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Koupreys fall to Lions

Ismail Vorajee / Khmer Times Share:
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Keisuke Honda’s Cambodia are still without a win after suffering a 2-1 reverse to Singapore in their recent friendly at the Olympic Stadium.

The Singapore Lions went behind to the hosts on Tuesday evening after Ho Wai Loon turned in a 17th minute cross from left-back Seth Rosib.

After the break, Jacob Mahler, aged just 18, equalised in the 61st minute from close-range while Ikhsan Fandi completed the comeback win for the visitors.

The Kouprey’s attention now turns to next month’s 2018 AFF Suzuki Cup. Cambodia find themselves in Group A alongside Myanmar, Malaysia, Laos and Vietnam.

General Manager Honda is expected to be involved in Cambodia’s imminent campaign. Cambodia start their cup bid with a home game against Malaysia on November 8th in Phnom Penh.

In an attempt to boost popularity, this years’ competition will utilise a new format. The 10 qualified teams have been split in two groups of five and will play a round robin system with each team playing two home and two away fixtures. The format of the knockout round however remains unchanged, with semi-finals and the final played on a home and away format. The tournament’s climax is set for December 15.

Thailand are the competition’s most successful side having won the event five times, although Steve Darby, former coach of Thailand and Laos, told affsuzukicup.com that the Indonesians could be ones to watch.

“Any trip to the Bung Karno in Jakarta when the stadium is full is a daunting experience, said the Englishman. “We (Thailand) stayed in a hotel about 1 kilometre from the stadium but it took over an hour to get there! The fans are passionate and can be hostile.”

Coach Darby also said a trip to Cambodia and the conditions in Phnom Penh could prove a challenge for visitors.

“Going to Cambodia means playing on a plastic pitch, again with a huge crowd who are football crazy,” he explained.

Cambodia’s last bid for the Suzuki Cup in 2016, the team then led by South Korean coach Lee Tae-hoon, bowed out of at the group stage after a 2-1 loss to Vietnam in Naypyidaw, Myanmar. Their earlier defeats to Malaysia and Myanmar saw the side finish bottom of Group B.

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