Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Cambodia's soccer success

The official Cambodia pre-match team photo - taken by one of the substitutes!
In their second match in three days, Cambodia's soccer team registered a victory, defeating Macau 3-1 though it wasn't exactly a thriller. The positives were that they won and striker Nuth Sinuon got a couple of goals but aside from that, I was underwhelmed by the game, and so were the crowd. The highlight was in the dying seconds when the Macau goalkeeper ran the length of the pitch for a corner, Cambodia broke away and Sinuon planted the ball into the empty net, much to everyone's amusement. In fact the crowd only get excited when someone makes a mistake, its all a bit perverse. Nepal have already qualified for the next round of the AFC Challenge Cup after defeating Cambodia on Monday, so today's game was purely academic and for pride, hence the poor attendance, of which about half were wearing military, police or security uniforms. Even so, the admission price had gone up to $3, as I sat under the shade of the main stand. Oh, by the way, Cambodia are currently 186th in the FIFA Rankings, and I can see why. The new coach, Yoo Kee-Heung from the Korean Republic has a big job on his hands, though the side has youth in its favour, with most of the players under 23 years old.
A near-empty stadium listens to the Macau national anthem before the game gets underway
Cambodia, in red, defending in the first-half. I sat in the shade of the main stand for this gameThe Olympic Stadium scoreboard 3 minutes before the half-time break. The pagoda spire in the background gives it such a Cambodian feel

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