Wednesday, December 9, 2009

No hiding place

Scott O'Donell watches his team line up for a photo
Well I've eaten at last and now that the internet connection is working in my guesthouse room, I'll give you the low-down on tonight's game. Malaysia had two players suspended before the match after their unacceptable behaviour towards the referee in their last game. They should've had a 3rd player suspended too, for allegedly striking the ref, but somehow he got away with it. They came into the game in the same position as Cambodia, needing to win it. Cambodia coach Scott O'Donell dropped Chan Chhaya, bringing Nov Soseila in on the right flank, and moving Khim Borey into attack. Chan Dara replaced the suspended Sun Sovannarith. Cheered on by a small contingent of flag-waving Cambodian competitors from the shuttlecock and petanque teams, Cambodia kicked off and were fortunate that Malaysia's Idlan Talaha was a bit rusty with a couple of early efforts. Khim Borey had Cambodia's best chance of the first half when he got goalside but dragged his shot across the face of the goal. On 35 minutes, a 1-2 on the edge of the box allowed Manaf Mamat time to round Samreth Seiha and slot the ball home to give Malaysia a one-goal halftime advantage.
Cambodia made the early running after the break. Sokumpheak fired over, before he was pushed from behind and the ref from the Maldives pointed to the penalty spot, 8 minutes into the half. Annoyingly, there was indecision about who would take the penalty after Borey's miss in another game, so Sokumpheak stepped up and duly sent the keeper the wrong way. Cue celebrations, which were cut short when the referee ordered it to be retaken for encroachment. This was a crucial decision, as Sokumpheak fired his 2nd spot-kick straight at the keeper. Ten minutes later, a Tieng Tiny free kick on the edge of the D, was finger-tipped over by the Malay keeper and not much was going Cambodia's way. That was confirmed when on 77 minutes, Malaysia got behind the defence and Idlan Talaha finished well. Cambodia went to three at the back to force the issue and on 82 minutes, after Seiha had saved well and the ball had pinged around the box, Kunanlan Subamaniam poked in the 3rd. Four minutes later Seiha conceded a penalty when he brought down Subamaniam and Safiq Rahim netted from the spot kick. In injury time, Prak Mony Udom had a 25-yarder tipped over and Tieng Tiny had a headed goal disallowed but it was too little too late. Malaysia had won and Cambodia's hopes had been well and truly dashed. The players sat on the sideline for at least fifteen minutes whilst the result sunk in and the ground cleared. There was no hiding place for the defeated.
Cambodia U23 line-up: Seiha, Rady, Dara, Tiny (capt), Rithy (79m Chhaya), Narith, Sothearath (61m PM Udom), Soseila, Sokngorn (72m Laboravy), Borey, Sokumpheak.
Waiting for the start. Lto R: Narith, Dara, Sothearath, Seiha and stand-in skipper Tiny
More waiting. LtoR: Borey, Sokngorn, Rady, Narith, Dara, Sothearath
LtoR: Rithy, Sokumpheak, Soseila, Borey, Sokngorn
The players line up waiting to shake hands
The national anthem for Cambodia
Getting ready to take their chance if selected, the Cambodian substitutes
The Cambodia bench before kick off
The players line up ready for their entrance onto the field
Waiting to enter the fray: LtoR: Borey, Sokumpheak, Rithy

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