Phnom Penh Crown’s Bin Thierry (right) looks to take on Asia Europe University captain Sun Sovanratha during their Hun Sen Cup match yesterday. Photograph: Sreng Meng Srun/Phnom Penh Post
Asia Europe University continued their impressive form in the seventh Samdech Hun Sen Cup yesterday with a 1-1 draw against three-time champions Phnom Penh Crown in their Group D tie at Olympic Stadium.
The result saw more pressure heaped on holders Preah Khan Reach, who pulverised Khan Por Sen Chey 4-0 in their clash at the Old Stadium, as they bid to clinch a third successive title.
PKR now need to beat Crown or hope Asia Europe come a cropper against Por Sen Chey during the final matches of Group D in two weeks.
Crown began strongly yesterday, with striker Khim Borey carving out some good opportunities, but it was the Preah Vihear outfit with a quick combination of passes that found Moun Nara completely by himself on the left to open the score.
A last-ditch challenge from Crown keeper Samrith Seiha could not prevent Nara putting his side in front on 17 minutes.
New Crown coach Sam Schweingruber was not looking happy and tried to adjust his team’s tactics, creating more pressure from midfield, especially on the left, through French-Cambodian import Dani Kouch.
On the stroke of half-time, another of Crown’s overseas recruits, Bin Thierry, struck an astonishing free kick from 20 metres, which AEU goalkeeper Um Sereyrath could only deflect into the path of Khim Borey, who duly drew the tallies back level again.
The second half was another open affair, with many scoring opportunities for both teams. While Asia Europe looked to cover the field with a few hard passes, which unlocked a sizeable amount of space for their striker, Crown tried to take time in building up plays, often through the polished technique of Dani Kouch.
Both stoppers produced strong performances to see the game end with the points shared.
Schweingruber told the Post he was naturally disappointed, but had to hand it to Asia Europe. “They played very good football and it was a well deserved draw for them,” he said.
The Crown coach noted their dissatisfaction with the current fixture schedule, which sees them play their first Metfone C-League match just two days after the Cup tie.
“We will try to make the best of it,” he added.
“Afterwards, we can prepare for the match against Preah Khan Reach.”
The second match of the day at Olympic Stadium had Group C leaders Boeung Ket Rubber Field facing the provincial squad from Pailin.
From kick-off, Pailin had simply no reply to the waves of attack from reigning league champions, who notched-up a 12-0 rout.
National team forward Chan Vathanaka netted no fewer than seven of the goals, clear proof of why many regard the teenager as Cambodia’s hottest talent.
Other goals were scored by Keo Sokngorn, Keo Sokpheng, Savy Setsondy, Ly Mizan and Sok Sovann.
Pailin’s only player that appeared to refuse to capitulate was goalkeeper Ket Vanny, who pulled off some amazing saves.
PKR’s win at the Old Stadium feat-ured a second-minute strike by Sok Chanraksmey and a ninth-minute doubler by Phany I Rotha.
Chanraksmey grabbed his second on 43 minutes, while Nen Sothearoth found the net in the dying moments to put the game to bed.
An earlier Group C encounter between Svay Rieng and Kirivong Sok Sen Chey saw the latter emerge 3-0 victors with a pair of penalties converted in the first half by Hour Sambou and a 65th-minute death blow by Chan Chhaya.
With two wins apiece, Boeung Ket and Kirivong are assured of places in the quarter-finals. Their match in a fortnight will help decide which team will advance as group winners.