Preah Khan Reach stride to a 6-3 victory over Khemara Keila in their Metfone C-League match Sunday, while Phnom Penh Crown thrash Chhma Khmao 9-1
Phnom Penh Crown hat trick hero Uche Prince Justine (right) unleashes a vicious shot at the Chhma Khmao goal during their Metfone C-League match at Olympic Stadium on Sunday. Sreng Meng Srun
A shot by Phnom Penh Crown’s Keo Sokngorn (unseen) nestles in the Chhma Khmao net during their league game Sunday. Sreng Meng Srun
Fourth-place Preah Khan Reach (PKR) always had the edge in this entertaining encounter Sunday at the Olympic Stadium against a Khemara Keila team that are still finding their feet in this season’s Metfone C-League campaign after an indifferent start.
Sok Chanrasmey gave PKR the lead their early pressure deserved on nine minutes, when he latched onto a short Sam El Nasa pass and drilled a shot past keeper Hong Visokra and two defenders on the goal line.
Four minutes later and Khemara were level. Kuoch Sokumpheak is arguably Cambodia’s best homegrown talent, and he reminded everyone with a superbly directed free kick from the edge of the penalty area that curled over the wall and PKR keeper Ouk Mich and into the top corner of the net.
Ouk Mich was called into action twice to deny Khemara strikers Ek Vannak and Suon Makara before his opposite number, Hong Visokra had to move smartly to keep out a header from Prak Mony Udom. But there was nothing Visokra could do to stop Khuon Laboravy’s near post header a minute before half-time. The PKR forward outwitted his marker to steer his header wide of Visokra from Prak Mony Udom’s flighted corner kick.
Torrential rain greeted the players on their return to the pitch for the second half, with PKR taking advantage of having the wind in their favour.
A mishit shot by Sok Chanrasmey fell nicely for Tum Saray, who poked his shot under the body of Hong Visokra within four minutes of the restart. Four minutes later, Khuon Laboravy netted his second goal of the game, smashing in a low cross by Prak Mony Udom from 6 yards out.
Khemara briefly rallied despite losing talismanic skipper Kuoch Sokumpheak with a leg injury. Suon Makara showed his goal-prowling qualities with a well-timed header from a Hou Sambo center within a minute of Laboravy’s second goal to keep Khemara in with a shout.
With the rain disappearing as quickly as it arrived, Tum Saray swept in a fifth for PKR, finishing off a by-line cross from Laboravy with a flourish on the hour mark. But Khemara were not finished.
Ek Vannak’s 25-yard free kick was pushed onto the upright by Ouk Mich’s full-length save before Paris Zidougha headed in a Hou Sambo free kick on 69 minutes to reduce the arrears.
However, three minutes later PKR put the result beyond doubt with Khuon Laboravy’s hat trick decider. With Khemara complaining loudly for an offisde flag, Laboravy raced onto Sok Chanrasmey’s pass and finished with a confident blast inside the near post. Laboravy then missed a couple of easier chances before Khemara’s bad day at the office was compounded by a red card for Net Veasna, guilty of a last-man professional foul on Sok Chanrasmey in the last minute.
Khemara Keila’s Neth Veasna (left) puts in a tackle on Preah Khan Reach’s Khuon Laboravy during their match Sunday. Sreng Meng Srun
PP Crown 9 Chhma Khmao 1
The writing was on the wall for bottom club Chhma Khmao within two minutes of the start of this lopsided Metfone C-League game Sunday. Phnom Penh Crown had won their first meeting 9-0 earlier this season, and were in the mood to settle for nothing less despite fielding a very young line-up.
Uche Prince Justine terrorized the Chhma Khmao defensive backline throughout the ninety minutes, and it was the Golden Boot holder that headed in the opening goal from Hong Ratana’s cross before the Black Cats had time to organize themselves.
Crown’s youngsters were led by 18-year-old Keo Sokngorn, captaining the side for the first time, and he netted their second goal on 21 minutes, drilling in a by-line cross from Heng Sokly.
Crown were cutting their way through their opponents with ease, employing their quick passing style to maximum effect.
On 29 minutes, Keo Sokngorn floated a pass to Justine who swivelled past two defenders and finished with the confidence of a player on top of his game.
In the five minutes before the halftime interval, Crown scored twice more to take their tally to five. Keo Sokngorn was relishing his free role behind the strikers, and he finished with precision from 15 yards after being set up by Srey Veasna’s pass. With a minute left on the clock, Heng Sokly put himself on the scoresheet with a toe-poke past keeper Pen Socheat after a swift series of passes had bamboozled the Chhma Khmao defence.
There was no let-up for a battered Chhma Khmao after the break. Three minutes in and Pen Socheat was forced to pull off a remarkable save to deny Justine, with Srey Veasna firing the rebound against the upright.
Midfielder Friday Nwakuna increased his forays forward, and on 66 minutes he finished off a move he started, after Hong Ratana’s shot was saved but not held by Pen Socheat.
Two minutes later, Sok Pheng replaced Heng Sokly, and within 90 seconds was celebrating a goal laid on by Prince Justine, finishing with a neat drive into the far corner.
With their first shot on target in the whole game, Chhma Khmao scored a memorable goal when Ung Dara tried his luck from 15 yards, and his well-struck drive beat keeper Hum Samrith at his near post. It was the best moment of a day that the Black Cats would rather forget.
Justine was not to be denied his hat trick despite seeing half a dozen of his efforts fly high and wide, or hit the woodwork. With a minute of normal time remaining, he waited for a long dropkick by keeper Hun Samrith to bounce, raced onto the loose ball and whacked his drive past a despairing Pen Socheat.
There was still time, in the second minute of additional time, for Sok Pheng to notch his second goal, rounding off a neat move involving Nwakuna and Justine, to score Crown’s ninth and complete a successful return to Metfone C-League action for the team regarded by many observers as favourites for the title.