Sunday, December 13, 2009

A real thrashing

There's no escaping the final score, Cambodia 1 Vietnam 6
Apologies for the delay in providing the run-down on Cambodia's final football match in the SEA Games, which was played on Friday afternoon. In many respects the game and the result - a 6-1 defeat - against Vietnam summed up the team's tournament. Moments of real quality, smart passing and never-say-die commitment but those moments were fleeting by comparison to the skills, quick-feet and deadly finishing displayed by the Vietnam team. Cambodia were never in the hunt against Vietnam, unlike the games against Thailand and Malaysia where they always had a chance. The Viets started strongly and never really let up apart from a couple of brief spells where Cambodia had them on the back foot. Scott O'Donell gave a run-out to Sou Yaty in goal, Lay Raksmey at right-back as well as Lorn Sotheara in the middle of the park and Prak Mony Udom on the right flank. Vietnam needed at least a point to be sure of their place in the semi-finals but they went looking for all three points from the off, though it was Khim Borey who had the first shot, when he fired over the bar from 20 yards. After that it was pretty much one-way traffic as Cambodia back-pedalled and Vietnam pressed. Their captain Pham Thanh Luong cut inside Sun Sovannarith and fired in the first goal on 11 minutes while Sou Yaty got down well to keep out another effort from the same player a few minutes later.
Cambodia rallied on 22 minutes when a great half-volley from Keo Sokngorn looked set for the far corner before the giant Vietnam keeper Bui Tan Truong got his fingertips to it and pushed it wide. Sovannarith put a free kick down the keeper's throat two minutes later and moments after that, Prak Mony Udom raced clear of the Viet defence but dragged his shot wide of the target and that brief flame of Cambodia passion quickly ran its course. Vietnam's stranglehold on the game returned but they didn't cash in until 3 minutes before the break. A corner was headed in unchallenged by Phan Thanh Hung. Halftime 2-nil. Sou Yaty was in the thick of the action early in the 2nd half, distinquishing himself with a double save on 54 mins. Cambodia lost Lorn Sotheara after a clash of heads and whilst he was off getting treatment, Vietnam netted a 3rd. Stretched at the back, Luong scored his 2nd goal on 63 minutes. Two minutes later slack marking allowed Hoang Dinh Tung a free header with his first touch after coming on as a sub.
Khim Borey latched onto a Chhun Sothearath pass, turned neatly and fired it past Truong in the Viet goal for a small consolation on 68 minutes, as Cambodia offered up some resistance. A minute later, Sokngorn's cross to the far post was a whisker away from sub Oum Kumpheak and with a bit more luck, Cambodia would've added another. However, Vietnam weren't finished and on 83 mins Tung added his 2nd after Yaty had saved well from Ngoc Anh. In the last minute the Viets scored their sixth when Tran Manh Dung slotted in with ease with the Cambodian defence at sixes and sevens. It was a thrashing in reality and showed Cambodia the standard they need to achieve to begin to match the best teams in the region. Vietnam now play Singapore in the semis, with Laos meeting Malaysia in the other. The Cambodian players left the ground quickly, heads bowed low as their tournament ended in a 3rd defeat. They team left the Games Village at 7am yesterday for the two-day bus ride back to Phnom Penh, and should arrive sometime this evening.
Cambodia U23 line-up: Yaty, Raksmey, Sovannarith (capt), Tiny, Rithy, Narith (56m Sothearath), Sotheara (63m Kumpheak), PM Udom, Sokngorn (84m Laboravy), Borey, Sokumpheak.
Sun Sovannarith leads out the Cambodian team against Vietnam
The players enter the field at Chao Anouvong stadium in Vientiane
Cambodia are at 'home' and stand to attention for the national anthem
Getting themselves ready for the start. LtoR: Tiny, Rithy, Borey, PM Udom
LtoR: PM Udom, Sokumpheak, Narith, Sokngorn
LtoR: Raksmey, Sotheara, Yaty, Sovannarith (capt)
The Cambodian bench before the gameThe Cambodia starting XI. PM Udom breaks ranks and folds his arms.
The lonely walk back to the dressing room after their 6-1 defeat to Vietnam

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