In more depth
Leading 2-nil at the break, Cambodia had to weather an onslaught from HAGL and were unable to stop a thunderbolt of a shot from HAGL's Le Van Truong that arrowed its way past Samreth Seiha from 25 yards, 9 minutes after the break. Four minutes later HAGL were level. Pheak Rady was caught in possession and Tran Minh Thien finished with a fierce shot inside the near post. The game was in the balance and both sides had half chances, with Pheak Rady redeeming himself with a last-ditch tackle on Vo Ut Cuong as he shaped to shoot, whilst Prak Mony Udom made space for a shot at the other end, but fired over. O'Donell threw on three pairs of fresh legs and three minutes from time, one of the subs, Lay Raksmey sent over a sublime cross that found Kuoch Sokumpheak in space ten yards out and his downward header bounced into the corner of the net. 3-2 to Cambodia. Queue wild celebrations around the stadium. Cambodia saw out 5 minutes of added time, with Seiha's safe handling a real feature of the game and confirmed his pick as the best goalkeeper in the competition, with a $1,000 reward for the stopper. The players celebrated the final whistle by throwing their shirts into the crowd and deservedly enjoyed their moment of glory.
In the award ceremonies that followed, skipper Sun Sovannarith held aloft the BIDC Cup as the players received $20,000 as a cash prize from the sponsors and another $5,000 from the FFC, in addition to a new moto for each of the playing squad and coaching staff. With Samreth Seiha collecting the $1,000 as best goalkeeper, the same prize money went to the Laos skipper Kitsada as the tournament's most valuable player (I voted for his teammate Soukhavong Kaysone) and HAGL's Evaldo Goncaves scooped the top goalscorer award with three goals. More importantly, it sent Cambodia off to the SEA Games in Laos with the ecstatic chants of their fans ringing in their ears and the determination and unity they showed in abundance in their locker.
The Cambodia U23 team: Samreth Seiha, Pheak Rady (Lay Raksmey), Sun Sovannarith, Tieng Tiny, Sok Rithy, San Narith, Khim Borey (Lorn Sotheara), Keo Sokngorn (Prak Mony Udom), Nov Soseila (Oum Kumpheak), Chan Chhaya (Khuon Laboravy), Kuoch Sokumpheak.