Preah Khan Reach began the second phase of the 2011 Metfone C-League in impressive style, slicing through second- from-bottom club Chhlam Samuth 3-0 at Olympic Stadium yesterday.
The Sea Sharks were boosted by the appointment of new coach Jimmy Campbell, but fell woefully short when dealing with a team that had far greater firepower on top of a highly fluid midfield network.
Three of the PKR players – Khuon Laboravy, Sam El Nasa and Tum Saray – had completed national team duty in the two-leg 2014 World Cup qualifiers against Laos last week, and performed with telling effect yesterday.
Tum Saray and Laboravy got their names on the score sheet during a dominant first-half display, and Chea Samnang was bang on target early in the second session when opportunity knocked. There were a few near-misses for the Sea Sharks, but generally they were forced to play second fiddle.
Striker Tum Saray was left with the simple task of tapping the ball across the line after Laboravy had set him up, with Sam El Nasa triggering the move from midfield.
The 25th-minute goal was doubled up barely a minute before the breather by a Laboravy header off a Chea Samnang cross. Again, El Nasa initiated the move.
On a couple of Chhlam Samuth breakaways during the first half, Meas Sophana headed well over the bar when well placed inside the box, and newly signed striker Chidiidoedoz feebly nodded the ball out of play when he had only the goalkeeper to contend with.
Scottish-born Campbell brought in the versatile Sanny Douda from the bench to bolster the side’s confidence. The nippy Nigerian created several good openings, but more than once his own poor finishing denied him a chance to score.
After a somewhat stuttering first leg of their campaign, PKR, the reigning Hun Sen Cup champions and last year’s league runners-up, have broken into the top bracket to be within striking distance of front-runners Phnom Penh Crown and Naga Corp.
The Sea Sharks, meanwhile, look likely to be forced into a three-team relegation dogfight with Prek Pra Keila and Rithy Sen.
Prek Pra have managed to sneak out of the drop zone, pushing Chhlam Samuth into the precarious ninth place.