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Cambodian team must improve: coach Vitorino

Ismail Vorajee / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
Cambodia's national football team coach Leonardo Vitorino. KT/Yeun Punlue

After suffering a defeat in their opening match at the 2017 Kuala Lumpur SEA Games, national football team coach Leonardo Vitorino bemoaned the lack of discipline in his young squad and said they must shape up if they are to reach the next round.

“At the heart of the game, I think we started not doing well and then we made a lot of mistakes. We lost a lot of control in the field. We also went in a bit under-strength,” said the Brazilian.

“I know my players are mostly young and as I’ve said before, some players are 17, 18, and they need time.”

The Philippines’ 2-0 victory was never in doubt as Cambodia struggled to turn chances into goals in an open first period.

The Philippines, meanwhile, turned up the tempo in the second period and broke the deadlock in the 51st minute when an unopposed Reymart Cubon headed home teammate Javier Augustine’s corner.

Kou Ichi then converted from a free-kick from just over 20 yards out with eight minutes of normal time remaining.

However, the action was not over as Cambodian substitute Choum Pisa saw red in the 88th minute after lashing out at Daniel Bernan during a goalmouth scramble.

Sok Samnang struck the woodwork with a late effort deep into stoppage time as Cambodia disappointed in their opening match.

Cambodia will attempt to rebound against Vietnam this evening in what is a must win tie for the young Koupreys. Vitorino’s men play Thailand on Sunday and Timor Leste and Indonesia next week.

Elsewhere in the group, Indonesia handed favourites Thailand a shock in their championship bid, holding the champions to a 1-1 draw in their opening tie, while Vietnam were irrepressible in a 4-0 win over Timor-Leste.

The football competition at the SEA Game’s kicked off early ahead of the official August 19 start of the Games.

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