Bat­tling Angkor War­riors edged by Jor­dan

The Phnom Penh Post - - FOOTBALL - HS Man­ju­nath

CAM­BO­DIA coura­geously stood up to a pow­er­ful Jor­dan side be­fore go­ing down 1-0 in their Group C sec­ond-leg clash at Oly mpic Sta­dium in the cam­paign for 2019 AFC Asian Cup qual­i­fi­ca­tion.

For all their dom­i­nance, Jor­dan could only take all three points on the weight of Mon­ther Abu Amara’s firsthalf goal as they did just enough to earn a win that sees them qual­ify for the con­ti­nen­tal show­piece with 11 points.

Viet­nam’s 0-0 draw with Afghanistan in Hanoi saw them also qual­ify, with nine points.

Star for­ward Chan Vathanaka came ag­o­nis­ingly close to an equaliser to leave in­terim coach Prak So­van­nara with some pride af­ter his gal­lant play­ers put that 7-0 first-leg thrash­ing in Amman be­hind them.

So­van­nara opted for a new-look start­ing line-up, hold­ing back both Vathanaka and Prak Mony Odom.

Min­istry of Na­tional De­fence mid­fielder Ch­hun Ch­hoeun found favour up front but the home side could hardly get the ball fur­ther up field than the cen­tre cir­cle as Jor­dan lay siege in the first 15 min­utes, of­ten crowd­ing the box.

Dur­ing this pe­riod of pres­sure, Jor­dan made sev­eral threat­en­ing moves but at least twice the wood­work came to Cam­bo­dia’s res­cue, while an agile Sou Yaty han­dled the mount­ing pres­sure well un­til his goal was fi­nally breached in the 17th minute.

With two Jor­da­nian play­ers muscling their way in on the right, a scat­tered Cam­bo­dian de­fence failed to track mid­fielder Amra, who ex­pertly fired home from the edge of the box.

The in­tel­li­gent Amra once again put Yaty to the test min­utes later as he and his team­mates piled on the pres­sure.

It was in this de­mand­ing phase that Vathanaka re­placed for­ward Ouk Sothy and with his first touch he earned a corner in Cam­bo­dia’s first foray deep into the Jor­dan half.

And the ver­sa­tile striker’s best chance came in the 39th minute when a left-foot free kick brought a full house to its feet, only for his ef­fort to be spec­tac­u­larly tipped over by ex­pe­ri­enced goal­keeper Amer Shafi.

Mony Odom came in as a sec­ond­half sub­sti­tute as Cam­bo­dia con­tin­ued to soak up Jor­da­nian pres­sure, with Yaty prov­ing hard to beat.

But luck came to Cam­bo­dia’s res­cue when a stun­ning long range ef­fort from Ra­jaei Ayed struck the un­der­side of the cross­bar only to bounce back into play five min­utes be­fore the end.

On re­flec­tion af­ter the fi­nal whis­tle, the thought of how close Cambo- dia came to a share of the spoils had Vathanaka not been de­nied would have crossed the minds of the home fans – hope­fully pleased their team had turned around a crush­ing rout in Amman with a bat­tling dis­play.

SRENG MENG SRUN

Cam­bo­dia’s Ouk Sothy throws him­self into a tackle against Jor­dan at Olympic Sta­dium last night.

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