NO scorching sun beating down, and a cool refreshing breeze made for perfect football weather Sunday, with Spark FC and Phouchung Neak serving up an equally refreshing game. It was end to end from the first whistle, with Phouchung gunning for an opener in the early stages.
In Prince Justine, Spark have the CPL's leading scorer and a real handful for any defence, let alone the team at the foot of the table. And so it proved on 20 minutes, when he left two defenders in his wake with one of his surging runs into the penalty area, rounding the keeper and whacking the ball into an empty net.
Spark extended their lead just before halftime when Plong Chanthou took advantage of some sloppy defensive work and drilled in their second from ten yards out. There was still time for the Navy team to keep their hopes alive with a goal from Heng Sokly, who neatly turned in a centre from Pouv Ratha.
The second half started scrappily and it took a wicked shot from Phouchung's Wilson Mene that rebounded off the crossbar to kick-start both teams into action.
In the blink of an eye, the ball fell loose in the Navy penalty box and Plong Chanthou wasted no time in rifling an unstoppable drive into the top corner to extend Spark's lead on 55 minutes.
Five minutes later, Heng Sokly grabbed his second goal of the game for Phouchung, when he held off a challenge and steered his shot around Spark keeper Pouv Raksa.
Barely a minute later, Spark had restored their advantage and it was that man Justine again. Streaking clear and latching onto a 30-yard pass from Henry Asonibe, red-hot hitman Justine cooly finished with aplomb, and followed up with a celebratory backwards somersault.
The rest of the match see-sawed between ends, with Justine having another two chances to notch a hat trick, but to no avail. The Navy's Heng Sokly was also denied a third goal.
Spark's win takes them into the top four of the CPL standings, although Naga Corp could reclaim the place Wednesday.
Photos by Nick Sells (www.nicksellsphotography.com)