic and Army Stadiums with two groups involving 11 countries. Cambodia are in Group B with Australia, Myanmar, Philippines and Singapore. Group A contains Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Brunei and Laos. Cambodia's first match is against Philippines on 28 July at 6.30pm at the Olympic Stadium. In September the AFC U-16 Championships will be held, venue yet to be decided, and Cambodia will be in the same group as DPR Korea, Thailand and Singapore.

Meanwhile the Cambodia U-19s have been playing some local friendly games ahead of their call to action for the AFF U-19 Championships, to be held in Laos, from 22 August to 4 September. Cambodia are in Group A with Thailand, Australia, Brunei, Philippines and Laos. The FFC have appointed Hok Sochivorn as the head coach and he has called up a squad of 30 players for training, with the bulk coming from Svay Rieng. No players from Phnom Penh Crown have been called up for duty, even though the Crown Academy are acknowledged as the best the country has to offer and recently thrashed the Svay Rieng U-19 team 8-0 in a friendly match. Crown aren't sitting around twiddling their thumbs though, as they are preparing for this year's Asia Champions Trophy, which is expected to kick-off in early August and fixtures are likely to be announced in the ext week or so. japan and Korea are thought likely to be joining this season's competition.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Round 3 of the MCL

Round 3 of the Metfone C-League was completed this midweek and the shock result of the six matches was the continuation of Svay Rieng's indifferent form, being held 3-3 by CMAC (Cambodia Mine Action Centre), the league's newest faces. It needed a late strike from Dzarma Bata, his second of the game, to spare the home sides' blushes after Tony Janzen, CMAC's American import had bagged a hat-trick (taking his 3-game tally to 5 goals) and Phany Y Rotha had pegged a goal back. The Hun Sen Cup holders will need to get back to winning ways against Western Uni this weekend or face dropping further behind the leaders. Boeungket looked uncomfortable for the first half at Army but some woeful defending gave Gbenga Ajayi two goals early in the second period and Khuon Laboravy finished them off at 3-0. Back on top are the reigning champions Phnom Penh Crown, who rattled in three against Cambodian Tiger before the visitors to RSN netted a late consolation just before the break. No goals in the second-half. George Bisan headed in twice for Crown after Sary Matnorotin had opened the scoring. Yoshihara Masato scored for the Tigers. Two goals apiece for Mathew Osa (Western) and Richard Omokafe (BBU) as the team's fought out a 2-2 draw. Nagaworld scored three without reply in the first-half against AEU and that was the final score, with Khim Borey 2 and Barry Lelouma netting for Naga. National Police came good at last with a 3-1 win over Kirivong. Tith Dina grabbed a hat-trick while Em Phanna scored for Kirivong. Pick of the weekend matches: Nagawirld vs CMAC - can the MCL newbies, CMAC, continue their unbeaten run of three consecutive draws? Here's the current league table, courtesy of Sabay.

Tigers tamed

PPCFC vs C/Tiger, back row, LtoR; Obadin, Srin, Bisan, Makara, Ary, Boris (capt). Front: Sokthorn, Suhana, Sokpheng, Matnorotin, Booysen - click to enlarge
Thursday 9 July 2015: Phnom Penh Crown 3 Cambodian Tiger 1 (Metfone C-League).
It was pretty much one-way traffic in the first-half of this first meeting between the two teams under floodlights at RSN Stadium. Cambodian Tiger were under the cosh from the start as Crown controlled possession and created chances. Shane Booysen twice had shots saved before Sary Matnorotin knocked in the first goal, on 10 minutes, after Keo Sokpheng had fed George Bisan and his first-time drilled shot was flapped away by Tiger's keeper Yoshida Yasuyuki into Matnorotin's path. Bisan and Booysen both missed the target, while the Tigers had an effort ruled out for offside, before Crown struck again. On 34 minutes, Yok Ary's long kick found Booysen, and his whipped cross sought out Bisan in unmarked territory and his header found the net. Two minutes later, in almost identical fashion, Bisan's forehead met Booysen's pinpoint center and the ball bounced over the keeper's despairing dive. Cue the duo's double somersault routine. Three minutes before the break and the Tiger's Yoshihara Masato found space behind the home defence and as Ary left his box, the Japanese striker lobbed the ball into the net to make it 3-1. Booysen went close again with a half volley just before the whistle.
After the interval, Neou Sosela blasted over and Booysen blasted wide, whilst Sokpheng was denied by Yasuyuki's brave save and Sok Chanrasmey completely missed a simple tap-in in front of goal. A few half chances followed but the 2nd-half failed to live up to the promise of more goals and it stayed at 3-1 to send champions Crown to the top of the MCL table after three matches.

Crown coach Sam Schweingruber was less than happy at the final whistle of yesterday's 3-1 success over Cambodian Tiger at RSN Stadium. "We played an outstanding first ten minutes and after that I thought we were rubbish. I don't remember the last time I was so unhappy with the performance of the team up to half-time. I thought we were very poor while Cambodian Tiger were extremely poor. In the first-half they should've been 5, 6 or 7 goals down by half-time but we were disappointing.
Our shape in and out of possession was not what we planned, we were lucky to score the 2nd and 3rd goals, a copy of each other, and despite us having lots of chances, I don't think that was a game we will be proud of. We invited them to come to us, like we did against Naga, we were shocking in our decision-making, passing and how to keep the ball.
The second-half was better with our organisation, we had chances but with the quality of players we have, I was disappointed with what we missed in front of goal. But in general I thought it was a better second-half."

