Fistfuls of rain, a last ditch equaliser and a nerve racking penalty shootout did not deter Daniel Football Club from snatching the honours in the third Sports Commission Futsal Premier League on Sunday. The local team beat finals rivals Black Eagles 6-5 on spotkicks after the sides had ended the 40-minute regulation time level on 3-3 at the newly laid Field of Light in Phnom Penh’s Tumnop Teuk district.
One of the Kingdom’s longest running private futsal leagues reached the dramatic conclusion of this year’s campaign on Sunday after nearly 15 weeks of competition. The Black Eagles fired an equaliser a minute before the final whistle to force penalties and looked to capitalise on their momentum with a Daniel player missing their third spot kick. Black Eagles were within a conversion of clinching the title, but blew their chance with a botched reply.
The two goalkeepers took turns to misfire in the first set of sudden-death penalties, and amid growing tension, the reborn Daniel team nudged ahead at 6-5 and were relieved to see Black Eagles miss the mark.
Captain of the winning side Phea Soketra, who is an assistant coach with Metfone C-League runners-up Preah Khan Reach, said: “We had chances to wrap it up when we led 3-2, but we certainly were a bit lucky in the penalties. As a team we have done very well this season.”
The Division A final, which served as a perfect dress rehearsal for the Premier League showpiece event, was won by Paradise, who edged out Young Life 9-8 in a game of rapidly changing fortunes and scorelines.
The Sports Commission is one of the wings of local charity organisation Evangelical Fellowship of Cambodia-Kingdom Equipped Youth and has been organising Futsal leagues since 2008.
“This year is very special for us because we completed building an international standard Futsal pitch on artificial turf and floodlights at a cost of around US$2,000,” said Un Makara, one of EFC-KEY’s sports coordinators.
Fourteen teams each took part in the Premier League and Division A, featuring a total of nearly 300 players. One of the prime movers of the Sports Commission, New Zealander Todd Smith who has now assumed an advisory role in the organisation, said the Futsal league would grow much bigger and better with the completion of the new pitch.