Prek Pra Keila finally have something to smile about on Saturday as they grab their first Metfone C-League victory in a 3-0 defeat of troubled Khemara Keila
THE past week has been a rollercoaster of emotions for Metfone C-League newcomers Prek Pra Keila. the previous Saturday they suffered the tragic loss of one of their own when Wilson Mene suffered a heart attack and died on the pitch at the Olympic Stadium.
This Saturday, their grief turned to unbridled joy when they claimed their first points of the season in their seventh match on the same pitch.
For Khemara, historically one of the Kingdom’s best teams, their season has surely hit rock bottom. After enduring a 3-0 defeat against Wat Phnom midweek, they were seeking to kick-start their campaign but it never looked likely from the off as their nightmare run continued.
Within four minutes of the start, Prek Pra’s Mat Hasan sent a looping volley skimming across the face of the Khemara goal as a warning shot. Khemara relied on goalkeeper Ly Sokheng’s long drop kicks to spark their attacking efforts in the final third, and both Kuoch Sokumpheak and Ek Vannak should’ve done better when the Prek Pra defence failed to deal with the danger. Goalkeeper Yok Ary smothered Sokumpheak’s attempt to bypass him, and then was well-placed to collect Vannak’s fierce drive.
Five minutes before the interval, another Sokheng wind-assisted delivery presented Chhim Sambo with a gilt-edged opportunity and he neatly sidestepped a defender only to see Yok Ary block his well-struck shot from twelve yards.
With a minute of added-on time on the clock, Prek Pra took the lead with a lightning counter-attack that caught the Khemara defence napping. Feut Soulkiphly shuffled the ball onto Sos Souhana, and he kept his composure to roll it wide of Ly Sokheng and into the corner with the last kick of the first-half.
Khemara’s Kuoch Sokumpheak, who was limping throughout the match, made a hash of a great chance to level the scoreline when he fired wildly over the top just seconds after the restart. At the other end, Hasan and Soulkiphly lacked conviction at the final moment and their opportunities also went begging.
Up stepped referee Yien Kivatanak with a couple of crucial decisions that were to turn the course of the game in Prek Pra’s favour. On 57 minutes, he harshly awarded a penalty against Khemara when he deemed a well-timed tackle by Ouk Chheng Hout on Mat Hasan as a foul. Sot Sa Aun duly despatched the spotkick with confidence.
A minute later, he flashed a red card to Khemara substitute Chhun Kirivatharo for what looked like a 50-50 challenge with Prek Pra full back Christopher Kingstone, leaving Khemara with a mountain to climb and Prek Pra eyeing their first Metfone C-League victory.
Peter Olajide’s acrobatic overhead kick was Khemara’s best effort on goal, but they were struggling with a man down in the blistering conditions.
Prek Pra then wrapped up a historic win with their third goal four minutes from the end.
Busy midfielder Dennis Nwaizu capped a fine game with a neat chip through to You Arafat, though Ly Sokheng made a mess of his attempted clearance, leaving Arafat with an easy tap-in to spark jubilant celebrations from his teammates and their boisterous fans in the main stand.