General Commissariat of National Police broke through a series of five draws to post a 3-1 victory over Ministry of National Defence but yesterday’s Metfone C-League encounter at the Olympic Stadium turned out to be a ghastly affair with three MND players expelled at various stages of the game and tensions spilling over to the dressing rooms well past the final whistle.
Victory for the Police featured midfielder Man Ritavan’s splendid hat-trick, which hauled the side to 30 points and top of the League table. One ahead of Preah Khan Reach, who, however, have two more games in hand to match Police’s 15.
On a day when nothing seem to go right for MND, even their consolation goal early in the second half, ironically, came through Police Goalkeeper’s zinger in front of the 18 yard box. He carelessly kept the ball in play instead of clearing it when no other backliner was around.
In fact, he lost his footing when Plong Chanthou daringly went for the ball and got a touch that was good enough for the ball to trickle into an empty goal. That was just about the only good tiding for MND on an otherwise horrible day on the pitch.
As early as the sixth minute, the Police fired the first salvo, Ritavan’s solid header completing a flag kick sequence.
Barely two minutes had gone by and up came MND’s first costly brush with Referee Thong Chan Ketya who had no hesitation in red carding captain Khek Khemarin for a scything tackle on Ritavan.
Police stretched their lead through the hard working Ritavan for a comfortable 2-0 advantage at the break.
The game took an ugly turn in the 68th minute when MND goalkeeper Sou Yathy brought down an advancing Police striker Oladiji Olatunde in front of the box with a high-rise challenge.
The response from referee Ketya was again swift and decisive. He gave marching orders to Sou Yathy amid vehement protests from MND players, some of whom began to assail the official.
Off the freekick that resulted from this fracas, Police got their third goal, Ritavan pouncing on a loose ball that had careened off the crossbar. MND brought in second goalkeeper Om Vichet as a substitute, a desperate measure in the midst of an acute manpower shortage which was further compounded when Ung Vitha lost his cool and kicked one of the Police players following a duel between the two for the ball.
Another expulsion and another MND outburst at the referee.
There were several yellow card bookings on both sides, highlighting how tough a game it was to officiate.
Police were quite happy to be on the other side of the equation and pick up the full set of points after five consecutive draws.
To contact the reporter on this story: H S Manjunath at firstname.lastname@example.org