Build Bright United’s fairytale run this season ended on a spectacular note when they edged out table toppers Naga Corp 7-5 in a penalty shootout to bag third place in the league’s final standings. On the top of their best ever finish, they also claimed the Fair Play Trophy.
For Naga coach Prak Sovannara, double defeats in the Super 4 playoffs came as something of a shock, as last year’s champions were banished to fourth place. “We had our chances, we blew them,” he said. “I have to give it to them, BBU played very well.”
It was a day to remember for BBU coach Meas Sam Oeun. “At last we were able to show what the team is capable of,” he said. “Now we know where we stand, and it is a great boost to the University which is supporting the team. We will most certainly aim a lot higher next season.”
The third place playoff on Friday provided thrills a plenty, with the both teams eager to cap off their campaign in style. A bustling start by BBU saw Oum Chandara complete a simple tap in a schoolboy wouldn’t have missed. The response from Naga was swift and solid, as Yemi Oyewole presented a perfect head to an equally well conveyed cross.
Freewheeling Naga striker Teab Vatanak then found himself knocked down in the BBU box, and while referee Khuon Vireak appeared to have totally missed the infraction, an alert assistant referee manning the right indicated for a penalty.
Set-piece expert Meas Channa converted the spotkick to grant Naga the lead.
Not to be outdone, BBU’s trust in Nuth Sinoun paid dividends when the seasoned striker struck a flat but fierce drive in time added on before the break to force a 2-2 halftime deadlock.
The sides then played out a highly combative but goalless second session and, with extra time omitted, the sides lined up for penalties.
Nuth Sinoun opened his team’s account, but Meas Channa’s fluffed his response as BBU keeper Sos Pros Him, who was ridiculed and reviled last week for his sloppiness, turned hero of sorts with a perfect block.
Prum Puthsethy, Chan Veasna, and Oum Chandara were all bang on target for BBU, while Yemi Oyewole, Pok Chanthan and Soeurng Monirath netted for Naga, before Tuy Sam wrapped up the victory with the University side’s fifth successful spotkick.