Sokpheng Keo on a win over Laos, his AFF Suzuki Cup group-stage goal, and Cambodia’s final match

Cambodia recover from their two defeats in a row in the AFF Suzuki Cup Group A to secure their first victory as they defeated Laos 3-1 at the National Olympic Stadium last night.

The Kouprey Blues had a poor start to the 2018 AFF Suzuki Cup as they narrowly lost 0-1 to Malaysia at home in their Group A opener before they were thrashed 4-1 by Myanmar.

With three matches down and one to go, Cambodia’s semifinal hope is already over as they sit in the fourth place with four points behind Group A leaders Vietnam and second-placed Myanmar, while Malaysia occupy the third place with six points.

One of Cambodia’s three goals against Laos was scored by Sokpheng Keo as Vathanaka Chan opened the scoring to put Cambodia in front before Monyudom Prak doubled Cambodia’s lead through a penalty kick.

The Cambodia international forward bagged his first group-stage goal in the AFF Suzuki Cup after Vanna Bounlovongsa pulled one back for Laos to narrow Cambodia’s lead down to 2-1.

The Visakha forward explained that his goal came in in the important moment that could make the team feel safe after Cambodia extended a two-goal lead for the second time.

Despite failing to advance from Group A, Cambodia will play their final group-stage match against Vietnam on November 24th, with the 27-year-old born urging his side to work hard ahead of the clash with Vietnam.

Sokpheng Keo told TheMorning: “We played well. We controlled the possession, but there’s room for improvement. We need to try to fix the problems to improve our performance.

“I’m excited, and it’s normal to be happy when we win the games. We need to keep working hard to win the next game, and it’s a response to our critics so that they can stop criticizing us.

“Of course, I’m very excited to score. It’s an important goal for the team, and it made it safe for us. After we scored our third goal, it could boost our confidence and control the game well.

“It is also my first goal in the AFF Suzuki Cup group stage, but I have scored several goals in the international friendly matches for Cambodia.

“I really want to play in every game for the team, but the importance is to play and to be fit for ninety minutes.”

Photo courtesy of Football Federation of Cambodia