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Crown start Cup run in style

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Local giants Phnom Penh Crown put their domestic-league worries aside to steamroll Bhutan’s Yeedzin FC 8-0 on the back of Khim Borey’s hat-trick in their opening Group B match of the AFC President’s Cup at Olympic Stadium on Saturday.

In the day’s second fixture, Kyrgyzstan's Dordoi Dynamo outplayed Nepal Police Club 5-1, with nippy frontliner Mirlan Murzaev producing three goals from his bag of tricks.

Kaiumzhan Sharipov and Azamat Baimatov added a goal each for the Kyrgyzstan champions.

The consolation goal for the Nepalese came from midfielder Parbat Pandey with a spotkick just before half-time.

Crown kept their huge fan base in good cheer with absolute domination of their opponents.

But the home side were given an early shock when Emmanuel Frimpong hobbled off in just the second minute of the game.

The Ghana-born midfielder, arguably Crown’s best player of late, was confirmed by club sources as suffering a torn calf muscle.

He will likely miss not only the rest of the Cup games at home this week but also Crown's trip to Singapore for the 2012 RHB Singapore Cup first-round match against Tampines Rovers on May 14.

The opening stages saw Yeedzin goalkeeper Leki bravely avert a couple of narrow squeaks, but an inevitable strike on 20 minutes came from captain Kouch Sokumpheak, who had been threatening for quite some time.

Once Sokumpheak got his firmly struck 20-yard grounder in from the edge of the box, it was as if the floodgates had opened.

With an open header and a neat placement, Khim Borey got going with two quick goals to ensure a healthy 3-0 lead for the hosts at the break.

The story was no different for Bhutan in the second session. They continued to struggle for space and possession.

Under that excessive pressure, they could hardly find room or time for counters even as Crown rammed a few more goals down their gullets.

Ouk Sothy set the second-half tone with a 54th-minute goal.

Sos Souhana added his name to the score sheet seven minutes later.

Then came that crowning moment for Khim Borey when he completed his well deserved hat-trick. With spirits in the Bhutan camp flagging, it was little surprise that the goal fell twice more.

No one had more missed chances to his name than Sok Pheng, but the forward had his way at last. He got Crown’s seventh, and was almost immediately pulled off the pitch.

Substitute Hong Pheng polished off the tally five minutes before time.

Crown will face Nepal Police Club today at 4:30pm at Olympic Stadium, with a victory granting safe passage to the next phase and confirming that their remaining group match, against Dordoi on Wednesday, will be academic. The impressive Dordoi, meanwhile, will also look to advance from the group with a win over Yeedzin in their game that kicks off today at 1:30pm.

To contact the reporters on this story: H S Manjunath at newsroom@phnompenhpost.com
Dan Riley at dan.riley@phnompenhpost.com

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