Subscribe Search

Search form

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Pressure builds on Cambodia coach Vitorino after loss

Pressure builds on Cambodia coach Vitorino after loss

Cambodia captain Khoun Laboravy takes a shot at the Indonesia goal in their friendly at Olympic Stadium on Thursday night.
Cambodia captain Khoun Laboravy takes a shot at the Indonesia goal in their friendly at Olympic Stadium on Thursday night. Sreng Meng Srun

Pressure builds on Cambodia coach Vitorino after loss

Three defeats in three months since he took over as national head coach has left Leonard Vitorino wondering how best to get positive results ahead of the AFC Cup group game against Afghanistan at the Olympic Stadium on Tuesday evening after Cambodia went down without a whimper to Indonesia 2-0 in an international football friendly at a packed Olympic Stadium on Thursday evening.

The Brazilian was understandably disappointed at the outcome and perhaps even dismayed by an error-prone performance from his players, but he struck a defiant tone that they will not stay down.

Another sellout crowd in the upwards of 50,000 watched a strong regional team build their own self-assurance after returning to competitive scene from a two-year FIFA ban as they efficiently punished the home side for loose marking, defensive slips and some poor finishing.

The Indonesians are on course to solidify their team ahead of this August’s SEA Games in Malaysia as the ban had prevented them from all other regional goals, and the camp was reasonably happy that the team was gradually kicking off ring rust after being in the shadows for so long.

The opportunity to engage a team as strong as Indonesia was seen by Vitorino as a means of giving his players a stern test ahead of the AFC Cup group game against Afghanistan.

But what the Brazilian saw from the touchline will have convinced him that his players will have to work a lot harder than they did on the pitch against Indonesia if they are to match strides with the physical Afghans.

The first sign of a crack in the Cambodian defence allowed Indonesia’s Dutch-born forward Irfan Bachdim to work his way from the left to a vantage point in front of goal and polish off a right-footed strike.

Within four minutes of that goal past the half-hour mark, Vitorino brought in defender Thierry Chantha Bin to replace Hoy Phalin as Cambodia began to exert pressure on their rivals. The tried and tested Khoun Laboravy went close but the Boeung Ket hat-tricker against Warriors FC in Singapore last week could not get his final strike quite right.

Noun Borey stepped in for Laboravy past the hour and a little later Keo Sokpheng replaced Prak Mony Odom, with Keo Sokgnon also being called upon to take the field in place of Polroth.

While Cambodia struggled to turn promise into a goal, Indonesia managed to chalk up their second deep in injury time when 18-year-old Gian Zola Nugraha smashed in a nearly 30-yard drive with his right foot after substitue Hanif Abdurrauf had put him through.


  • Kak Channthy, Cambodian Space Project frontwoman, killed in crash at 38 [Updated]

    Updated 5:05pm, Tuesday, March 20, 2018 Kak Channthy, frontwoman of popular The Cambodian Space Project, was killed Tuesday morning in a traffic accident in Phnom Penh. She was 38. Channthy, the internationally recognised singer-songwriter also known as “Srey Thy”, was reportedly travelling in a tuk-tuk on the city's

  • Australians protest Asean summit visit by PM Hun Sen

    Hundreds of protesters gathered in Sydney’s Hyde Park on Friday to protest against Cambodian strongman Hun Sen, who claimed to have been gifted millions of dollars by the Australian government ahead of a special Asean summit this weekend. An estimated 300 protesters, the majority of

  • One Australian, one Cambodian killed in explosion at military base

    Updated: 5:20pm, Friday 16 March 2018 An Australian tourist and a Cambodian soldier were killed in an explosion on Thursday afternoon at an army base in Cambodia’s Kampong Speu province. The Australian, whom the government initially identified as a technical demining expert in his 40s, and

  • Peeling back layers of prehistory in Battambang

    When the man passed away, he had not yet reached 50. He belonged to a tribe that had settled near the Sangker River in Battambang province, likely cultivating the fields and raising animals. On the side, they hunted for boars, and even turtles, one of which