Twenty football teams from across the Kingdom have been showcasing their skills in the 2011 National High School Girls Championships held in Kampong Thom provincial town, with the quarterfinals rounds set to kick off today following a frantic week of group play.
From Pool A, Banteay Meanchey emerged as hot favourites to lift the trophy, with a sweet seventeen goals scored in total combined with a perfect record of clean sheets.
The team features an identical line-up to that which clinched the inaugural Cup, organized by the Football Federation of Cambodia last September.
Stung Treng, who gave Banteay Meanchey a run for their money in a nerve-racking 1-0 loss to the holders, finished second from Pool A to also advance to the knockout round.
In Pool B, Pursat and Pailin confirmed their progression in the event. Pursat had netted 15 goals during the group stage, lead by national team striker Srey Teav, who accounted for ten of them.
Pailin scraped through by the skin of their teeth, as a last minute strike by Kampot was ruled offside to end the game goalless.
Pool C’s Mighty Girls team, which represent Battambang province, secured an early place in the quarters with three quick wins, but failed to continue their dominance in their last match against Siem Reap.
Though their only shot on goal was a converted penalty awarded in the second minute of play, Siem Reap escaped with a 1-1 draw despite being under constant pressure from the Battambang offence. The result granted heartache for hosts Kampong Thom as Siem Reap squeezed through.
The Mighty Girls, along with the other sides from the three Northwestern provinces of Cambodia, are a product of SALT Academy – a youth league and leadership training organisation now in its fourth year of operation in Battambang. They will look to reignite the firepower that yielded 16 goals from four group games during the elimination rounds.
Pool D was a walk in the park for Kampong Chhnang, whose only minor blip came in a stalemate against group runners-up Prey Veng. Both side’s goalkeepers have yet to pick a ball out of their nets going into today’s quarterfinals.
Winners of today’s matches will move to semifinals tomorrow, with the third place playoff preceding the grand final held on Wednesday.
Bant. Meanchey v Siem Reap
Pursat v Prey Veng
Battambang v Stung Treng
Kampong Chhnang v Pailin