Cambodia left it late as a Sieng Chanthea and Kouch Sokumpheak gave the Angkor Warriors a 2-0 win and the upper hand after the first leg of their FIFA Qatar 2022 World Cup & AFC First Round qualification opener at Phnom Penh’s Olympic Stadium here yesterday.
With the rain lashing down on the artificial pitch, the first opening in the match came in the sixth minute for the visitors but MD Adnan Yaqoob struggled to hit the ball cleanly as his strike went wide of the post.
Moments later, Keo Sokpheng drew a fine fingertip save from the Pakistani keeper as he fired a brilliant curling effort from outside the box. But Yousuf Butt was able to get a strong hand to tip the ball over the bar.
With 11 minutes gone, Pakistan’s Hassan Bashir found himself wide open in the box but with the goal at his mercy missed the free header and the chance to put Pakistan ahead.
With six minutes of the first half remaining, Pakistan were almost gifted a goal as a shot from distance from dangerman Adnan Yaqoob is spilled by Keo Soksela in the Cambodian goal. But the young keeper quickly recovered – and saved his blushes – to gratefully scoop up the ball to safety.
The Keisuke Honda-led hosts make no changes at half-time reappearing for the second period with the same eleven that began the match.
A great chance for Cambodia fell ten minutes into the restart as Sokumpheak superbly delivered his header into the path of Prak Mony Udom who squareed the ball inside the box for Sos Suhana. But the ball fell just too far ahead for the advancing midfielder as Pakistan gratefully clear the danger.
After 81 minutes played, Cambodia finally broke the deadlock as substitute Chanthea capitalised on a failed clearance by the Pakistani defender to drill the ball into the back of the net from close range.
Just two minutes later, in the 83rd, Pakistan were left reeling as the irrepressible midfield general Sokumpheak, just outside the centre circle, broke away from the tracking Pakistan defenders to slot the ball beyond the visiting keeper.
A stunning victory for Cambodia leaves them with what could be an all-important lead ahead of game two in the Qatari capital next Tuesday.