If former champions NagaCorp grabbed Saturday’s headline with a dramatic last-gasp 4-3 victory over Preah Khan Reach, the Sunday thunder was stolen by Build Bright United, who pulled off an injury time 1-0 win over Boeng Ket Rubber during the weekend’s four-game card in the Metfone C-League at the Olympic Stadium.
Adding to this string of surprises was bottom of the table Western University enjoying a rare moment in the sun in yesterday’s first kickoff when beating an unsuspecting Kirivong Sok Sen Chey with the lone goal of the match coming late in the second half.
The only predictable result after Week 13 in this year’s edition ended was Phnom Penh Crown’s 5-1 drubbing of Chhalam Samut, featuring a hat-trick by Njoku Kingsley Metu and a double strike by Kim Borey. For the Sea Sharks, who are just above Western University in the standings, Sam Minea scored a first half consolation.
With both sides stretching each other to the limits, BBU and Boeng Ket were involved in a highly combative encounter in which a plethora of chances went begging on either side.
Both endured goal-mouth anxieties and both missed out on gilt-edged chances, one or two resulting in the drama of goal-line saves. Perhaps the first season sensations Boeng Ket took the honours for being more creative and aggressive than their rivals.
Yet when it came to the crunch it was the University-backed side who delivered the knockout punch.
Deep into added time BBU frontman Ito Dan diligently worked his way into a chaotic Boeng Ket box, his crafty footwork conjuring a neat finish, complementing in the bargain a rather cool head. A visibly shaken Boeng Ket hardly had any time left to respond.
The script was something similar earlier in the afternoon when lowly placed Western University lined up against Kirivong Sok Sen Chey. Having conceded more goals in the competition and scored far fewer than the rest, the odds obviously were stacked high against the University side.
The first half was an evenly contested one with no goals.
The second seemed headed in the same direction but in the 73rd minute came a shocking twist. Substitute Pom Tola was at the right place and at the right time when an aerial delivery from the outback came his way. He presented a perfect head to guide the ball into the net.
The victory may not lift Western from the abyss they are in, but it certainly can boost their spirits.
Naga wins thriller
For Naga Chhim Sambo proved a super substitute. He first brought Naga on par with PKR 3-3 midway through the second half and then out of the blue produced a stunner that won the match for the side in possibly the last move of the game.
Until this game changer of a strike, it had been a highly entertaining thrust-and-parry contest involving two of the domestic heavyweights who earlier this year had fought tooth and nail for the Hun Sen Cup.
Sok Chan Raksmey gave PKR a flying start as early as the ninth minute. Naga’s response was swift and solid. Sun Sovanarithy restoring parity within minutes.
It was soon after this Naga goal that PKR ran into a double whammy. Kop Isa doubled the lead for Naga and PKR lost the services of Sok Chan Raksmey for his second yellow booking.For the rest of the game, PKR had to battle with 10-men.
Yet the Hun Sen Cup winners were so resilient in their approach that not only did they equalise through star striker Khun Laboravy, they managed to even nose ahead through Olawale Bologun until Naga coach Prak Sovanara brought in Chhim Sambo and the rest of the damage would be done by him.
Quite surprisingly, the league standings are not too seriously affected by these results.
The National Police, who enjoyed a week-end off continue to lead the table with 30 points. PKR retain their second slot with 29, and Naga holding on to their third position.
To Naga’s credit, it must be said that they have played two fewer games than Police and have one game in hand compared to PKR.
Despite the reverse, Boeng Ket continue to hold fourth spot on the table with Phnom Penh Crown just edging out Ministry of National Defence on goal difference to be fifth.
To contact the reporter on this story: H S Manjunath at [email protected]