Monday, September 24, 2012

The latest from Dushanbe

Our view of this afternoon's opening match
You can keep up to date with Phnom Penh Crown in Tajikistan at my football blog if you need your football fix. This afternoon was the opening game of the six-team competition. The home team, Istiklol from Dushanbe met their next-door-country rivals Dordoi from Kyrgyzstan, and ran out comfortable 2-0 winners, even though they played most of the 2nd half with 10-men. The Crown squad watched the game from the stands amongst the crowd of just over 5,000. The hosts had expected more than double that but the price of the tickets apparently put many people off coming. The game was also shown live on Tajik television. Both teams were big and strong, much taller than the average height of our Cambodian players, so they already have an advantage, though their style of football was pretty much route 1 stuff, which the Crown defenders will have to cope with, despite the absence of their Nigerian strongman, Tony Obadin, who is back in Cambodia after being sent home by the Chinese authorities. Crown play against Dordoi on Wednesday and after this defeat, let's hope the Kyrgz team remain down in the dumps. The Crown team will train on the stadium pitch on Tuesday night under floodlights to get accustomed to the surface and then face their biggest test against a team they met and lost to in Phnom Penh back in May's qualifying competition.

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