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PKR start hunt for third title

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Preah Khan Reach’s Prak Mony Odom (2nd L) celebrates with Khoun Laboravy (R) and other team-mates after scoring against Naga Corp in the 6th Hun Sun Sen Cup final at Olympic Stadium on February 12, 2012. Photograph: Sreng Meng Srun/Phnom Penh Post

Preah Khan Reach’s Prak Mony Odom (2nd L) celebrates with Khoun Laboravy (R) and other team-mates after scoring against Naga Corp in the 6th Hun Sun Sen Cup final at Olympic Stadium on February 12, 2012. Photograph: Sreng Meng Srun/Phnom Penh Post

The seventh Samdech Hun Sen Cup completes its first round matches of the final phase today, with groups C and D facing off at Olympic Stadium and Old Stadium.

Preah Khan Reach, gunning for a third straight title, will kick things off in the highly competitive Group D at 2pm at the Old Stadium. Up against Asia Europe University, the holders will look to produce a similarly strong showing as in their friendly against Saigon FC last Friday.

“We are a professional football team and the defending champions, but we will not make the mistake of thinking that this upcoming game will be easy,” said PKR coach Sam Vandeth.

“Asia-Euro University is an ambitious team and they can win against anyone if they play at their best, so we will play with the best starting formation our team can offer.”

The second Group D game at 4pm on the same pitch will see Phnom Penh Crown, led by newly appointed Swiss head coach Sam Schweingruber, face Phnom Penh Centre qualifiers Khan Porsenchey.

Crown are coming off one of their worst seasons on record, but have signed many new young players including four French-Cambodian imports including Bin Thierry, a midfielder that has represented France at U16 level.

Coach Schweingruber told the Post yesterday that preparations for the campaign have gone well. “We saw in our [pre-season] friendly matches that if our team has their heads in the game, great things can happen for us, but as soon as some bigger mistakes happen, we tend to lose our head over it,” he said.

“This is a very young team that still needs a lot of guidance and confidence.”

When asked about his new star players, the coach revealed that Bin Thierry and Koh Boris would likely miss today’s game due to recent injuries.

“It remains to be seen when they will be able to play [in the competition],” he added.

The Olympic Stadium, meanwhile, will host Group C ties as reigning Metfone C-League champions Boeung Ket Rubber Field take on East Centre toppers Svay Rieng at 2pm, followed by Takeo club Kirivong Sok Sen Chey vying with Pailin, the top team from the West Centre, at 4pm.

To contact the reporter on this story: Chris Derbuc at christophderbuc@aol.com

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