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Crown tour showcasing Kingdom’s football depth

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Phnom Penh Crown midfielder Yeu Muslim (right) tries to shoot the ball while under pressure during the international friendly club match in Malaysia on June 4. PHNOM PENH CROWN FC

Crown tour showcasing Kingdom’s football depth

Cambodian Premier League champions Phnom Penh Crown are using their friendly matches in Malaysia to enhance the quality of their play. They are also using the opportunity to promote the progress of football in the Kingdom, ahead of the team’s group stage qualifiers of the 2022 AFC Cup.

Crown’s Ukrainian coach Oleg Starynskyi said: “These friendly tours to Malaysia are a great opportunity for us to gain international experience. We are constantly learning, and this is great preparation for us, as we get ready for the AFC Cup.

With a focus on strengthening the quality of their play during the international club friendly matches in Malaysia, Crown ended its opening match with Terengganu with a 1-1 draw.

The home side took a 1-0 lead in the first half of the match on June 4 but Colombian midfielder Neito pulled Crown back with an equalising goal in the 58th minute, also the last goal of the match.

Following a 1-1 draw with the Terengganu first team, Crown will take on Terengganu II on June 6 before playing Kuala Lumpur City June 8. Each of the games will not just help to improve the quality of the Crown team, but will also show the progress of football in Cambodia.

“Of course we want people to see how Cambodian football is competitive, interesting and growing, so collaboration with these Malaysian clubs is a great move for us,” said Starynskyi.

“Terengganu is a strong team. They are always stable and always competitive enough to place well in the Malaysian league. We will also play Kuala Lumpur City, who will also appear in the AFC Cup. They are former winners of the SFC Cup, so we will gain a good sense of where our performance levels are and hopefully demonstrate how competitive Cambodian football is becoming,” he added.

In their Group H qualifying round of the AFC Cup, Crown will face Hougang United on June 24 and host Vietnamese Viettel three days later. Their final match will be against the Lao Young Elephants on June 30.

“Of course the opponents in our group are strong, but I believe they are on the same level as us. These friendly games in Malaysia will definitely make us better. We want to fully focus on them and use what we learn to steel ourselves for the qualifiers,” the coach added.

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