FH: Tampine Rovers 2-1 Phnom Penh Crown
Singapore was the venue for one of the greatest nights in AFC history for a Cambodian team.
The game started with the home team dominating the ball and Crown struggling to keep up. Their dominance was rewarded when they took lead after just 10 minutes when Kopitovic finished off a fine team move. Crown were unable to get going and when Tampine Rovers doubled the lead on 26 minutes everyone was fearing the worst.
Step forward Yudi. Just three weeks ago I was praising this man’s ability to keep things calm and not panic when things are going wrong. Everytime Crown are in trouble he becomes their focal point. Everyone gives him the ball, he controls the tempo and he gets Crown back into rhythm.
As half time approached Yudi skipped a challenge and broke into the final third and unleashed a strike into the top corner. It was the perfect medicine before half time and gave Crown restored belief going into the break.
SH: Tampine Rovers 2-3 Phnom Penh Crown
The second half kicked off and Crown came Tampine like nothing we’ve ever seen. Every touch was met with a Crown player on them and it the red army moving the ball quickly and with purpose. Neito was a man possessed and five minutes into the second half hours deflected strike flew into the top corner of the net to send the Crown bench into raptures. The coaching staff had barely sat down before when Neito pounced on a bad touch, twisted and turned and back heeled to Shintaro who finished with his left foot into an empty net. It was the most incredible turn around. Crown spent the next 30 minutes defending with their lives as Tampine came at them but they held on and will now enter the group stages of this competition.
What Did We Learn?
Locally we know the power of Crown but traditionally Cambodian teams in the continental competitions don’t give good accounts of themselves. That’s been changing and this is a landmark victory for the club and us as a football nation. Yudi is becoming the most important player in the league.
This article is adapted from BPVE, (https://bpve.com/) reported and edited from the great team – Cambodia Sports Review. (https://www.cambodiasportsreview.com/)
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