Striker Khuon Laboravy stole the thunder in a ruthlessly efficient 4-0 victory for a robust Preah Khan Reach over arch-rivals Phnom Penh Crown in their quarterfinal fixture of the 2012 Samdech Hun Sen Cup at the Old Stadium yesterday.
The fleet-footed frontliner produced a brace of merit and an assist to play a stellar role in the reigning champion’s convincing win.
The result was doubly sweet for the military police-backed PKR, being their first over Crown in this domestic competition.
For Crown it was another frustrating Cup campaign, having been knocked out of last edition at the same stage by Build Bright United in an agonising penalty shootout 7-6.
Crown were back-to-back winners of the Hun Sen Cup in 2008 and 2009.
The game was barely into its second minute when Crown felt the first blast of captain Laboravy’s aggressive intent.
A weighty Sok Chan Raksmey cross set up Laboravy with one of his trade mark finishes – unhurried yet incisive.
With the early strike momentum driving them, PKR doubled the lead in the 16th minute.
This time Phany Rotha polishing off an able assist from none other than Laboravy.
A simple Laboravy tap in nine minutes later gave PKR a decisive 3-0 advantage and a feeling of comfort at half time.
The PKR spearhead has now stretched his Cup tally this term to 19 goals, putting him firmly in the lead for a second successive Golden Boot award.
There were some desperate counters from Crown but nothing serious enough to worry PKR’s stubborn backline.
With that three-goal grindstone around their necks, Crown made some gallant moves to get back into the game but to no avail.
As they began to drift to an inescapable defeat, striker Sok Pheng picked up his second yellow card 10 minutes before time.
No sooner had he left the field came another massive blow for last year’s Metfone C-League winners.
This time goalkeeper Sam Chamroeun’s rough tackle on Prak Mony Odoum led to a straight red and a penalty.
Prak Money Odoum stepped up to convert to sign off PKR’s dominant display.
In the day’s second match at Old Stadium, Naational Police Commissary defeated last year’s runners-up Build Bright United 2-1 to set up tomorrow’s semifinal clash with PKR.
After a barren first session, captain Prum Puthsethy fired the university side to a 62nd minute lead. The side managed to cling on to that advantage until the tide firmly turned the Police’s way in the last 10 minutes of the game.
A Srey Udom header levelled the scores in the 81st minute and eight minutes later Moeung Phanith drove home the match winner with a sizzling long ranger.
Meanwhile at Olympic Stadium and with a string of missed chances aside, Naga Corp found the man of the moment in striker Teab Vathanak, whose open header in the 86th minute gave the two-time finalists a place in the semis at the expense of a fiercely combative Kirivong Sok Sen Chey.
There were at least half a dozen chances that went a begging for Naga before Vathanak was at the right place at the right time to greet a well flighted cross from Chin Chum for a 1-0 win which coach Prak Sovanara termed “a very hard fought one.”
Twice during the first half, Chhim Sambo was distinctly unlucky for Naga.
First his firm header missed the mark by inches and the second time round his rasping drive brushed the paint on the crossbar. Too many touches and too many legs prevented team-mate Kop Isa from finishing off multiple strikes in front of the six yard box.
Moments before half time came a dramatic twist to the whole script, when Naga’s Teat Chandara Sokha and Kirivong’s Ek Sopheak violently lashed out at each other during a tense one-on-one.
Referee Chy Samady, who was alerted by his assistant to these glaring fouls, came down heavily on both the players by instantly flashing red cards on them.
Naga will now face Chhlam Samuth, who edged 2010 Cup champions National Defence Ministry 7-6 in a dramatic penalty shootout in the remaining quarterfinal that finished under the lights of Olympic Stadium last night.
Oum Kumpheak had gifted the Army team the lead in the sixth minute. However, their Navy rivals drew things back level close to the half hour mark via a Pov Samang converted spotkick after Loch Sophea had been bundled over in the box.
The clubs remained deadlocked throughout the rest of regulation and a further 30 minutes of extra time to a force the dreaded decider from 11 metres.
The first four kicks were competently dispatched by both sides before both MND’s Khek Khemarin and Chhlam Samuth’s Pov Samnang squandered their chances.
Fifth turn kickers managed to put their nerves to one side to add to the scores, but the Army’s Meak Chhordaravuth blasted his shot off the crossbar to allow Chan Pech Chealy to step up and claim a spot in tomorrow’s semis for the Sea Sharks.