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MND get back in the race for fifth place

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National Defence Ministry’s Nov Sokseila (right) celebrates his goal against Kirivong Sok Sen Chey Sunday at Olympic Stadium.

Photo by: Nick Sells (www.nicksellsphotography.com)
National Defence Ministry’s Nov Sokseila (right) celebrates his goal against Kirivong Sok Sen Chey Sunday at Olympic Stadium.

IN humid conditions after a brief rainstorm Sunday, National Defence Ministry (MND) taught Kirivong Sok Sen Chey a lesson that the direct approach rather than pretty passing can often be more effective. Indeed, with the 2-0 victory over the Takeo-based club, the Army team reinstated their bid for the lucrative fifth-place finish.

It took MND just five minutes to get off the mark when Chhin Chhouern's mis-hit cross eluded everyone but Phuong Soksana, who lashed his shot into the roof of the Kirivong net with an accomplished first-time strike from the far post.

He nearly added a second five minutes before the half-time break, but his neat chip over goalkeeper Kem Makara was cleared acrobatically by covering defender Lam Than Yang.

MND took control after the interval, and with halftime substitute Nov Sokseila they had the key to unlock any defence, the tricky winger showing fleetness of foot and a steely determination to get in his crosses whatever the obstacle. It was his pinpoint center on 55 minutes that Sin Dalin should've put to bed, but failed to even touch.

On 75 minutes, Nov Sokseila showed everyone how it should be done, when he met an Um Kompheak cross with a sweetly struck drive that arrowed into the corner of the net past a helpless Kem Makara. It was no more than Sokseila and MND deserved for their endeavours, and with results most definitely going their way over the weekend, they are now firmly back in contention of claiming the 5 million riels (US$1,211) attributed to fifth.

Post Tel Club 1 - 0 Spark FC
Already-relegated Post Tel Club struck a note of defiance with a deserved win over Spark on Sunday, dealing their opponents a blow to finishing in the fifth spot of the CPL final standings.

Prince Justine, Spark's lethal marksman and CPL top scorer, was kept shackled by experienced defender Khun Khoun, and that was the key to Post Tel's narrow success.

On 14 minutes, Post Tel's leggy African striker Gafar Durosinmi broke through defensive ranks but blazed wide when more precision was called for.

Two minutes later, he showed he'd learnt his lesson, and his cool finish after rounding goalkeeper Por Bunchhoeun proved to be the game's decider.

With Prince Justine's main contribution coming on 27 minutes - a powerful header that rebounded back into play off an upright - Post Tel should have extended their lead on the half-hour. Than Rachanaoudom tripped the busy Tek Dam as he burst into the penalty area, but Jonathan Onyeahiri's penalty was saved by the feet of the Post Tel stopper, and Spark remained in the hunt, though the second period wasn't one to remember.

Two chances came the way of Post Tel's Touch Sokheng, but he squandered both as Spark failed to ignite, leaving Post Tel to celebrate only their third victory of the season.

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