Preah Khan Reach’s Lay Raksmey (l) hits the ball past Kirivong’s Soch Makara (centre) during their Metfone C-League match yesterday at Olympic Stadium. PKR won the rain-soaked encounter 2-1. Photograph: Sreng Meng Srun/Phnom Penh Post
Controversy, frayed tempers and three expulsions marked Preah Khan Reach’s 2-1 victory over Kirivong Sok Sen Chey in a highly abrasive Metfone C-League tie at Olympic Stadium yesterday.
Furore in the PKR camp over a penalty awarded by referee Chy Samedy in the 44th minute to Kirivong took an ugly turn soon after the breather.
Visibly angry protestations from PKR coach Sam Voun Deth led to fourth official Thong Chankithya banishing him to the stands.
The coach was seen handing over a written protest as he left the pitch.
Minutes after this unsavoury incident came a bizarre clash between Kirivong’s Touch Sok Hieng and PKR’s Moul Daravorn, with both players ending up laid out on the pitch and both receiving red cards from the referee when they arose.
When calm and sanity was restored, the Military Police-backed PKR were regrouping well enough in search of an equaliser to Kirivong’s late first half goal.
Heavy rains hit the contest hard six minutes after the start as action on the pitch turned from the comical to the cruel.
The break for the visitors from Takeo, beaten 1-0 by Build Bright United last Sunday, came a minute before half time.
A corner kick into a crowded PKR box triggered a frenzy during which Kirivong’s Ek Vannak was tripped.
When Chy Samedy signalled a spotkick there was a chorus of PKR protest.
The official stuck to his guns and Em Phanna came up with a confident conversion.
With rain relenting and ground conditions improving ever so slightly, PKR restored parity through substitute Sok Chan Rasmey, who happened to be at the right place at the right time inside the box to turn in a stray ball.
It didnt take long for the Hun Sen Cup winners to steal a march.
African import David Njoku’s strong presence in the box made all the difference when the tall striker nodded home an aerial delivery.
This was PKR’s fifth victory following a draw and two losses in eight matches.
PKR’s goal tally of 25 ranks as the second best behind Naga Corp’s nine-match total of 26.
Takeo-based Kirivong crashed to their fifth defeat, having won two and drawn one. Kirivong are currently in seventh spot, just above the bottom enders Western University and Chhlam Samut, while Preah Khan Reach moved above league newcomers Boeung Ket Rubber Field into third, four points off the pace of leaders Naga.
To contact the reporter on this story: H S Manjunath at email@example.com