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Naga Corp lose Cup opener

Reigning Cambodian league champions Naga Corp suffered a 2-1 defeat to Pakistan rivals KRL Monday in their first AFC President’s Cup group match

YANGON
NAGA Corp lost their opening AFC President’s Cup group match 2-1 against Pakistan champions Khan Research Laboratories (KRL) Monday at the Aung San Stadium in Yangon.

Played in front of about around 300 spectators, KRL took just four minutes to score the first goal through midfielder Kalim Ullah Khan after a communication breakdown between Naga keeper Mak Theara and defender Neang Chenla.

However, five minutes later Naga struck back with Nigerian midfielder Joseph Oyewole finding Meas Channa in space wide on the right. Channa’s whipped in a quick cross into the penalty area, were striker Chin Chum was lurking to touch in for the equaliser.

The action came thick and fast and in the 11th minute, KRL forward Muhammad Qasim saw his free kick from just outside the area saved by Naga’s Mak Theara. Meas Channa kept up his bombardment of the box from the wing, but neither Kop Isa nor Teab Vathanak could hit the target with their headers.

On the half hour mark, KRL won a corner which Khan Mahmood swung in with pace. The ball just managed to clear the rising Teat Chandara Sokha and Kalim Ullah Khan was at hand to slot in his second and give the Pakistan side the lead.

Pok Chanthan replaced Kim Chanbunrith for Naga in the 38th minute as both teams failed to convert any more chances before the interval.

Second half stalemate downs Naga
In the second half, Naga dominated possession while KRL maintained their strength at the back. Ten minutes in, set piece specialist Meas Channa had a succession of four corner kicks only for teammates to head the wrong way on each occasion.

Naga skipper Sun Sovannarith also had a fine headed chance in the 72nd minute that was sailing goalwards before intervention from a KRL defender.

In stoppage time, Teat Chandara Sokha was caught out of position to gift Safi Ullah Khan a clear run on goal but Mak Theara came off his line well to collect off the advancing forward’s feet.

KRL stood firm to emerge 2-1 victors and severely dent Naga’s aspirations for qualification from the group stage.

Naga head coach Prak Sovannara praised the performance of his players. “They played well,” he said after the game Monday. “We had many chance to score and to win the match, but we were unlucky.” The coach added that the two goals by KRL were conceded due to a misunderstanding between goalkeeper and defenders.

Naga play their second group match today against Sri Lanka’s Renown Sports Club, who were thrashed 6-0 Monday by FC Vakhsk of Tajikistan.

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