The Angkor Warriors finally get a win in the AFF Suzuki Cup 2018 campaign after showing their superiority with a 3-1 result against Laos in the Phnom Penh Olympic Stadium.
Goals by Chan Vathanaka (18′), Prak Mony Udom (35′ P) and Keo Sokpheng (77′) proved Cambodia’s mastery over their rivals, cancelling out Somxhay Keohanam’s 76th minute effort.
Here are the talking points:
1. Cambodia finally show their true potential
It came too late in the tournament, but the Angkor Warriors finally pulled off a proud performance that can only bode well in future international matches and campaigns.
The hosts had been terrorising their opponents for most of the encounter and the statistics show. For 90 minutes, Cambodia bossed almost all aspects of the game from possession, attempts created and corners earned.
But the most telling figure of the night has been the passes completed by the Cambodians (645) compared to a relatively measly 127 for their counterparts that proved their aggression and positive approach.
2. Laos let the occasion get to them
The Laotian squad were caught back-pedalling for the most part. Whether it is due to the low morale or fatigue, it is evident that Laos could have done much better in all facets of the game.
A very low ball possession rate and only one attempt on target showed that Laos lacked the creativity and the initiative to take the game to their opponents.
It was as if the match has been decided even before the ball has been kicked
3. Sundramoorthy’s expulsion further exacerbated Laos’ misery
— FOX Sports LIVE! (@FSAsiaLive) November 20, 2018
An interesting trivia came out of Laos’ Singaporean head coach Sundramoorthy’s ejection in the match as the punishment was handed to him by referee and fellow Singaporean Nathan Chan.
Whatever prompted the official to banish the Singapore Lions legend from the sidelines, his ejection wrapped up a forgettable night for him and his players.
4. Chan Vathanaka continues to prove that he’s his teams guiding light
Definitely on of the Angkor Warriors’ biggest star at the moment, Chan Vathanaka provided the much needed spark and inspiration to create and score chances for his national team.
Providing the opening goal and being an ever-present threat for his squad from the right flank, Vathanaka’s positive approach up front had been infectious to the rest of his teammates resulting in a convincing result.
And being only 24 years of age, the sky is the limit for Vathanaka.
5. Cambodia wins, but crowd numbers drop
Cambodia’s opening day match against Malaysia ended in a 1-0 defeat to the home side at the Phnom Penh Olympic Stadium but fans flocked the venue in numbers to catch a glimpse of their favourite players. The official attendance figure for the match read 34,250.
However, when the team returned to the city for the game against Laos suffering another setback against Myanmar along the way, the fans looked not that enthusiastic as the numbers dropped drastically in the arena. But the ones who made it were fortunate enough to witness one of the better displays of Angkor Warriors in the recent times.