Getting Our Feet Wet
I start this post with some International News on how Cambodia fared in the South East Asian Championships.
Cambodia were slightly unlucky to miss out on qualification for the knockout stages of the tournament after finishing in third place. They managed to beat Laos and Brunei 1-0, but lost out to the same score against Myanmar and Singapore, who qualified from the group. Unfortunately for my sole representative in the Cambodian national side, Sok Chanraksmey he failed to get on the pitch and warmed the bench for the entire campaign. Never mind at least he will be nice and fresh for ours.
Match 7 – EDC v Svay Rieng 1st May 2021
First of all nobody gives us a cat in hell’s chance, but it was nice to be described as a ‘Talented manager!’
On paper Svay Rieng have a better team than us, but they are in 7th, while we are having nosebleeds in 2nd. We have had some easier fixtures of late and Svay Rieng’s visit is our biggest test since the opening day against Vishaka. They are packed with quality, including the Brazilian Pinheiro pulling the strings in midfield and American Jonathan Campbell, who is probably the best left back in the league. But, never say never, we are a better team this season, on the whole better organised in defence (famous last words) and more potent in attack. This is no gimme though, but if we are to compete with the bigger teams in the league then we should be trying to get a positive result here. Sok Chanraksmey is back from international duty and will start. Sedsody comes in for Sung Rot in midfield.
Team: 4-2-3-1 Um Channou, Channerouen, Daravon, Khemarin, Ratana, Raksa, Sedsody, O.Udom, Fasal, Veasna, Chanraksmey
EDC 0-2 Svay Rieng
For most of the game we did OK, held our opposition and even created a little bit ourselves. Then we needlessly gave the ball away Sopheakta broke down the left and squared it to Pinheiro who hit an unstoppable shot low into the corner of the net – 0-1
We then had a decent spell, with Chanraksmey and Udom both going close. From a quickly taken free kick, Sopheaktra caught our defence napping to volley home for 2-0. Game over. We had 68% possession, but they were the more streetwise of the two teams and their finishing was clinical when it mattered. That was about the difference between the two sides. No shame in this defeat.
Match 8- EDC v Beoung Ket Angkhor FC – 8th May 2021
Not sure about this one. They may be 9th in the table and we may be 3rd, but they have too much quality in their ranks to be that low in the table. A South African on the wing, a Brazilian upfont and god knows what else. I line up in a 4-2-3-1 formation, with Sophina coming in for the suspended Daravon at the heart of the defence and Sung Rot is preferred to Ouch Udom in midfield.
Team: 4-2-3-1 Channou, Channeroun, Sophina, Daravon, Ratana, Raksa, Sedsody, Saray, Sung Rot, Veasna, Chanraksmey
EDC 3-2 Beoung Ket Angkhor FC
O.Udom 60, Paiva 14,21
Absolutely buzzing! We were 2-0 down at half time with them looking like they could score with every attack, to putting on a superb second half performance of which we were brilliant in every department.
The first goal was a really annoying. Fasal could have started a counter attack but his lazy ball was intercepted, the ball was bunted forward to the Brazilian Paiva who spun past Sophana and drilled it into the bottom corner.
Then after a flowing move, Ivanoldo crossed from the right, Paiva nutted the ball home for 2-0. After a dressing down at half time we started the second half, but they could have been 3-0 up easily. Then, against the run of play and out of nowhere Ouch Udom received the ball and ran past the defender before slotting home, 2-1. Two minutes later Fasal’s corner was met by the head of Tum Saray with a thunderous header 2-2. It was end to end stuff as both sides went for it.
The winning goal came when Fasal played a beautiful instant low cross and Keo Udom poked past the onrushing keeper 3-2. What a comeback from EDC, electrifying stuff! Well done boys!
After 20 Games at EDC. Here’s the analysis of my performance so far. I needed to bring in new faces, otherwise we would have been struggling. Keo Udom has been fantastic with his dribbling and finishing and currently has 9 league and cup goals this season. The other signings have done Ok, but I need to get more out of Sung Rot and Chouem Channeroun, the right back.
Game 9 Kampong Chhnang v EDC (Prime Minister’s Cup (Second Qualifying Round)11/05/21
While we were huddled around the wireless for the Second Round Qualifying Round draw there was a few knowing looks from my players and staff when the draw pitted us against Second Division outfit, Kampong Chhnang away.
'Might need your wellies for this one boss,' piped up Suon Veasna.
'More like a pair of flippers,' joked Keo Udom.
'Water and electricity don't mix boys' laughed Tum Saray.
When I enquired about this, it became apparent that Kampong Chhnang, a place just north of Phnom Penh, was also home to a floating village, which is one of the biggest tourist attractions in Cambodia.
Picture Credit: Gonzo Gooner wikipedia creative commons
Now back home in the FA Cup I'd known of cup ties played at grounds with a slope, or a plastic pitch, or freezing cold dressing rooms, but in the middle of a floating village? This beat the lot! I envisaged us having to access the ground by boat!
We are in cup action against 2nd Division opposition, Kampong Chhnang. I’ve rung the changes in light of our heroics in the last game and an important League game against National Police at the weekend, who are top of the table. I fancy a cup run this year and the Prime Minister's Cup is our best chance of silverware. I have faith in my second XI and kids to come up trumps in this one and enable us to qualify for the first round proper.
Team: 4-4-2 Kong Rafat, Theara, Makara, Nara, Sophahon, Punlock, Suhana, Rakasmey, Mol, Rotha, Chanraksmey
Kampong Chhnang 2-3 EDC
Ouch Tony 62,88 //// Nara 2, Chanraksmey 10, Rotha 53
What the players didn’t tell me was that the floating village was only one small part of Kampong Chnnang by the river Tonle Sap, which flows into a huge lake in Central Cambodia. There was a much larger city of Kampng Chnnang a couple of miles to the west, which is where the football stadium was and firmly on solid ground. In the end I didn’t need the wellies I had packed just in case, much to the amusenent of the players and coaching staff. This cup tie though nearly turned out to be a very slippery banana skin, which in the end we were lucky to come out with a win.
Things started well for us when Suhana’s free kick found Moun Nara in the box who half volleyed home- 1-0 EDC. Then the dangerous Suhana was upended in the box, Chanraksmy did the rest 2-0. Suhana then found young Rakasmey whose clever first time ball found Rotha who placed a lovely shot into the corner 3-0. Then it was the Ouch Tony show… Who? Well after half time he emerged from nowhere and decided to do his best Lionel Messi impressions. Every time this kid touched the ball he looked like scoring. We are not sure where he’d been for the first hour of the game but this guy knew how to make an impact. He frightened the living daylights out of us whenever he got the ball, which was often presented to him on a plate by our players. He ran through from his own half for the first goal, then rounded off a team breakaway goal for his second and then went close twice on top of that. Things could have got very messy indeed had he converted those chances. Ouch Tony almost made it a painful exit from The Prime Minister’s Cup for EDC. His pace is a 6-12 and Acceleration 10-15, but should be 20. Thankfully he didn’t and we held on. Into the 1st Round Proper of The Prime Minister’s Cup we go!
Next Time: A top of the table clash against The National Police, but can EDC steal top spot in the C-League from them?
Read the next part, 'It's A Steal'