Chhlam Samuth’s Chidi Edozie Ikem (left) and Kirivong’s Ouk Thon kick at a high ball during yesterday’s league game. Photo by: Sreng Meng Srun
Playing efficiently to their strengths, Kirivong Sok Sen Chey ran out convincing 3-1 winners over a somewhat jaded Chhlam Samuth in their Metfone C-League tie at Olympic Stadium yesterday.
The African component of the Kirivong ranks made a telling impact on the scoreline as Nelson Oladaji opened the scoring in the 39th minute and assisted his fellow Nigerian Muhammea Berejo, who sports an unusual 77 on his jersey, double that lead before half time.
The two goal getters then contrived the third goal in the second half by nicely setting up In Vichheka before a terrible mix up in the Kirivong box led to an own goal at the end of regulation time.
The win catapults the Takeo outfit to joint leadership of the table with Phnom Penh Crown on 10 points a piece. The second defeat for the Sharks since last Saturday is a clear set back after a rousing start to the campaign as promotees.
The Sharks brought in a new face upfront, Chidi Edozie Ikem, holding back highly combative Sanny Dauda on the bench. Ikem was often left to work in isolation yesterday.
More as a precaution for his previous yellow booking, the Sharks rested their midfield livewire Paul Olabode and his absence left a clear void. From the onset there was an unsettled look about the league newcomers and, despite Dauda taking the field after half an hour, there was hardly any change in their make up with the attack ratio depressingly low throughout.
On the other hand, Kirivong were the more dyanamic in their approach. But for two feeble finishes by Meak Chhordaravuth and Ouk Thon, Kirivong should have posted a score long before a bouting pass between Oladiji and Vichheka created the side’s breakthrough. A selfless pass by Vichheka bang in front of the goal meant that Oladiji had simply to fire from point blank range.
Six minutes after Kirivong turned their territorial claims to material gain came the Berejo goal, a header scrambled out of chaos when a final touch from Oladiji gave him an ideal flight.
On several occasions, In Vichheka threatened to strike with his speed but it was tact that finally helped him break the ice. From a challenging angle, he produced a masterful finish with his right foot to put the scoreline beyond the Sharks’ reach.
A late Touch Sok Heng own goal was one blot on another wise clinical display by Kirivong. For the first time in five games, the Sharks looked woefully short on fluidity with a gaping hole in the middle of the park and no real thrust behind most of their counters.