Crown Prevail Over National Police Despite Late Onslaught

Phnom Penh Crown came out on top in a close encounter against recent Hun Sen Cup champions National Police at Olympic Stadium on Saturday to stay top of the C-league.

Crown’s Nigerian center forward George Bisan continued in excellent form, scoring the game’s only goal and looking threatening from the start.

National Police goalkeeper Yoshida Yasuyuki saves a shot in the first half of the team's match with Phnom Penh Crown at Phnom Penh's Olympic Stadium on Saturday. (Alex Consiglio/The Cambodia Daily)
National Police goalkeeper Yoshida Yasuyuki saves a shot in the first half of the team’s match with Phnom Penh Crown at Phnom Penh’s Olympic Stadium on Saturday. (Alex Consiglio/The Cambodia Daily)

He almost opened his scoring at 22 minutes in spectacular fashion, stroking a 30-yard shot with the inside of his right boot onto the crossbar.

Although Crown dominated large swathes of the first half, the National Police-backed club was almost up at the break, with Sou Yaty looking vulnerable between the Crown posts.

At the half hour mark, Yaty completely miskicked a passback on the notoriously unpredictable Olympic Stadium surface, only to see the ball trickle just wide of his right-hand post.

Ol Ravy almost put Police ahead again just before the break, taking the ball around the Crown keeper, only to have his shot blocked through valiant defending from Tony Obadin.

The second half began comfortably for Crown, which was attacking with pace and fluidity. Kouch Sokumpheak constantly threatened to open up the Police defense with the creativity and foresight that fans have come to expect from him. Unsur­prisingly, the Crown captain played a pivotal part in the game’s only goal in the 55th minute.

Dropping a little deeper, Sokumpheak showed strength to win control of the ball inside the Police half, effortlessly glided past two players before laying the ball to Bisan, who drove a low bullet into the Police net from the edge of the box.

National Police, who last month won the Hun Sen Cup—a domestic tournament in which only Cambodian players can feature—were woeful for the majority of the second half, creating little on offense and leaving huge amounts of room behind the back four for the Crown strikers to attack.

The final minutes were more balanced, with Crown lucky to avoid a draw thanks to Yaty’s redeeming himself, pulling off an acrobatic save from an Oseika Samuel header to secure the victory for the league leaders.

“We were far superior to them today,” said Crown head coach Sam Schweingruber after the game. “I’m a bit disappointed with how often we give away the responsibility of pulling the trigger and try to score—it keeps being a topic in training. The goal was a good example of what we need to be doing—having that killer instinct.”

Elsewhere, a second half goal from Korean midfielder Jang In Yong gave NagaCorp a vital 1-0 victory over reigning champions Svay Rieng at the Army Stadium to remain on points with Crown while university-backed Build Bright United defeated Kirivong 1-0 from a Cham Chaya header during the earlier kick off at Olympic Stadium.

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