Monday, December 7, 2009

Cambodia pummel Timor

4-1 was the final score last night but of course, it was so 1-sided that it should've been a larger scoreline in Cambodia's favour. And that's what Scott O'Donell, the coach, was keen to point out to the players, that they need to be more clinical in front of goal. Kuoch Sokumpheak scored twice but he could've had a hatful. The normally ultra-reliable Khemara striker knew it too as he hid his face in his hands when I quizzed him about it on the coach back to the Games Village. I missed the first two minutes of the game as I rushed from pitchside to a seat in the stands but it was all Cambodia from the start and that didn't change for 90 minutes. Sun Sovannarith and Pheak Rady raided constantly down the flanks, the midfield broke down any passing moves the Timorese tried and Sokumpheak up front, was busy as ever though lacking his usual sharpness. A trip on Keo Sokngorn gave Khim Borey the chance to slam home a penalty on 15 minutes, but the Timor keeper saved well. Just 4 mins later, Sokngorn nodded in the first at the far post after Sokumpheak turned provider. Sokumpheak then showed his tigerish qualities when he mugged a Timor defencer, raced into the box and finished with style on 33 minutes.
It was all one-way traffic but with Borey and Sokumpheak squandering chances left right and center, O'Donell decided on some fresh legs and sent on Khuon Laboravy and Nov Soseila. Both players did well to quicken the pace. On 81 minutes goal number three finally arrived. Keo Sokngorn took his chance well after Sokumpheak again did the donkey-work. A minute later Sokumpheak had his head in his hands again, when he sidefooted a great chance wide of the target but made amends with three minutes to go when even he couldn't miss, after Laboravy had hassled the Timorese defence. In the last minute Timor grabbed their moment of glory with a volley that caught Samreth Seiha napping, their first shot on target all game. Four goals, good performance, could've done with a wider winning margin but the big loss is Sun Sovannarith. The skipper picked up a silly yellow card late on and will miss Tuesday's game against Malaysia. It was his 2nd booking in as many games. His experience will be a loss.
As the game ended and I raced back down to pitchside, that's when I cama a cropper and my head is still spinning this morning. My eye looks like I've been in the ring with a Cambodian kickboxer. That'll teach me to look where I'm running. I had a quick drink with the Cambodian coaching staff this morning in town, before they returned to the Village for a meeting to discuss the Malaysian team's antics at yesterday's game with Vietnam. I didn't see it but I'm told they players virtually attacked the referee at the end of their 3-1 defeat to Vietnam, after he sent off one of their players. Any disciplinary action the Games committee take may be helpful to Cambodia, who now meet Malaysia in a make or break game tomorrow.
I have a stack of photos to post but the internet connection is on a go-slow today and I also have to get going to two games at Chao Anouvong. Myanmar v Singapore and Indonesia v Laos. Both games are in Group B, not in Cambodia's group but it's just around the corner and free for the press. I'd be stupid not to go.
Cambodia U23 line-up: Seiha, Rady, Sovannarith (capt), Tiny, Rithy (83m Dara), Narith, Sothearath (63m Soseila), Borey, Sokngorn, Chhaya (57m Laboravy), Sokumpheak.

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Blogger Jerry said...

i think the performance of the team is improving a lots while they have some chance to score but the weakness is on the wind while over player cannot cross well and sometimes is too hard.

December 7, 2009 at 4:56 PM  

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