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Cambodia's qualifying hopes left hanging on Brunei victory

Cambodia's qualifying hopes left hanging on Brunei victory

24-STORY-124.jpg
24-STORY-124.jpg

Thursday’s loss to the Philippines in Suzuki Cup qualifying means Cambodia must win their last match this weekend to advance to the Southeast Asian finals

Photo by: HENG CHIVOAN

Khim Borey (left) congratulates Sam El Nasa for scoring Cambodia’s first goal against the Philippines at Olympic Stadium in Phnom Penh on Thursday. Cambodia lost 2-3

CAMBODIA lost 2-3 to the Philippines Thursday in a defeat that sets up a must-win showdown with  Brunei on Saturday if the national team are to play in Asean's Suzuki Cup football championship this December. 

Sam El Nasa scored a double in the first half of the afternoon match played at Phnom Penh's Olympic Stadium, putting Cambodia on the scoresheet in the 14th minute before the Philippines scored twice, with strikes from star defender Alex Borromeo and Chris Greatwich.

Sam El Nasa netted again in the last minute of the first half to level the score at 2-2 going into the break.

The game's aggressive pace continued in the second half, with Cambodia piling on the pressure to the delight of some 15,000 spectators.

But the larger and stronger Filipinos frustrated Cambodia's repeated attempts to attack and wore down the home side with long, high passes that took advantage of the visitors' greater reach.

Philippines substitute Chad Gould outjumped the Cambodia defence in the 53rd minute to head in what turned out to be the winner.

"I am not happy with the result because we didn't think we were going to lose that match," said Cambodia head coach Prak Sovannara, after talking up the team's chances earlier in the week.

"It was difficult against the high balls because we prefer to play short passes, and the Philippines has strong defenders."

Philippines coach Juan Cutillas said the match, which saw two yellow cards handed out to players of each team, was "very difficult" and admitted they had struggled in the second half.

"The last 25 minutes was extremely difficult.

"I believe we had the right tactic on the day and that we deserved to win even though Cambodia dominated for much of the game," he said.

Do-or-die Saturday

Cambodia must now defeat Brunei in their remaining match to claim one of the two qualifying slots from the five-nation tournament.

Prak Sovannara said the squad's focus would now turn to improving their defence ahead of that decisive match, which is scheduled to kick off at 2pm on Saturday at Olympic Stadium.

Brunei coach Vjeran Simunic, whose side lost 2-3 earlier on Thursday to the 2006 edition's top qualifiers, Laos, was pessimistic about his team's chances of beating Cambodia.

"We have three players suspended and with this defeat [on Thursday], it is very difficult for us to qualify into the next round," he said.

Laos and East Timor play the last match of the competition at 4pm Saturday.

SUZUKI CUP Qualifying Tournament
Standings ahead of Saturday's matches

Played 
Won

Lost

Draw
G/For

G/Against

Points

 Philippines
4

2

1


6

5

7 (+1)

 Laos
3
2

1

0

7

6

6 (+1) 
 Brunei




7

5

4 (+2)
 Cambodia
3

1


1

7

7

4 (-1) 
 East Timor







1 (-4) 

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