Cambodian fans hearts broken through wasted opportunities

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Singapore U23's Saifullah Akbar (left) headed to score winning goal during their match against Cambodia U23 at the ongoing SEA Games on May 11. CAMSOC

The Cambodian men’s U23 national football team paid the price for wasting too many chances in front of the goal in their second Group B match at the Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) on May 11, going down 1-0 to Singapore.

As the match began at Thien Truong Stadium in Nam Dinh province, the Cambodians tried to put immediate pressure on their opponents and force an early goal, the recipe for success which gave them their victory over Laos in their opening match.

The Young Kouprey, who made many changes to their starting line-up, could not transfer their possession advantage at the beginning of the first half into a scoring opportunity.

Sieng Chanthea, 19, almost found a fine goal, dribbling the ball from the mid-field to the in-goal area, before gifting Singaporean keeper Zaiful Nizam an easy save in the 24th minute.

Finally, it was the Young Lions – who desperately needed to win to keep their hopes of advancing to the knockout stages alive – who took the lead when Saifullah Akbar headed home in the 36th minute after a fine pass from the right wing.

Winger Nhean Sosidan almost launched a Cambodian fight-back two minutes later, but his shot ricocheted off the post, as Singapore kept their rivals at bay to finish the first half with a 1-0 lead.

The Cambodians struggled to find the equaliser in the second half, and were unlucky as both Chuon Chanchav’s header in the 59th minute and a shot by Mao Piseth in the 87th found the posts.

A desperate Singapore side did everything they could to maintain their lead, holding off the Cambodians to record their first win in Group B and take four points from three matches. Cambodia has three points from two matches, but face hot favourites Thailand in their next match on May 14.