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Prince left pauper as Crown dethroned

Chhma Khmao’s Khom Pisith shields the ball from Wat Phnom’s Leang Soksamnang durig their league clash yesterday at Olympic Stadium. SRENG MENG SRUN

Kirivong 3 Phnom Penh Crown 2
Phnom Penh Crown were knocked off their undefeated throne by an imperious second-half double salvo from Kirivong Sok Sen Chey’s league leading striker Julius Ononiwu in their 3-2 Metfone C-League defeat at Olympic Stadium yesterday.

“Julius is very good and always tries his best to win for the team,” said Kirivong assistant coach, Phan Chanphath, who was delighted to end Crown’s undefeated streak. “Our next game is equally important versus Naga Corp [who are also undefeated], and we’ll try to win that too.”

Along with the Nigerian’s two goals, Chaing Kong Yann’s 30th minute opener after being set up by his strike partner was enough to get the crucial three points for Kirivong, who now move to within two points of the Super 4 whilst Crown remain two points behind league-leading Naga.

Following Chaing’s strike, Kirivong where penned back by Crown, who’s own Nigerian striker Uche Prince Justine also has his sights set on the top-scorers chart. On today’s performance however, which featured a number of missed chances by the forward, he will find it hard to catch his compatriot.

More successful yesterday as provider than predator, Justine was crucial in the goals for Cambodia national team starlet Keo Sokngon, who scored twice from the penalty spot either side of half time to give Crown the lead.

It looked likely that 18-year-old Keo Sokngon would complete his hat trick, but missed a golden chance in the 80th minute after being set up again by Justine; a mistake that was punished emphatically by Ononiwu. Receiving a short corner on the left-hand side of the penalty box, the Nigerian looked up and curled a beautiful dipping 25 yarder past despairing Crown goalkeeper Peng Bunchhay into the top right corner. Two minutes later, with Crown players spell-bound, the striker repeated his magic, weaving his wave through three defenders inside the penalty box, before picking his spot in the bottom right hand corner.

Wat Phnom 3 Chhma Khmao 3
Wat Phnom missed a golden chance to put some distance between themselves and the relegation dog-fight, after an error-strewn back-and-forth game against bottom team Chhma Khmao ended in a 3-3 draw in yesterday’s second fixture.

Three times the lead changed hands as defensive mix-ups first allowed Wat Phnom striker Leang Sok Samnang in the 25th minute to beat a malfunctioning Black Cats’ offside trap - the lineman’s flag was overruled by the referee - and then within a minute an equally static Wat Phnom backline let captain Sok Kolamara through to equalise.

Wat Phnom then retook the lead in the 38th minute as Ry Phearoun finished neatly under the goalkeeper.

The second half brought a glimmer of hope for the provincial team, as first a 75th minute penalty by Men Piseth and then three minutes later a header by Buth Chanra inconceivably gave the club, with one win to their name all-season, a chance of victory.

However, reality and Leang Sok Samnang struck again, as yet another poor mistake in the Black Cats’ box saw the ball ricochet off a defender and directed into the net through a diving header from the Wat Phnom striker.

“It was a game of mistakes; both by the defenders and the strikers. I’m not happy, I wanted to win and we were let down by bad errors,” said Wat Phnom assistant coach Cheang Yath.

Chhma Khmao assistant coach, Sok Vantha, was equally frustrated by the game. “It was really 50-50. I am just frustrated we couldn’t find the opportunity to score the winner.”

The result meant his team remained rock bottom of the Metfone C-League on 4 points, 7 away from safety, while yesterday’s opponents and fellow-strugglers Wat Phnom hover one place above the drop zone, and now face next weekend’s crucial clash with Prek Pra Keila, who are just 3 points behind.



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