KENYA BROWN - Wednesday, February 12, 2020
Jonny Campbell and Preah Kahn Reach Svay Rieng FC opened their AFC Cup campaign on Tuesday night with a tough loss to Ceres of the Philippines with some controversial officiating.

Ceres 4-0 Svay Rieng

Svay Rieng kicked off their AFC Cup campaign with a trip to the Philippines to take on champions Ceres FC, however, they would be humbled in the end as the host came away with the win at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.

After coming off a stellar 2019 in which Svay Rieng won Cambodia's C-League title and came close to finishing the season unbeaten, they were looking to pick up where they left off by heading into their first Group G game in Asia's second biggest competition. They faced a huge challenge against Southeast Asia's best team, but they were certainly not going to back down.

Ceres opened the scoring in the 12th minute through Takashi Odawara as he received a pass from teammate Jose Porteria before slotting his shot into the goal from just inside the area.

The visitors found themselves in a bigger hole two minutes later, but under controversial circumstances as Joshua Grommen got on the score sheet after putting Stephan Schrock's cross from the right side in the back of the net. But replays would show later that the defender handled the ball as it went into the goal similar to Diego Maradona's "Hand of God" moment at the 1986 World Cup.

The referee nor the linesman made the call, so the goal stood.

Svay Rieng were down, but then found themselves with a good chance to cut the deficit after 20 minutes when the referee awarded them a penalty following an infraction from Gommen. The team's new signing, Thiago Dos Santos, stepped up to take the spot-kick, but his attempt was saved by Roland Muller, maintaining Ceres' momentum as they headed to the dressing room at halftime.

The host continued to roll in the second half as they scored their third in the 55th minute through Bienvenido Maranon. Manny Ott dribbled the ball into the area before laying it off to the Spaniard to slam home.

Maranon added his second on the night in the 70th minute as he tucked his shot past Svay Rieng goalkeeper Aim Sovannarath.

It was tough night for Campbell and Svay Rieng, but they will have to quickly forget about this game as the league season kicks off in Cambodia this weekend.

Svay Rieng's next AFC Cup game will come on February 25 when they take on Indonesia's Bali United at home.