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Police soccer team eke out a narrow win

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League-leading goal scorer and Naga striker Choun Chum goes past Chhalam Samut's Thin Sok in Saturday's Metfone C-League match at the Olympic Stadium. Photograph: Sreng Meng Srun/Phnom Penh Post

Naga Corp and National Police are going at each others’ throats after a dramatic weekend which saw Phnom Penh Crown crash to an unexpected 1-3 defeat over Kirivong Sok Sen Chey but it was Build Bright United’s 3-1 win over Ministry of National Defence yesterday which highlighted the Metfone C league program at the Olympic Stadium.

Bottom enders Western University did a remarkable job in holding the National Police safe for all but a few minutes before regulation time. In one unguarded moment, Western’s Pen Panha brought down Oladiji Olatunde in the 87th minute and Nouth Sinoun confidently converted the spot kick to ensure a narrow win for his side.

The victory boosted Police to 33 points from 17 matches, the same tally as that of Naga from 15 after their 7-0 rout of Chhalam Samut on Saturday. But by virtue of better goal difference, Naga top the standings ahead of the Police with Preah Khan Reach (32 points) in third place and Boeng Ket Rubber (27 points) in fourth.

Japanese striker Ito Dan produced a hat-trick for BBU as the side made short work of MND in a clash involving two mid-table teams.

The first two of Ito Dan’s goals were penalty conversions, one in each half, while the third in injury time was a cleverly struck angular shot on the run from the top of the box.

MND’s consolation goal in the 78th minute was a beauty of sorts, defender Pom Tola’s curling flag kick sailing over a crowded box into the far corner of the net.

Build Bright, who had beaten MND 1-0 in the first round, upped their 15 match tally to 23 points to occupy sixth spot in the standings. MND’s 16 match total remains at 20.

While the taste of victory was sweet for the University side, there was huge concern about one of their leading front liners Badmus Surajudeen Bolah, who was taken to a hospital in an ambulance after suffering a serious leg injury during a goal mouth scramble early in the first half.

Former champions Naga Corp routed bottom enders Chhalam Samut 7-0 in Saturday’s second kick-off. Double strikes by Chhoun Chum and Teab Vathanak featured Naga’s big win. Kob Isa, Sun Sopanha and Sun Sovanrithy chipped in with a goal each.

Chhoun Chum meanwhile stretched by two his lead among the Championship’s three top goal scorers. The Naga striker has 16 goals in the race for the Golden Boot. Hard on his heels are Police hitman Oladiji Olatunde and Boeng Ket’s Nwakuna Friday with 14 goals each.

Defending Champions Phnom Penh Crown suffered a 1-3 reverse against Kirivong Sok Sen Chey on Saturday. The defeat was a big blow to Crown’s chances of making it to the Super Four.

Crown hit the front as early as the fifth minute through Sos Souhana. But Kirivong’s full force came into play soon enough. In Vicheka’s double wrested the initiative for the visitors from Takeo. Ek Sophea cushioned the lead in the 86th minute.

With just two games left, Crown have 23 points, four behind Boeng Ket Rubber, who have an extra game in hand.

To contact the reporter on this story: H S Manjunath at newsroom@phnompenhpost.com

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