U-17 Side’s Hopes Fade After Indonesian Draw

Playing on a night’s rest, a tired Cambodian side could only manage a barren stalemate with the Indonesian under-17 football team Aug 21.

With only a point gained for the 0-0 tie, Cambodia’s chances of ad­vancement in the Asean Football Federation’s junior championship, which began Aug 19 at Olympic Stadium, grew dimmer still as Malaysia handed Brunei a 7-0 drubbing in Aug 21’s second match.

A crowd of about 20,000 supporters watched as Cambodia created numerous scoring chances, only to let them go begging. In the 7th minute, Cambodian captain Keo Sokngon had a close-range strike easily collected by Indonesian keeper Tri Windu Anggono. The 15-year-old struck the right post from only a meter away eight minutes later.

“We had a lot of chances,” Keo Sokngon said after the match. “I am upset…that we didn’t win.”

Cambodian manager Prak Sovannara told a post-match press conference that his team had played better in their second tournament appearance despite their fatigue. “Even though our players were tired, they tried very hard,” he said.

Cambodia’s match against Thai­land Aug 19 was postponed until Aug 20 due to heavy rains, requiring the host nation to play twice in 48 hours.

Booing erupted in the dying minutes when referee U Tien Shein failed to award Cambodia a penalty kick after an Indonesian player ap­peared to drag Cambodian substitute Phou Kimse, 15, to the ground inside the penalty area.

“If the referee had blown the whistle, we might have earned three points,” said Prak Sovannara.

Indonesia manager Vrias R praised the Cambodian defense. “Cam­bodia is a strong team,” he said. “Your defense is really good and well played.”

With Aug 21’s draw, Cambodia fell to fourth place in Group A, which also includes Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and Brunei. The group’s two top-placed teams will advance to the semifinals.

Football Federation of Cambodia Secretary-General Yean Chheang said advancement remained a mathematical possibility. “If we can beat Malaysia and Brunei, then we’ll have seven points.”

Cambodia face Brunei at 4 pm Aug 25.


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