It was one of those days when the full might of the Ministry of National Defence descended on Naga Corp, handing out the two-time champions and league leaders going into the match a 2-1 defeat in their Metfone C-League tie at the Olympic Stadium yesterday.
After surviving a penalty scare, Naga managed to hold Asia Europe University safe 1-1 last week in what the camp insiders had described as a disappointing show.
But if the 2013 Hun Sen Cup winners were looking for a turn around, it clearly was not to be as they fell behind by two goals within an hour.
An ominously impressive free kick nearly 25 yards out from Pum Tola in the 32nd minute signaled the start of the Armymen’s flag march. A fast break in through the Naga backline by Phoung Soksana ended in MND’s second goal.
Fighting with their backs to the wall, Naga’s desperate search for a way back in to the game would only take them as far as that 86th minute consolation goal from the team’s Japanese Fukusawa Masahiro.
Svay Rieng hit five past Western
After being stonewalled by Western University for the entire first half, defending champions Svay Rieng cut loose in the second at the Old Stadium on Saturday, pumping five goals without reply to complete a 5-0 win that would most certainly do their self esteem a world of good.
If Western changed ends hoping to keep their castle safe for another half, they were in for a rude shock within moments.
Nop Tola opened up the scoring for Svay Rieng a minute into the second half and was back in the 70th minute to complete his second strike. Svay Rieng’s foreign signing Dzarma Bata provided the meat for the Tola sandwich with a 62nd minute goal as the trigger for his own grand treble 14 minutes later that followed with two quick fire goals within a minute of each other.
While the victory gave Svay Rieng the much vaunted breathing space ahead of a long campaign after somewhat spotty form, the defeat kept Western glued to the darker end of the table.
The 2013 runners-up Boeung Ket Rubber Field chose not to stretch themselves much once they took firm control of the proceedings against bottom enders Albirex Niigata.
The goal that Boeung Ket kept promising in the early stages took nearly 35 minutes to materialise through Chukwuma Ohuruogu.
By the midpoint of the second half, Boeung Ket had doubled the lead when Keo Sokpheng was bang on target. With Albirex holding out no real threats, the Kampong Cham-based team could afford the luxury of going easy on the tempo, though this may have ultimately ruined their chances of keeping a clean sheet.
Two minutes into added time, Mat Hasan pulled one back for Albirex to make the scoreline read more respectably for a side that has lost eleven games out of twelve so far.
Police romp, BBU win
Midfielder Noun Borey, who came on as a substitute just past the hour mark, galvanised National Police Commissary to a 5-0 thumping of Kirivong Sok Sen Chey, a victory which was built around his commendable hat-trick at the Olympic Stadium on Saturday.
Samuel Oseika and Srey Oudom chipped in with a goal each as the Police dragged themselves back on track following a string of poor results after their maiden triumph in the Hun Sen Cup two months ago.
Police coach Ung Kannyanith pulled out Moeung Phanit from his attacking formation, replacing him with Noun Borey and this tactical move completely changed the complexion of the game. The Police are currently fifth on the leader board with 17 points from 12 matches.
In the day’s second fixture at the Olympic Stadium, Build Bright United tenaciously hung on to a third minute strike by Pich Sena to down a fighting TriAsia 1-0.
Obviously, veteran coach Lah Salakhan’s men have found a new set of springs after their unexpectedly bold Hun Sen Cup run, using that momentum to strengthen their hopes of a remunerative berth in the league standings this year.
The University backed side has now moved up to fourth place in the table with 20 points from 12 matches.
Federation bans trio of players
The Football Federation of Cambodia has imposed a six-month domestic and year-long international ban on three of the four players who were abruptly dropped from last year’s SEA Games squad bound for Myanmar under swirling suspicions of impropriety in the team.
The official FFC announcement of this punitive action against Tum Saray (Svay Rieng), Sok Rithy (Naga Corp) and Keo Sokgnon (Boeung Ket) came in the form of a letter signed on May 13 from FFC President Sao Sokha, released to the media on Friday.
No specific charges against these players were mentioned in the letter though the bans took effect from the day it was issued.