Phnom Penh Crown completed a remarkable hat-trick of victories across the region over the weekend, including their Academy side’s first win in the Asia U16 Champions Trophy in China, a stunning 9-1 rout over Asia Europe University in the Metfone C-League at the Olympic Stadium and the successful defence of their SSC Soccer Sixes youth tournament in Singapore.
On Saturday at Guangzhou’s 58,500-seater Tianhe Stadium, Crown’s U16 team made a rousing start to their second ACT campaign by beating home side Guangdong FA 2-1.
Coach Bouy Dary’s boys went into the break a goal up thanks to a neatly clipped finish over the onrushing keeper by Chhuot Senteang on 35 minutes.
The second half witnessed a torrential storm sweep through the arena, with the referee left with no choice but to pull both sides off for ten minutes to allow the rains to subside.
A waterlogged pitch in places limited play, but a clumsy challenge just outside the box by Guangdong keeper Pang Jiajun on Crown substitute Vat Samnang granted the visitors a chance to push further ahead with ten minutes left on the clock.
Captain Ouk Sovann duly executed a trademark free kick beyond the reach of Pang.
The closing exchanges saw the home side snatch one back through an opportunistic strike from Liao Jintao, while Crown stopper Sem Mesa was called into action in injury time to see out the result.
Back on home soil on Sunday, the senior squad were in rampant mood in their merciless league demolition of AEU.
Nigerian defender Odion Obadin got the ball rolling for the four-time league winners on 22 minutes, and then moments later, new Australian recruit Adriano Pellegrino announced his arrival in the Kingdom with a quick fire double.
Hong Pheng’s goal just before the interval had Crown firmly in the driver’s seat, and striker George Bisan found the net no less than four times in the second half to signify his intent on the Golden Boot award this year.
Thong Da also got on the scoresheet for Crown on 63 minutes, with Sary Matnorotin scoring a consolation goal six minutes later.
Midfielder Pellegrino, who turns 30 next month, enjoyed a dream debut for his latest club, having enjoyed a career that spans nearly 100 games in the top tier A-League, including stints at the likes of Perth Glory and Central Coast Mariners. The former Australian U20 international also produced four assists to go with his brace on Sunday.
Over in Singapore, Crown’s U14s once again dominated their six-a-side tournament, racking up huge group stage wins over Singapore Muhammadiyah A (6-0), Singapore B (9-0) and Bali (10-0) before coming a cropper against a Phuket outfit (2-1).
The results saw Crown progress to their second straight final, where they managed to reverse the loss to their Thai opponents in the group, emerging as 2-0 victors.