Crown Breeze Past Kirivong in Semi-Final First-Leg


Phnom Penh Crown have all but secured their place in the League Cup final after an easy, but extremely entraining 3-0 victory against Kirivong Sok Sen Chey yesterday.

The match, which was held at the Kirivong Stadium in Takeo was standing room only with locals fans, as well as a large media contingent packing the stands for this first leg tie.

Kirivong Sok Sen Chey 0 Phnom Penh Crown 1

Despite finishing last in the CPL last season there has been somewhat of a resurgence at Kirivong, no doubt bolstered by the news they will most likely be playing top-flight football next year.

The home team indeed came out fighting and while Crown were nominally the better team Kirivong could have taken the lead more than once through African star Yannick.

You can read our interview with Yannick here.

Seemingly frustrated Crown decided to bring on marquee striker Nieto in the 38th minute, which seemed to have an immediate affect as Ukrainian Veleriy put the ball into the back of the net, second before Nieto got into the pitch.

Kirivong Sok Sen Chey 0 Phnom Penh Crown 3

While Kirivong had put up a brave fight in the first-half, it was Crown who came out swinging in the second-half, missing chance after chance trying to end the tie.

In the end it was a 20 minute masterclass from Nieto that broke Kirivong, with him nearly scoring three times in 10 minutes before sinking home a sublime goal in the 79th minute.

The game was ended up in the 86 minute when Pisa sunk in a header to leave the game at 3-0.

Crown though continued to push for a 4th as they brought on a number of younger players, but Kirivong were able to hold out long enough to give at least a sliver of hope going into the second leg.

To read our interview with Nieto click here.

After match reaction

Speaking to BPVE after the match Crown coach Oleg Starinyskyi stated “This is never an easy ground to come and get a result, so overall we are pleased with how we played. Kirivong were strong defensively, but I feel we could have scored more goals”.

And as for the final? “Of course we are confident to go through, but you never know in football and we still need to get a result at home”.

He was though unhappy with the yellow card situation housed they reach the final , stating “Yellow cards are part of football. I don’t understand why they are being carried from the group into the semi-finals.

Kirivong for their part, while disappointed were also pleased with how far the club had come with star striker Yannick telling BPVE “We are obviously sad to lose, but at the start of the competition who would have predicted us making the semi-finals over clubs like Svay Rieng, For this we are proud”.

And the mid-day heat?

Once again it was blistering day which required the players constantly stopping for water breaks, again throwing into question the huge elephant in the room about when the CPL will prioritize all clubs having floodlights.

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