The Cambodian national side suffered another loss on the road in a 3-0 defeat at the hands of Afghanistan in Tehran on Thursday evening. The game had been moved to the Iranian capital due to the instability in war-torn Kabul and was reflected in the poor turnout at Takhti Stadium for the 2018 Russia World Cup qualification group game.
Cambodian coach Lee Tae Hoon had relegated Sou Yaty to the bench preferring to start with National Defense Ministry custodian Um Sereirath in goal. Souey Visal retained his spot in defense, with Chhin Choeun, Prak Mony Udom, Keo Sokpheng the preferred attacking option – Boeung Ket Angkor FC duo Khuon Laboravy and Chan Vathanaka settled for spaces on the substitutes bench. Phnom Penh Crown FC’s Thierry Chantha Bin captained his nation for the second consecutive game and was helped in his midfield duties my club teammate and fellow Franco-Khmer, Va Sokthorn.
Despite the lopsided scoreline, the game was a cagey affair as Cambodia attempted to suffocate the hosts of possession playing deep in their own half. Petar Segrt’s Afghan Lions were the aggressors going close early on through Mustafa Zazai and strike partner Noroallah Amiri. Cambodia held on for much of the first half before Zazai struck the game’s first in the 42nd minute. After Zazai’s opener, coach Tae Hoon immediately called upon the 35-goal C-League prodigy Chan Vathanaka in an attempt to increase the visitors attacking threat in front of goal.
The second half played out like much of the first had, with Cambodia playing deep and attempting quick counters when the Afghan’s fumbled possession, although this was less frequent an occurrence as the game wore on. With Tae Hoon replacing Bin Thierry with Hoy Phallin in the 77th minute, Amiri grasped his chance to put a second past Sereirath. A third goal for the Afghans came courtesy of Khaibur Amani in the 90th minute and capped a fine performance for the central Asian side.
For the Cambodians meanwhile, this latest defeat to Afghanistan is their sixth straight group stage defeat and the fifth occasion in which the Warriors have been unable to find a way past the opposition goalkeeper – a worrying statistic for Cambodian fans.