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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Kuoch Sokumpheak is the hattrick hero

Kuoch Sokumpheak is the hattrick hero

A triple from Khemara Keila’s star striker helps lift them over Post Tel Club Sunday, while Preah Khan Reach beat Spark FC 2-1

Khemara Keila’s Kuoch Sokumpheak (right) knocks in his second goal past outstretched Post Tel keeper Ly Sokheng during their Cambodian Premier League match Sunday at Olympic Stadium.

A SECOND half hattrick from national team striker Kuoch Sokumpheak saw Khemara Keila ease their way to victory over Post Tel Club Sunday. The Cambodian hit man and current Samdech Hun Sen Cup golden boot wearer was in scintillating form and almost had a hand in an opening goal after just six minutes. His cross from the right was headed down to Chan Veasna by Ty Bunvichet, but the marauding midfielder's half-volley flew wide.

Kuoch Sokumpheak was soon trying to inject some Argentinian flair into proceedings with an audacious attempt at an "Ardiles flick" on the left, but, despite dominating the early exchanges, Khemara Keila fell behind after 13 minutes. Post Tel Club's Seng Neth whipped in a cross from the left, and Babatunde Oleshin made a complete hash of his clearance, slicing the ball towards his own goal. A combination of goalkeeper and post kept the ball out, but Phany Chamrouen was at hand to tap in the loose ball from a metre out.

Khemara Keila were jolted into life, with Anthony Alichigozie going close twice, but again they looked suspect at the back, allowing Post Tel's Im Sarath the freedom of the box, only for the forward to fire horribly wide when well-placed with just a few minutes of the first half left.

Three minutes after the restart Khemara Keila were handed a lifeline by the referee when he harshly ruled that Soth Sotheavy had brought down Kuoch Sokumpheak inside the box.

The Khemara Keila frontman picked himself up and coolly dispatched the penalty himself to level the score.

It was all Khemara Keila from then on out, and their attacking verve was finally rewarded in the 68th minute when Kuoch Sokumpheak took advantage of a mistake by Soth Sotheavy. The skilful striker danced round the goalkeeper and stabbed the ball home with the outside of his right foot to give Khemara Keila the lead.

The chances continued to come thick and fast, and just seven minutes later a long pass from the back from Khemara's Chan Veasna found Ty Bunvichet on the right of the area. Post Tel's substitute goalkeeper Ly Sokheng came flying out but got nowhere near the ball, allowing Ty Bunvichet to cross for Kuoch Sokumpheak, who let the ball roll across his body before tapping home his third of the afternoon on 75 minutes.

There was still enough time left for Khemara Keila substitute Nelson Oladiji to get on the scoresheet, when Kuoch Sokumpheak got the slightest of touches on a neat pass the ball was heading goalwards, but Nelson Oladiji made sure it crossed the line to round off an emphatic victory.

Khemara Keila striker Kuoch Sokumpheak (left) celebrates his hattrick goal Sunday.

PKR push away at the top
In Sunday's late kickoff, league leaders Preah Khan Reach (PKR) extended the gap at the top when substitute Tum Saray scored a priceless winner within four minutes of coming on. The game started at a frenetic pace, and it was PKR who took the lead inside ten minutes when towering Nigerian centre-back Zila Seidu was left completely unmarked six yards out to head in Samel Nasa's free kick.

Their celebrations were short-lived, however, as Spark hotshot Justine Prince applied a bullet header to a superbly flighted free-kick from Phoeun Saorum after just 12 minutes to level the game at one apiece.

The early stages were action-packed, and Seidu could have grabbed his second just three minutes later, but his free header from close range was kept out by a fantastic one-handed save from Spark keeper Pov Raksa. Spark were beginning the ride their luck and PKR's Olisa Onyemerea wasted two gilt-edged chances to put his team in front before the break. The powerful striker seemed unable to locate his shooting boots, though, as the teams went in level.

The one-way traffic continued after half-time but a combination of wasteful final balls, inspired defending from Spark, and, on one occasion, the post kept the score tied until the 67th minute. Onyemerea split the defence with a superb pass to Samel Nasa, who saw his shot well-saved by Pov Raksa, but the rebound fell kindly for Tum Saray, who rolled the ball into the empty net.

Spark rallied after going behind, their best chance coming after 82 minutes, but Prince's shot tamely at the keeper when through one-on-one, and Preah Khan Reach were able to hold on for victory.

With the win, military police-affiliated side Preah Khan Reach put themselves four points clear at the top of the CPL, with Kirivong Sok Sen Chey missing out on the chance to reduce the gap to three due to their fixture postponement against Phnom Penh Crown.

Photos by Nick Sells (



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