Sunday, December 6, 2009

The nation expects

Timor Leste, or East Timor as I know them, are the next target for Cambodia's U23s as they play their must win game tonight at the National Stadium, some 17kms outside Vientiane, at 5.45pm. Anything less than a victory will leave Cambodia's hopes of qualifying to the semi-finals in tatters. If they win, they will then have to win their next two games, Malaysia (Tues) and Vietnam (Fri) to make qualification a reality, but the first step is East Timor. Slaughtered in their opening game by Malaysia 11-0, the Timorese put on a plucky display against Vietnam in their 2nd outing, losing 4-0 but gaining a lot of friends, and confidence, from their performance. They arrived at the SEA Games with a squad of just fifteen eligible players, another three overage players, with some of them only arriving on the morning of their first game. They showed against Vietnam that they have some tricks up their sleeve so it won't be the pushover I initially thought. Cambodia will have to do the job, they can't expect a win, they will need to work hard to get it and I expect coach Scott O'Donell to give the same starting eleven a second chance to redeem themselves. We played a great first half against Thailand, we more than matched them but conceded two sloppy goals just before the interval whistle and the game was over. We can't afford to switch off for a second in our remaining games or we can kiss goodbye to our SEA Games hopes. I hope to get back online later tonight to bring you the result.

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