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Crown scrape out a 4-4 draw

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Build Bright United’s Nhim Sovannara kicks past Phoung Soksana of National Defence Ministry during their match yesterday. Photo by: Sreng Meng Srun

A destructive own goal ruined Kirivong Sok Sen Chey’s day in the Metfone C-League as table toppers Phnom Penh Crown staged a breathtaking 10 minute rally to force a 4-4 draw after being two goals down at Olympic Stadium yesterday.

The reigning champions even had a shot at seizing all three points when they were awarded a penalty in injury time. However, a feeble spotkick by defender Anthony Obadin was blocked by Kirivong goalkeeper Kun Thnou to forced Bojan Hodak’s men to share the spoils.

In a rare show of courage and conviction, Kirivong dominated the first half with a performance as pure as the whites they were wearing. In Vicheka touched in off a fierce free kick from Song Dara to open Kirivong’s account.

An opportunistic Silva Sunday then found the net to leave Crown struggling for form. Midfielder Chan Chaya brought a modicum of relief for Crown when he expertly turned the ball in through a crowd, but Kirivong’s response was amazingly swift and decisive.

Both Vicheka and Sunday struck again as Kirivong stretched their lead to an assailing 4-1. Interestingly one of the Sunday goals had an air of controversy about it, as the ball brushed the inside of the cross bar before popping out of the goal mouth.

The first sign that Crown weren’t prepared to go down without a fight came when Kenneth Nwafor had the presence of mind to tap the ball in with half a dozen Kirivong shirts vying for it. It opened up the stage for his team as the frontline began to mount relentless pressure.

At this demanding phase, two things went wrong for Kirivong. The first was Sunday picking up his second yellow card to take an early shower. The second, more galling in comparison, was Bryan Edem’s instinctive push into his own net on 85 minutes.

The momentum had clearly shifted to Crown, and the 10-man Takeo side were forced to defend in big numbers. In one lofty push, Sun Sovanrithy found himself in the right place to slot home for a last minute equaliser.

The fast advancing Kouch Sokumpheak was brought down by Phan Vanda, resulting in a penalty for Crown well into injury time. In a flashback to Tieng Tiny’s miss in the AFC President’s Cup, Nwafor squandered his chance from 11 metres, this time with the game on the line.

One gratifying aspect of the draw was that Crown kept the lead at the top of the table with 14 points from 6 games, one ahead of Naga Corp. Kirivong tally goes up to 11 points to consolidate fourth place.

BBU edge Army late on
In yesterday’s late kick off, an injury time strike by Nhim Sovannara brought a whiff of fresh air to Build Bright United’s suffocating campaign as the University backed side edged past National Defence Ministry 2-1 in a rain-ravaged encounter.

A snap goal by Pich Sina as early as the eighth minute gave BBU a flying start which the side did well to safeguard, even as the skies opened up and a steady downpour played havoc with underfoot conditions.

The teams were more than happy to break for half time with BBU latching on to that early goal amid the players slipping and sliding on a waterlogged pitch.

After waiting for the weather to clear for nearly 30 minutes, the officials allowed the game to resume and the Army men hit right back to level the scores through Thong Odom’s neatly converted spotkick.

With the ball rolling heavy, quality moves were at a premium from both sides. Just when the game was heading to an inevitable draw, along came the surprise packet from Nhim Sovannara, who worked out a match clincher with barely a minute to go.

The win took BBU to 7th place with seven points, while National Defence dropped a spot to third on 12 points.

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