CLC FINAL: PPC  1-1 Naga (PENS: 3-2)

Phnom Penh Crown were crowned CLC Champions but were taken all the way by old rivals Nagaworld.

First Half: PPC 1-0 Naga

A wet night in Phnom Penh in front of a packed stadium and a mouth watering cup final ahead of us. The game started as expected with Crown doing most of the asking with Naga refusing to show them any answers.

On a slippery surface Crown were able to zip the ball around with ease but that Naga discipline never allowed themselves to get dragged into anything silly. A few half chances came and went and then on 33 minutes it was Shintaro rising in the Naga box to head home a pin point cross from the left. Marcio & Christian were in the mood and looked like they could score every time they went forward on the break. A few tight offside calls could’ve gone either way but going in at half time Naga would need more than breakaways in the second half of they were to make a game of it.

Second Half: PPC 1-1 Naga

As the second half kicked off, the rain had stopped and we were greeted with a beautiful Cambodian evening. Naga had also stopped working for invitations and were now ready to take the game to Crown. On 55 minutes they were rewarded for their efforts when Marcio picked up the ball and was allowed too much time to run at the PPC defense and when he shifted the ball to his right, he smashed home from 20 yards. The goal was met with a thunderous roar getting the crowd with every Naga player involved in the celebration.

In the latter stages both teams had half chances to win it with the best of them falling to substitute Neito on 80 minutes. Much was made as to why he didn’t start but after coming on he was the main threat going forward for Crown.

AET: PPC 1-1 Naga (Pens: 3-2)

Extra Time was a predictively cagey affair with neither side able to break the deadlock. A flashpoint moment on 119 minutes when Crown were awarded a corner when Naga coach Borey clearly felt time was up. His complaints were met with a yellow card and thankfully the resulting corner came to nothing.

Onto the penalties and Crown were up first and missed, Yaty making a great save to his right. Naga converted their first and Crown in reply scored through Yudi to make it 1-1. Naga captain Sokhumpheak saw his penalty saved and then Ukrainian wide man Valerii scored before once again Naga missing. Three each, 2-1 Crown and it was Neito next. The Brazilian is widely regarded as one of the best in the country and his little dink was almost perfect until it wasn’t. These moments are pivotal in games like this and when Naga equalized the pressure was all on Pisoth. The young player of the year and new national hero smashed a perfect penalty home. Every penalty shootout needs a villain and perhaps it didn’t deserve to be Marcio but tonight it was. His penalty crashed off the inside of the post and away to give Crown the first trophy of 2023.

What Did We Learn?

Crown, even on an unusually quiet night, can get the job done. That doesn’t bode well for the rest of the clubs in Cambodia.

For Nagaworld this was further evidence that they’re going to be a force this season. With the right recruitment over the coming weeks there is no reason they cannot bring home a trophy this season.

A Final Word On The League Cup

It’s been a long drawn out road to get here during a ridiculously long domestic break. The overall opinion of most fans and those within the game is that once again CPL have raised the level and the clubs involved are getting better and better all the time. What cannot be ignored is the IRS all being done against a backdrop of six clubs going out of business, no sign of a women’s league or youth leagues and CL2 completely up in the air. What’s happening is the thing we all fear in football, the big and rich clubs get bigger and richer whilst the rest underneath are ignored and forgotten. Football will become very boring if we’re left with the same four competing for honors all the time.

This article is adapted from BPVE, ( reported and edited from the great team – Cambodia Sports Review. (
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