Cambodia are through the semi-final stage of the SEA Games for the very first time and the achievement made Felix Dalmas a very happy man.
No one gave Cambodia a ghost of a chance prior to the start of the tournament but the Angkor Warriors have earned many admirers after they beat Malaysia 3-1 to finish behind Myanmar in Group A and achieve a historic first ever semi-final apperance at the Southeast Asian Games.
A second half blitz cut open Malaysia with goals coming from In Sovidad, Sieng Chanthea and Keo Sokpheng while Quentin Cheng’s late reply proved to be of little consequence in the bigger scheme of things. But Cambodia narrowly missed out on the knockout boat and had Timor Leste’s late goal against Philippines to thank for their progression.
“I felt like throughout this tournament we did a lot of rotation which allowed our players to be fresh for this game. As the game went on, I felt that we had a little advantage in terms of the intensity of the game. In the first half we created a lot of chances but just didn’t put them in. But throughout the tournament, we have shown that we can create.
“Luckily for us, the goal open up and we got three. Even though our players were cramping, we managed to hold out. We believe that we could score that many goals. We always focus on growing from the last game. I thought we did an excellent job against Myanmar but football sometimes is unfair.
“Today (Wednesday) football was a little bit on our side. Malaysia are a great team with good players and great coach. So this win speaks volume about my players. They showed that they can play and I’m very happy for them,” said Dalmas in the post-match press conference.
Dalmas oversaw a splendid team performance against the more fancied Malaysian team in which his Cambodian side fought from start to finish. Despite a couple of chances given to the opponent, Cambodia generally did a great job in stopping Malaysia’s attack.
The head coach will now look at today’s final round of matches in Group B and see who his team will face in Friday’s semi-final. Vietnam, Indonesia and Thailand are all still in the running to progress from the other group, depending on the outcome of today’s matches.
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