Asian Qualifiers: Cambodia 2-0 Pakistan
Phnom Penh: Cambodia left it late as a Sieng Chanthea and Kouch Sokumpheak gave the Angkor Warriors a 2-0 win and the upper hand after the first leg of their FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup 2023 Preliminary Joint Qualification at Phnom Penh’s Olympic Stadium on Thursday.
With the rain lashing down on the artificial pitch at Phnom Penh’s National Olympic Stadium, the first opening of the match came in the sixth minute for the visitors but MD Adnan Yaqoob struggled to hit the ball cleanly as his strike went wide of the post.
Moments later, Keo Sokpheng drew a fine fingertip save from the Pakistani keeper as he fired a brilliant curling effort from outside the box. But Yousuf Butt was able to get a strong hand to tip the ball over the bar.
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With 11 minutes gone, Pakistan's Hassan Bashir found himself wide open in the box but with the goal at his mercy, he missed the free header and the chance to put Pakistan ahead.
The rain continued to make play difficult for both sides with the ball spending lots of time out of play.
With six minutes of the first half remaining, Pakistan were almost gifted a goal as a shot from distance from dangerman Adnan Yaqoob was spilled by Keo Soksela in the Cambodian goal. But the young keeper quickly recovered – and saved his blushes – to gratefully scoop up the ball to safety.
The second half began with the rain still coming down heavily and players resorted to toweling the ball dry when out of play.
The Keisuke Honda-led hosts make no changes at half-time, reappearing for the second period with the same 11 that began the match
A great chance for Cambodia fell 10 minutes into the restart as Sokumpheak superbly delivered his header into the path of Prak Mony Udom who squared the ball inside the box for Sos Suhana. But the ball fell just too far ahead for the advancing midfielder as Pakistan gratefully clear the danger.
Pakistan then threw men forward in an attempt to get a stranglehold on the game and were soon rewarded for their efforts. On the hour, an Adnan Yaqoob cross into the box found its way to Samir Nabi whose shot on goal was beaten away by a brave Soksela.
After 81 minutes played, Cambodia finally broke the deadlock as substitute Chanthea capitalised on a failed clearance by the Pakistani defender to drill the ball into the back of the net from close range.
Just two minutes later, in the 83rd, Pakistan were left reeling as the irrepressible midfield general Sokumpheak, just outside the centre circle, broke away from the tracking Pakistan defenders to slot the ball beyond the visiting keeper.
Photos: Football Federation of Cambodia
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