Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Cambodia League Impressions
In the just finished Indonesia Super League, thanks to nonsense scheduling and last minute movement of games to other parts of the country as well as inaccessible stadiums I managed to attend the grand total of seven games. In one long weekend in Phnom Penh I managed to see five games and catch all 10 teams in the CLeague in action.
21 goals in five games ain’t a bad weekend is it? Trouble is with all them new names and so many goals in what was essentially a 48 hour period means much of it has become a blur!
The best game was Ministry National Defence against Preak Khan Reach. End to end stuff and even though MND won 3-1 PKR were never totally outclassed. Naga Corp also put in a good shift, especially in the opening half hour, against a woeful Phnom Penh Crown. The Police getting a last minute winner against plucky Kirivong crowned another exciting game.
Exciting is a relative term. The standard was pretty low across the board. Players, match officials, playing surfaces. But despite the best efforts of some pretty incompetent match officials the games on the whole were played in a pretty good spirit.
For me the highlight was Prek Pra Keila. Roared on by the most fanatical supporters of any of the teams I witnessed, they followed last week’s 3-2 victory against Naga Corp with a similar result against Chhlam Samuth taking them clear of the drop zone. Watching them, and their fans, it was reminiscent of an FA Cup giant killing though a bit warmer.
It was of course very difficult over such a short period of time to single out any individual players. The PPK keeper stood out ‘cos he was so bloody tiny and his attempts to have his hair stand on end to make himself look bigger was hilarious. But the save he made second half essentially won the game for his team. Also the number 19 for MND looked pacy and dangerous. Among the foreign players mostly they were slow and not exactly grafters with the possible exception of the Naga Corp striker.
The CLeague is now at the halfway stage. MND had moved to the top of the table after their win, leapfrogging Phnom Penh Crown. Naga Corp’s win against PPC has put the cat among the pigeons now and we could be looking at a three horse race over the second half of the season which should make things exciting. Especially as this year sees the team that finishes top of the table being crowned as champions unlike last year when a play off decided PPC would be champions.