Monday, July 6, 2015

Metfone League - review of first two rounds

Let's have a look at the Cambodian League after completion of Round 2 of the MCL. It's interesting to note that every team has already dropped points and only Asia Euro haven't registered any points at all, but with games coming quick and fast, everything could change in the blink of an eye. On day 1 of the campaign, BBU rattled in seven against AEU, who replied with two of their own. Richard Omokafe and Thai Phalla both grabbed two goals apiece. The big one, Phnom Penh Crown against Boeung Ket, ended up goal-less though entertaining for the 3,500 crowd who watched the game at Crown's brand new RSN Stadium in Toul Kork. Chhin Chhoeun scored Army's winner is a  2-1 victory over Western, whilst Cambodian Tiger came good, 2-0, on their debut against National Police. Nagaworld found a winner from Nhim Sovannara over Svay Rieng in a match they dominated but could only break the deadlock late on. The league's other new faces, CMAC, had American import Tony Janzen to thank for a late goal to claim a point in a 1-1 draw with Kirivong.

Round 2 didn't waste any time in getting underway, with games every weekend and midweek for the foreseeable future. It was a duel of two strikers at Svay Rieng, where AEU made a real game of it, only to fall to a late Dzarma Bata goal, for his hat-trick. He was the league's top marksman last term. As for AEU, George Kelechi netted twice. Army drew 1-1 with National Police who've begun the season quietly, while BBU couldn't repeat their opening day massacre, being held 1-1 with CMAC, for whom Janzen scored again. On the artificial turf at Western Stadium, the home team went goal crazy, at both ends. Mohammed Tijani, a recruit from Boeung Ket, rattled in 4 goals including two penalties, as they outgunned Kirivong 6-4, for whom Ek Sopheap netted a hat-trick. To score three in a game and to still lose must've been disheartening for the striker. Boeung Ket picked up their first win, 3-2 over plucky Cambodian Tiger, with Chan Vathanaka scoring twice and Yemi Oyewole grabbing the winner, as player-coach Kihara Masakazu and Suong Virak replied. Playing their second of six straight games at RSN, Phnom Penh Crown rolled over Nagaworld 4-2, who fought back but in vain. Shane Booysen wowed the crowd with two goals and George Bisan also weighed in with a brace, while Chin Chum and Sok Rithy sparked a short-lived revival. The pick of the Round 3 games this midweek is Crown against Cambodian Tiger at RSN on Thursday, kick-off at 6pm. Tiger performed well against Boeung Ket and can they reproduce that form against the champions, who were too quick and strong for Naga at the weekend.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Naga whipped

Sunday 5 July 2015: PPCFC 4 Nagaworld 2 (Metfone C-League).
Crown claimed their first win of the season at RSN Stadium against Naga, going ahead by 3 goals just after half-time before a fightback from Naga that was ended with PPCFC's fourth in time added on. The game took a while to warm-up with George Bisan's header scrambled away, only for the home side to go ahead moments later, on 35 minutes. A beautiful one-touch passing move with Va Sokthorn feeding Sos Suhana and his low cut-back cross was swept home by Shane Booysen. Just two minutes later and Bisan put his team two goals ahead as he tucked in the rebound after Phorn Rathana had done well to save Sokthorn's surge and shot. Cue the double somersault celebrations. Four minutes after the break and Bisan was on target again, finishing off a well-flighted Leng Makara pass at the far post, with an accurate volley. Both goalkeepers kept out great chances for Barry Lelouma and then Sos Suhana before the Naga bench was on the pitch remonstrating with the match officials for a coming together between Ngoy Srin and Nhim Sovannara. Substitute Chin Chum poked home from close range on 73 minutes and with six minutes remaining, Sok Rithy netted from a rebound off Srin's legs, as Naga recovered momentarily, but it was Booysen, taking Srin's long ball in his stride, who rolled his shot inside the far post for his second, and Crown's fourth in the 4th minute of stoppage time. A well-deserved success.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

No goals in season opener

Thursday 2 July: PPCFC 0 Boeung Ket 0 (Metfone C-League).
In the clash of the giants at the new RSN Stadium, it was a case of points and honours shared as both teams created some guilt-edged chances but failed to get the goal the game richly deserved. Entertainment-wise it was a great way to start the new season though each coach will have areas on which to work, finishing will be one of them. Crown shaded the first-half with Va Sokthorn unleashing a half-volley that flew inches wide, and a Keo Sokpheng nearly catching Sou Yaty off his line. Another Sokthorn first-time effort skidded past the upright and a Chan Vathanaka inswinging corner hit the outside of the post. early in the 2nd-half, Vathanaka headed an opportunity straight to Ary and then saw a shot smothered by the Crown keeper. George Bisan weaved his way through three tackles but saw the ball taken off his toes by Yaty's brave dive, before Vathanaka was in on goal but was denied by another good Ary save. End to end was the story of the half as Touch Pancharong nearly netted an own goal, but had Yaty to thank for a fingertip save from Sokpheng's teasing cross. Sary Matnorotin will kick himself for screwing a great opportunity across the face of goal less than a minute after coming on as a substitute. Esoh Omogba also turned the ball over the cross-bar when well-placed but Sokthorn, who arrived late into the area after a Bisan and Shane Booysen combination set up the chance, sent another great chance wide. Booysen's trickery won him many new fans tonight and his overhead kick had Yaty backpedalling, as the game came to a goalless conclusion, but an entertaining one nonetheless.