Phnom Penh Crown continued their quest for the C-League title on Saturday with a gritty 1-0 victory over fellow challengers TriAsia at the Olympic Stadium.
Crown’s George Bisan grabbed the game’s only goal in the 18th minute, slotting the ball coolly under TriAsia’s advancing goalkeeper after a slick interchange with Hong Peng on the left wing to keep them top of the table.
The Nigerian was a handful for the Japanese-backed newcomers all game, their center backs unable to cope with the center forward’s pace and power and his link-up play with Kouch Sokumpheak.
Crown dominated the first 45 minutes and could have been more than one up.
A stunning run from Kok Boris, beginning in his own half, would have resulted in a goal if not for some last-gasp defending from TriAsia as he was about to shoot.
TriAsia struggled to get any grip over the game, resorting to speculative long balls—only coming close through a Touch Dani free-kick just before the break.
In a less one-sided second half, TriAsia pushed forward but rarely penetrated the Crown defensive wall led by a faultless Tony Obadin.
Sok Chanrasmey had TriAsia’s best effort in the game in the 70th minute, quickly cutting in from the right-wing and curling a left footed shot just wide of right post.
Neither side kept hold of possession well. Despite often looking dangerous on the counter attack, Crown missed the composure and distribution of their talismanic central midfielder Thierry Chantha Bin, who has been sidelined for a month with a broken bone in his foot.
The only period of the game where Crown looked pressured was the last ten minutes, after South Korean Jeongho Kim was sent off for a second bookable offense—a simulation dive—after only being on the pitch for five minutes.
However, Crown still came closest to a second goal in the final minutes, with Bisan seeing a looped header drop onto the crossbar.
“Like we expected it was a very close encounter, we knew what to expect but I was really happy with the performance,” Crown’s head coach Sam Schweingruber said.
Speaking of Bisan’s match-winning performance he said: “He’s playing really well. There’s definitely room for improvement in certain areas of his game, he needs to work on having more composure on the ball but he’s scored a lot of goals in the past couple of seasons in Cambodia and he’s miles ahead of many other players—he has unbelievable power.”
Despite being top of the table, Schweingruber said the claim that the C-League is Crown’s to throw away is premature.
“It’s too early to say. It’s going to be interesting to see what transfers are made mid-season when teams try to bring more depth to their squads,” he said.
Elsewhere, Naga Corp stayed hot on the heels of Crown with a 2-1 victory over Police Commissary and Boeung Ket Rubber Field grabbed a late winner in their 3-2 victory over Asia Europe University at the Army Stadium. In the earlier kick-off at the Olympic Stadium, Build Bright United beat National Defense 1-0. Svay Rieng won 4-1 against Kirivong on Sunday.
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