PPCFC v PKR. Back LtoR: Sovan, Rady, Ary, Vanthan, Obadin, Frimpong. Front: Sovanna, Asonibe, Suhana, Borey, Sokumpheak
Crown Lose Opener21 March 2012
PPCFC 0 Preah Khan Reach 3 (Metfone C-League)
Phnom Penh Crown coach David Booth will need to pick his players up after the reigning champions suffered defeat in their opening Metfone C-League game of the new season against arch-rivals Preah Khan Reach. "I'll have to look at our system. I've tried to play the same system as last season but I'm not sure we have the right players to play it, so I may alter it slightly," was the British coach's reaction at the final whistle.
The Crown coach continued. "I thought we started the game very well but we lost the ball in the middle of their half and didn't offer enough of a challenge for the first goal. And you cannot legislate for the 2nd goal. It took the game away from us and made us chase the game when we were well into it. We played quite well in the 2nd half, created a few chances but today was not our day. But it's our first game and we'll get better than that."
Crown began well enough with Sos Suhana leaving Sok Rithy in his wake but he hoisted his shot over the cross-bar. On 13 minutes, PKR's Khuon Laboravy bore down on goal, bamboozled Sok Sovan and his finish was straight and true for the first goal. On the half hour, a Khim Borey corner was met powerfully by the forehead of Odion Obadin but the ball went straight into the arms of keeper Sar Sophea. Three minutes later, a Borey free-kick was curled exquisitely to the far post only for Pheak Rady's bent-down header to go the wrong side of the upright. Chances were few and far between but PKR went further ahead from an unlikely source, Crown goalkeeper Yok Ary, seven minutes before the half-time break. Prak Mony Udom's free-kick sailed harmlessly into Ary's grasp, only for the stopper to inexplicably let the ball through his arms and between his legs as he turned in horror to see it trickle over the goal-line.
The second half began quietly with only a miscue from Moul Daravorn bringing out a save from his own keeper. Chea Samnang broke free for PKR but Ary was equal to his shot moments before Crown's best move of the match. Kouch Sokumpheak fed Suhana and his quick feet left his marker for dead, only for his angled shot to rebound to safety off the post on 65 minutes. Another good opportunity went begging soon after when substitute Ouk Sothy failed to get his free header on target from Sokumpheak's pinpoint delivery. With Crown pressing hard to get back into the game, their third clear chance in as many minutes saw Borey fail to get a touch in front of goal to Suhana's low cross.
In the last ten minutes, Sokumpheak's header didn't carry enough power, substitute Hong Pheng should've hit the target when put in by Suhana but screwed his shot wide and then Sokumpheak's fifteen-yard drive was gathered up by Sophea. It just wasn't Crown's day in front of goal. To add insult to injury, PKR's Udom raced away down the right-flank in the first minute of injury time and Laboravy was on hand to power in a free header from six yards out. A 3-0 result in PKR's favour simply didn't reflect the closeness of the two teams. It was PKR's second consecutive win over Crown, having won their Hun Sen Cup encounter 4-0 in early February. Crown now have the opportunity to get back on track against Western University on Sunday with a 4pm kick-off.
PPCFC: Ary, Rady, Vanthan (Dara 67), Sovan, Obadin, Sovanna, Asonibe (Sothy 56), Frimpong (H Pheng 79), Suhana, Borey, Sokumpheak. Subs not used: Oudom, Da, Tiny, Lika, Sophanal, Seyha, Kimhor, Rathanak. Bookings: Sovan.
Waiting for the kick-off. LtoR: Chhun Sovanna, Khim Borey, Pheak Rady, Sok Sovan