Thai league champions SCG Muangthong United proved too strong and wily for the Cambodian All Stars in a 4-0 international football friendly rout featuring a hat-trick by a recent addition to the side, Leandro Assampcao of Brazil, at the Olympic Stadium yesterday evening.
The 31-year-old Assampcao, who moved from Sisaket to Muangthong earlier this year, had five goals to his name in six appearances and he continued that rich vein of form as he craftily exploited the All Stars defensive weaknesses.
Apart from the Brazilian’s cameo, Muangthong’s coach Totchtawan Sripan could also take a lot of comfort in the performances of two more acquisitions this year, midfielder Ratchapol Nawanno, who got onto the scoresheet, and goal-keeper Prasit Padungchok, who pulled off a couple of brilliant saves.
Muangthong’s stop in Phnom Penh for the second year running was part of their Asean Tour. Unlike the previous meeting between the two sides that produced seven goals, Assampcao and Ratchapol nailed three within the first 25 minutes before the Brazilian came back very late in the game to complete his hat-trick even as the All Stars spurned a few promising chances.
The stands were filled to capacity long before kick-off, with an expectant crowd keen to watch in action some of the Cambodian national players who will be involved in the Under-23 AFC Cup qualifiers this week and the SEA Games campaign next month.
Coach Leonardo Vittorino saw this as a crucial test for his players ahead of those stiff challenges. While he had a few positives to count and some fresh faces in the side like Brak Thiva of Crown to take note of, poor defending could well be one of his main concerns.
Even as Assampcao enjoyed unfettered access to score the first two goals in almost identical fashion, beating Sou Yaty with very neat finishes from the edge of the box, Shane Booysen led the All Stars’ counterattacks early in the game with some speedy breaks and one outstanding attempt that was tipped over by Prasit.
Young Oum Sereyroth replaced the experienced Sou Yaty in the All Stars goal. He was beaten once minutes before regulation time by none other than Assampcao.
Among the subs for the home side in the second session, Crown’s fast-rising Brak Thiva clearly caught the eye with a stunning strike that required an acrobatic response from Prasit.
The proceeds from the friendly will go towards the development of football in Cambodia.