It took National Defence Ministry all of 78 minutes to produce the only goal of the match that would effectively seal the fate of Kirivong Sok Sen Chey in their Metfone C-League tie at Olympic Stadium on Saturday.
Defender and captain Thong Oudom moved up from his heavy duty backline to perfectly head home off a corner kick and end the stalemate. Victory saw the Army men climb atop of the league standings as the only team to grab two wins from their first two games.
MND had to thank a vigilant Sou Yathy under the bar for the final outcome because it was his keen eyes and collection of a good header from Bryan Edem in the closing stages that kept their slender lead intact.
The first half was relatively incident free with both sides sharing space and possession and creating and missing an equal number of chances. There was little to choose between them in the early part of the second session as well.
A few incisive runs by Oladiji Olatunde and In Vichheka threatened the Army defence at times, but neither really tested Sou Yaty. For MND, Ke Vannak, Pheak Chandy and Chhin Chhoeun took turns to torment the Kirivong back four, but their finishing certainly fell short of their good approach work.
In the last ten minutes, Kirivong seem to throw everything at MND for that equaliser but they turned out to be nothing more than paper missiles as the Army defence took it on the chin to emerge with the points.
Police, Prek Pra shutout
Goals were again hard to come by in Saturday’s second game. Despite neither National Police Commissary nor Prek Pra Keila managing to find the net, they provided the paying public an entertaining outing.
The goalless outcome was clearly a frustrating experience for the Police, coming as it did on the top of their 2-1 upset victory against former champions Naga Corp the previous week.
Prek Pra came within fingertips of snatching what would have been a spectacular opener a minute before the interval, but Police keeper Hin Sarith tipped Sos Hanafi’s 40-yard drive over the bar.
There was clearly no lack of effort from both sides with some pleasing and pressing forays in an intense end-to-end battle. However, when it came to turning that promise into goals, they were more or less equally wayward.
Mat Hassan found Hin Sarith in the way when at least the crowd thought the Prek Pra hotshot had the goal in his sights. You Arafat was then boxed in when nicely placed right in front of the goal.
At the other end, two misfires from Ol Ravy added to several blanks his strike partners shot throughout.
Going strictly by the tempo of the contest, the teams deserved to share the spoils after all.