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Rithi Sen dispose of Kirivong

Kampong Chhnang outfit Rithi Sen scored the first upset of the 2010 Samdech Hun Sen Cup by ousting Kirivong Sok Sen Chey 4-2 in a 120-minute thriller


Kirivong Sok Sen Chey’s Phan Vanda (right) converts a penalty past Rithi Sen goalkeeper Oum Veasna during their Samdech Hun Sen Cup match at Olympic Stadium Saturday.

PHEW! Where to begin? Saturday’s Hun Sen Cup clash between Kirivong Sok Sen Chey and Rithi Sen had a bit of everything, and kept the 6,000-person crowd at Olympic Stadium on the edge of their seats until the final whistle. At that moment, the red-shirted Rithi Sen players leaped for joy and hugged one another, having recorded a remarkable 4-2 giant-killing over the full-timers from Takeo.

Someone else relieved to reach the end of the game was a new referee, Yien Kivatanak. In a match that could hardly be called a physical encounter, he somehow managed to dismiss four of the Kirivong team, and booked another nine players as well as brandishing the red card to two more before changing his mind and allowing them to stay on the pitch. It was that sort of game.

Kirivong opened the scoring on 32 minutes when Rithi Sen’s experienced goalkeeper Oum Veasna handled outside his box. Hok Sochivorn, who has returned to the game after a year away, stepped up to thunder in an unstoppable free-kick into the top corner.

Five minutes later, Rithi Sen’s skipper Ouk Channarith rose above everyone else to head home a Man Hosen corner to equalise, and the sides went in level at the break.

Twelve minutes after the interval, Hok Sochivorn was scythed down by Sos Mat in the box, and Phan Vanda fired home the resulting penalty. But that was the last of the good news for Kirivong.

With play switching from end to end, and both defences finding it hard to cope, Kiriviong’s Hang Chantrea was shown a red card for fouling Set Kammel to hand Rithi Sen the advantage.

Roared on by a large following from their Kampong Chhnang home, Rithisen left it late to equalise. Two minutes into injury time, Pes Matsoum sped away down the left wing and cut the ball back to Keo Chandara, who gleefully steered it past goalkeeper Kung Thnou to force extra time. There was still time left for Kirivong’s Hok Sochivorn to be dismissed for a mindless kick on Oum Veasna.

With a two-man advantage, Rithisen inevitably took the lead for the first time on 102 minutes. Kung Thnou kept out Ky Rohan’s shot, but was powerless to stop Pes Matsoum’s close range follow-up. They rubbed more salt into Kirivong wounds with a fourth goal by Keo Chandara on 110 minutes, as he rounded the goalkeeper and slotted the ball home.

Kirivong’s nightmare continued with Ek Vannak and Yem Botra also receiving their marching orders as the Rithi Sen men played keep ball to see out a memorable cup upset.

Koh Kong 3 Nat. Defence Ministry 4
(penalties after extra time)
In the later match Saturday, it was much more of an anticlimax, with underdogs Koh Kong putting in a well organised defensive performance to stifle the National Defence Ministry (MND) team, which is peppered with members of the Cambodian national team. There was little threat on the goalmouths of both teams for the whole of regulation time, though MND’s Khim Borey sent a 25-yard free kick onto the crossbar on 68 minutes.

It took the introduction of MND’s wingman Nov Soseila on the hour mark to liven up proceedings. The U23 national team star injected much-needed pace and trickery into the game, as MND sought the opening goal. But even he couldn’t find a way past the resolute provincial side, who’d won all four games of their qualification group and had reached the knockout stage in the previous last term, only to be beaten by finalists Naga Corp.

With a quarterfinal tie against Rithi Sen up for grabs, the game was decided on penalties after extra time came and went without change to the scoreline. The hero of the hour for MND proved to be goalkeeper Samreth Seiha, who kept out spotkicks from Phal Veasna and Sos Naniet, and then stepped up to send his winning penalty past Hin Samrith to spark celebrations that would’ve graced the competition’s final.

Goalscorers in the 4-3 penalty shootout success for MND were Nov Soseila, Thong Oudom, Khek Khemarin and Samreth Seiha. Koh Kong’s successful spot-kick takers were Ung Sopheak, Chhin Meng Srieng and Leng Makra.

Photos by Nick Sells (www.nicksellsphotography.com)

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