Ministry of National Defence and Preah Khan Reach Svay Rieng moved into Saturday’s Hun Sen Cup final after contrasting semifinal victories at the Olympic Stadium yesterday.
Holders Svay Rieng pulled off a sensational 3-2 penalty shootout win over Phnom Penh Crown after 120 minutes of play failed to break a goalless deadlock in the day’s first match.
The Army side shot down CMAC United 3-0 in a twilight encounter. Cambodia international Chhin Chhoeun drew first blood a minute after half-time and midfielder Ke Vannak doubled the lead in the 68th minute.
Having tied the CMAC defence in knots, Army’s search for another strike led Chhoeun to a well deserved brace in the 80th minute, ensuring a smooth passage for the 2010 winners.
Earlier in the afternoon, it was Svay Rieng goalkeeper Oum Outdom who paved the way for his side’s victory after saving the first two Crown spot-kicks from Kok Boris and Orn Chanpolin.
Nen Sothearoth had given Svay Rieng a 1-0 lead with his neat conversion. But Crown goalkeeper Keo Soksela gave his side some hope by intercepting Hoy Phalin’s next attemptChhom Pisa made it 1-1 for Crown but Sam Oeun Pidor was on target for Svay Rieng to ensure a 2-1 advantage. In Sodavid stepped in for Crown to draw level at 2-2 but Sareth Kriya once again took Svay Rieng to the front at 3-2.
Crown’s survival depended on Chantha Bin Thierry’s final attempt but he drove the ball over the bar.
Both keepers had shown remarkable poise in keeping clean sheets during an intense 90 minutes of action. While Soksela had intercepted attempts by Hoy Phalin and Sok Samnang, Oum Outdom at the other end was equally agile in tipping over a Leng Makara shot, the ball bouncing twice on the crossbar before dropping dead.
Crown, who enjoyed greater possession and showed better organisation on the pitch will regret missed opportunities by Keo Sokgnon very early in the game, and Keo Sokpheng and In Sodavid in the second half.