Saturday, February 6, 2010

Under pressure

A day to forget for match referee Yien Kivatanak
It's the weekend and that means it's football at the Olympic Stadium here in Phnom Penh. Normally I prefer to talk about the matches, the results and the players but occasionally it's the man in the middle who grabs the headlines and all the attention. Referee Yien Kivatanak did just that today, whilst making his debut as a Cambodian referee. I'm sure it's a game he will want to forget, the look on his face towards the end of the game was one where he wanted the ground to open up and swallow him whole. The image of a rabbit caught in the full beam headlights of a truck, springs to mind. I've seen him running the line lots of times in last season's CPL fixtures but taking charge of your first match is a whole different ball game, as he soon found out. For the record, and in a game where serious fouls were few and far between, he managed to book 9 players, he sent off no less than 4 players from the Kirivong team with 4 straight red cards and also brandished two additional red cards, but quickly changed his mind and allowed those two players to stay on the pitch. To be honest, there was so much going on that I need to see a reply of the game just to check my facts. It was a cup tie in the Hun Sen Cup and the eventual outcome, after extra time, was a 4-2 giant-killing win by the Rithisen team from Kompong Chhnang against a self-imploding Kirivong Sok Sen Chey team, that finished the match with seven players. Actually it was six players (and therefore making the game technically void) as one of the Kirivong players walked off the pitch and threw his shirt down in disgust, though the referee didn't notice he'd left the pitch. If he had he would've had to abandon the game. But by that time, he'd completely lost the plot. Certainly a debut refereeing performance to remember, or forget, depending on who you are.

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