Ri Hyok-chol, one of two new North Korean imports brought in to reinforce the Ministry of National Defence side, blasted a first-half brace in Saturday’s 2-0 win for the Metfone C-League frontrunners over beleaguered National Police at the Old Stadium.
The 31-year old Ri, who has seven goals in 17 appearances for his country, including World Cup qualifying campaigns since 2006, produced stunningly efficient strikes in the closing stages of the first half to put his side firmly on the path to victory.
The scoreline would have been a lot higher had Army cashed in on several promising scoring opportunities they created.
The Army strike power up front has been considerably boosted by the addition of Ri, alongside Choe Myong-ho and Kim Kyong-hun, who have already stamped their mark on several occasions this season.
The fourth North Korean drafted into the side recently is defender Jang Song-hyok, who has represented both the international U20 and senior teams.
The Army’s dominance was never seriously tested by a Police side still in the midst of a long spell of indifferent form, a run including elimination from the group phase of the ongoing Hun Sen Cup last week.
Police are now second bottom at the start of the second half of the league season with five points, behind Asia Euro United on goal difference and above bottom side Western Phnom Penh, who have four points.
In Saturday’s second fixture, NagaWorld got the measure of Western Phnom Penh on the back of Richard Omakafe’s first half brace.
In Friday’s only fixture at the Olympic Stadium, defending champions Phnom Penh Crown were held to a goalless draw by Cambodian Tiger FC.
It was former Crown goalkeeper Samrith Seiha who came up with several timely saves for the Tigers to deny his previous employers all the points in a rain-hit encounter.