Cambodian flag-bearers Phnom Penh Crown face a daunting task tonight in the Singapore Cup as they attempt to overturn a goal deficit against Bangkok Glass
Photo by: Nick Sells (www.nicksellsphotography.com)
(From left to right): Phnom Penh Crown's Phuong Narong, Thul Sothearith, Keo Sokngorn, Ek Sovannara, Tunji Ayoyinka and Tieng Tiny will have their work cut out for them tonight against a Bangkok Glass team that beat them 2-1 in the first leg with a lineup of reserves.
SINGAPORE CUP Q-FINALS
First Leg Results
Phnom Penh Crown 1 Bangkok Glass 2
Brunei DPMM 1 Samut Sakhon 3
Geyland United 2 Home United 1
Tampines Rovers 1 Albirex Niigata 0
Second Leg Results and Fixtures
Monday August 31
Samut Sakhon 4 DPMM 2
(Samut Sakhon through to semifinals)
Wednesday September 2
Bangkok Glass v Phnom Penh Crown
Thursday September 3
Home United v Geyland United
Friday September 4
Albirex Niigata v Tampines Rovers
CAMBODIAN Premier League (CPL) leaders Phnom Penh Crown will have to put in a royal performance in tonight's Singapore Cup quarterfinal second leg against Bangkok Glass at the Jalan Besar Stadium in Singapore.
Trailing 2-1 from last Wednesday's first leg, Crown's chances of turning over the tie will most likely depend on whether the Thai Premier League (TPL) team choose to call up their first-team players, who were kept in Thailand to play a league match Saturday against Samut Songkhram.
"The second leg could be a different story, so it is still possible I could bring my best 11 here," Glass manager Surachai Jattumpatarapong told Singapore newspaper Today in a post-match interview last Wednesday.
"There were two big problems for us tonight," he continued.
"Firstly, it was the pitch. Secondly, it was the fitness levels of our reserves. Due to their lack of match fitness, it was not easy for them to play better football in 90 minutes."
With the Thai team playing the Cup ties sandwiched between domestic fixtures, Surachai was forced to send a second-string team to Singapore, but said he was "OK with the result and their efforts".
Crown, on the other hand, had their CPL fixture rearranged by the Cambodian Football Federation, to help them concentrate on the international matches.
Crown will be hoping their players such as Chan Chhaya, who scored a goal in the first leg, Chan Rithy, Keo Sokngorn, and Tunji Ayoyinka can help mount a charge for the semifinal's berth.
Crown head coach Apisit Im Amphai, in an interview posted on the Web site sleague.com, praised his men for their commendable performance last week, but recognised the daunting task they faced tonight.
"The Thai clubs, even their reserves, are better in standard than us, but I am pleased we have given our best," he said.
"I was very happy to see us get the early goal, but sad when we conceded two to go behind. We now know we have several areas we need to work on ahead of the second leg, especially in our teamwork, finishing and fitness."
Crown will hope key Cameroonian midfielder Oscar Mpoko is fully fit to start after shrugging off a cold to come of the bench in the 87th minute of the first leg. The defensive trio of Marcel Modibo, Tieng Tiny and captain Thul Sothearith will need to be at full alert to cope with Glass' long ball tactics, which saw Mattee Pungpo rise above all to powerfully head home the winner in the first leg.
Meanwhile, Thailand's TTM Samut Sakhon became the first team to qualify for the semifinal's, after beating Brunei DPMM 4-2 in their second leg Monday. The Thai team, six places below Glass in the TPL, progressed to face the winner of the Crown and Glass matchup with a 7-3 aggregate over their Brunei opponents.