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Crown struggle as Bisan strikes

Ismail Vorajee / Khmer Times Share:
Jonny Campbell of Phnom Penh Crown goes up for the header. KT / Yeun Punlue

With the Metfone C-League entering matchweek four, Phnom Penh Crown and Visakha suffered their first defeats of the season in Saturday’s domestic league highlights.

Newly-promoted Visakha went down 2-0 to Asia Euro United at the Olympic Stadium, while at RSN Stadium, George Bisan struck a first-half winner against his old club to secure a Naga win over their bitter rivals.

Crown coach Luke Sainsbury benched Sunny Jane, Brak Thiva and In Sodavid, choosing instead to start with Englishman Jorrin John and Iranian import Pouya Hosseini, the latter of whom has failed to win over Crown fans. While Jorrin caused problems for the opposition defence with his lively runs down the wing, Hosseini looked off the pace and was ineffectual when called upon.This was best displayed midway throught the first-half as he should have scored from a far post chance on 25 minutes.

With Hosseini misfiring for the hosts, George Bisan, a league title winner with Phnom Penh Crown, fired through the legs of keeper Alex You to hand Naga the lead.

With Naga sitting back to defend their lead, Crown struggled to conjure any meaningful opportunities to equalise. The club, famed for their tradition of prolific attackers, have scored just three times in four league matches this season. On 69 minutes, Ouk Sovann was red-carded for a high challenge taking with him any hopes of his side getting something from the game.

“I thought we had more possession, better possession, and more chances throughout the game, explained coach Sainsbury in his post-match comments. “However, we were not able to create very good chances. The chances we did create, but we did not score. And NagaWorld, who had less possession, were able to score. That’s why they won the game. Overall, I’m disappointed with the result, but happy with most aspects of the performance.”

Jonny Campbell, the club’s central defender who – as Crown chased the game – made an appearance up front, said the team needed to do better.

“Unfortunate result last night against NagaWorld, he said in a social media post. “I thought our team played a decent match, but struggled in certain key areas. It’s time to prepare and come back stronger for our next league game against another tough opponent. I’m confident in the character of our team and our ability to bounce back with a positive performance.”

Meanwhile at the National Olympic Stadium, Privat Mbarga and Mat Hosan scored in a busy second period to end Visakha’s four-match unbeaten run. Coached by legend Hok Sochetra, Visakha are in their debut season in Cambodia’s top flight.

Saturday’s other fixture saw defending champions Boeung Ket avoid an embarrassing defeat to league newcomers Soltilo Angkor. Dzarma Bata scored early for Soltilo but were unable to hold on as BK defender Hong Pheng snatched a sensational 90th minute equaliser at the Olympic Stadium.

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