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Young Lions rout Cambodia

Young Lions rout Cambodia


Cambodia’s U23 national football team feel the full force of their Singaporean counterparts, the Young Lions, with a 6-0 thumping at Olympic Stadium Sunday.

Photo by: Nick Sells (www.nicksellsphotography.com)
Singapore U23 player Eddie Chang (right) slides in to make a tackle on Cambodia’s Prak Monyoudom during their interntional friendly match Sunday at Olympic Stadium.

THOUGH the score looks horrifying, don’t read too much into it. That was the message coming out of the Cambodian camp after a 6-0 drubbing by Singapore at the Olympic Stadium on Sunday. This was the first game in Scott O’Donell’s return to coach the Cambodian national team, and most of his team had played the day before in Cambodia’s domestic Super 4 championships.

Singapore – big, strong and athletic – included a dozen players from club side Young Lions, who play in their domestic S-League with the sole aim of producing well-drilled and ready-made international players. It’s actually a model that Cambodia is seriously thinking of copying.

For O’Donell and his team, it’s all part of the learning process. “Its beneficial to play teams as good as Singapore,” said the national coach after the game. “It shows us how far we have to go. I pick the team, so I take full responsibility for the result today.

“I hate losing, and so do the players. They are very disappointed, especially after we played so well for 35 minutes. But I’ve told them the game lasts 90 minutes, and we stopped doing in the second half what we did so well in the first. We’ll get better,” promised O’Donell.

Teams play on sodden turf

Photo by: Nick Sells (www.nicksellsphotography.com)
Cambodia coach Scott O’Donell (left) chats with old friend and Singapore coach Raddy Avramovic after the final whistle Sunday at Olympic stadium.

The rain lashed the teams as they lined up for the national anthems, with the downpour making the field slippery, though that suited both teams as they zipped the ball around in a bright opening to the friendly international. Looking composed, the Cambodian back four dealt with Singapore’s more direct style with relative ease, and in Nov Soseila they had a real threat down the left flank.

Cambodia’s Kuoch Sokumpheak almost created a great opening for himself on 16 minutes when he cut inside his marker but fired his shot well off target.

The same player went a lot closer with a far post header 10 minutes later, but a deflection took it out for a corner. From the flag-kick, Tieng Tiny was head and shoulders above everyone else, but powered his header just over the crossbar.

It was all Cambodia at this point, but they were rocked back on their heels on 35 minutes when Singapore scored with their first real chance.
Shaiful Esah was allowed too much freedom on the left flank, and his low-drilled cross eluded Sou Yaty in the Cambodian goal and was touched
over the line by Khairul Nizam, with Sun Sovannarith just failing to clear.

Singapore quickly seized the initiative, catching Cambodia napping six minutes later with a smartly taken free kick. Sahfig Ghani spotted Gabriel Quak in acres of space on the edge of the box and played him in, only for Sou Yaty to smother his first shot. However, the alert midfielder reacted quickly to tuck the loose ball over the line and extend his team’s lead going into half-time.

With unlimited substitutions for both sides, much of the second half was stop-start, but that didn’t trouble Singapore, who took advantage of a demoralised Cambodian team that failed to recover the form they’d shown for much of the preceding half.

Young Lions striker Fadhil Noh made it a game for him to remember with a hat trick in 16 minutes, cashing in on some slack defensive play and netting his goals on 56, 66 and 72 minutes.

His first was provided by a Gabriel Quak cross that he controlled well and slotted past replacement keeper Samrith Seiha. A tap-in from inches out was Noh’s simple second, after a spectacular save from Samrith had denied Shahdan Sulaiman, and Noh’s third came from an Eddie Chang header, which he controlled and lifted over the advancing keeper.

Despite a spirited final 15 minutes, Cambodia never seriously troubled the Singaporean goal, and the visitors had the last laugh four minutes from the end. Fairoz Hasan showed three defenders a clean pair of heels and finished with style to seal an emphatic win.

Cambodia will lick their wounds with a training camp in Vietnam over the next month as they begin their preparations for the SEA Games in earnest, hoping they don’t encounter an equally rampant Singapore in the group matches in Laos in December.

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