Friday, December 11, 2009

Success and failure

The Cambodia line-up for today's game against Vietnam: LtoR [back] Udom, Narith, Yaty, Tiny, Rithy, Borey. [front] Sotheara, Sokumpheak, Sokngorn, Raksmey, Sovannarith
Cambodia found Vietnam in no mood to dish out the niceties in their final Group A SEA Games match this afternoon at Chao Anouvong. If anyone thought that Vietnam would take it easy on their neighbours then they were mistaken, as they pummeled the Cambodian team into submission, leading 2-0 at halftime and then piling on the agony in the second half, to win 6-1. Cambodia gave their opponents too much room to play in and didn't get in nearly enough tackles, as Vietnam adopted their fast-paced style of football and proved too hot to handle for the Cambodian youngsters. Khim Borey pulled back a consolation goal for Cambodia after Vietnam had netted four without reply but it was too little too late and another couple of goals in the last 7 minutes gave the scoreline that lopsided look. Three defeats and that win over East Timor showed that Cambodia still have some way to go to match the better teams in SEAsia, but they always knew their Group was going to be very difficult, and that's exactly how it turned out. Thailand, who've won the last eight gold medals in SEA Games at mens football won't win this time around after losing late on to Malaysia, 2-1, when they only needed a draw to go through. More from the Cambodia match later.
Earlier in the day I went to the national university complex to give some support to the Cambodian petanque (boules) team and was pleased to see that the men and women's singles competitors were on top of their game. I couldn't stay for the afternoon finals but they won their semi-finals against Laos opponents with room to spare and with some style. Sok Chanmean is already a SEA Games gold medalist from 2007 and showed his class in his semi-final. At the same time, national ladies singles champion Ouk Sreymom disposed of her semi-final opponent with some ease to qualify for the final. The support given to the players by their own Cambodian contingent was noisy, with the petanque squad comprising 12 men and 12 women and all were on the sidelines cheering their colleagues onto victory. I've just heard that Sok Chanmean took the mens singles gold medal but Ouk Sreymom had to settle for the silver in her final, as she did in 2007.
The Cambodian team's pre-match huddle in front of the massed ranks of Vietnam fans
Cambodia's Petanque singles medalists: Sok Chanmean (left) and Ouk Sreymom

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