The Cambodia men’s and women’s national football teams suffered heavy defeats on the same night in their respective May 14 group stage matches. The results from the weekend meant that not only did the Cambodian women’s team drop out of the competition very early with two defeats, but the men’s team will also be returning home early from the 31st SEA Games, with just one tick recorded in their win column.
Although men’s national team coach Ryu Hirose claimed before the match that his team would do their best to undo the bad luck that led to their 1-0 loss to Singapore, the match on Saturday night showed that Cambodia up the standard needed to match hot favourites Thailand, going down 5-0 and never really looking like they were in the match.
Just four minutes after the whistle, Thailand’s Chonnapat Buaphan was able to break through the Cambodian defence without much difficulty and find the back of the onion bag. His teammates Korrawit Tasa and Worachit Kanitsribampen added goals in the 31st and 41st minutes. Cambodia captain Sieng Chanthea, Narong Kakada and Chea Sok Meng also created good scoring chances in the first half, but were unable to convert them into points.
In the second half, Thailand created more chances and scored twice more – both by Patrik Gustavssons, in the 72nd and 88th minutes – while the Young War Elephants could have scored more, but for the sterling efforts of Cambodian goalkeeper Hul Kim Huy.
Min Ratanak, who was substituted and came on in the second half, should have taken one back for Cambodia when he stole the ball from a Thai player directly in front of the goal mouth, but the Preah Khan Reach Svay Rieng player crashed the ball into the post.
The results mean the U-23 side has already crashed out of the competition, despite still having one game to play against Malaysia at 4pm on May 16. The last match of the pool will come immediately after, when Thailand face Laos at 7pm. These matches will decide the first and second paces in Group B, with Thailand and Malaysia both assured of berths in the semi-finals.
The women’s national side was also disappointed with their results from this, their first appearance at the SEA Games. The young Cambodian team finished the group stage without scoring a single goal after going down 5-0 to the Philippines and going on to lose 7-0 to hosts Vietnam on May 14. This means Vietnam and the Philippines will now advance to the knockout stages.