Phnom Penh Crown Football Club fulfilled their own high expectations after the team – who are mourning the death of club president Rithy Samnang – showed their unity to beat Visakha 2-1 and become champions of the 2022 Cambodian League Cup on May 28.
Ahead of their victory at the Smart ASN Stadium, there were doubts sown in Crown’s minds, after new Visakha coach Meas Channa expressed his determination to beat the Red Singha and bring the cup back to his club, but the party did not happen for the well-off team.
During the tense final, striker Prak Thiva assuaged Crown fan’s fears when he scored from outside of the goal area to open a 1-0 lead in the 50th minute, only for Visakha defender Khan Mohammed Faeez to equalise seven minutes from time.
However, Japanese midfielder Yudai Ogawa, who has just returned to Crown after recovering from Hernia Inguinal surgery, scored from outside the box in the 87th minute to restore their lead and help Crown to become champions.
Crown families and fans celebrated the victory in style, taking a photo of the recently deceased club owner onto the pitch with a message printed across it: “This victory is for you boss, which means this trophy is for you.”
Post victory, Sok Sida, the mother of late owner Samnang, said: “Thank you to all the fans, players and coaches who have worked so hard to capture this glittering prize. I know that my son would be so proud of all of you.”
Crown general manager Keo Sokngon held the trophy and a photo of Samnang aloft and later took to social media paying tribute to his boss.
“At any time, whether before a match or at the end of a game, the boss always encouraged me to manage the team well and let them play their natural game,” he wrote.
“All the boys will try their best. We miss the voice of club president Rithy Samnang. This victory is for the boss and Phnom Penh Crown. We are together, one heart, one team, one family,” added the former Cambodian national player.