The top-of-the-table clash in the Metfone C-League between Preah Khan Reach Svay Rieng and Ministry of National Defence ended in a mean-spirited goalless draw marked by a clutch of bookings, physicality, verbal exchanges and even the dismissal of a club official at the Svay Rieng Stadium yesterday evening.
As much as the game was highly competitive on the pitch, both sides contributed in equal measure to heighten tensions as a spate of infringements led to arguments, making the match extremely difficult to officiate.
The draw means that both sides remain unbeaten after eight games, with two points separating Svay Rieng from the hard-chasing Army.
The much anticipated clash between the frontrunners began on a bright note for the home side as Ugochukwu Obi seriously tested Cambodia goalkeeper Oum Sereyrath before becoming the first of several players on either side to get into a fracas with the referee.
It took some time for Army to organise themselves, and typically it was North Korean spearhead Choe Myong-ho who raised the team’s hopes with first a curling free-kick and then another direct attempt during the first half.
With both sides maintaining the pressure, there were several action-packed moments at both ends, with Obi getting closer than anyone with a fierce right foot shot that was deflected by Sereyrath.
The Army also managed a couple of shots on target but none serious enough to threaten a goal.
Towards the closing stages, a rough tackle by Svay Rieng’s Kim Nam Gun led to some tense exchanges among players and staff from both sides, which resulted in one local official being asked to leave the ground.
At about the same time, defending champions Boeung Ket were gradually gaining the upper hand over NagaWorld at Olympic Stadium.
Boeung Ket went ahead before the breather through Esoh Paul Omogba, but Naga’s Atuheire Kipson levelled the scores early in the second half.But within minutes Boeung Ket regained the initiative when Silva grabbed the winner.
The most thrilling game of the day was played out at Phnom Penh Crown’s home RSN Stadium, where the six-time champions bounced back from a two-goal deficit to down newcomers Electricite du Cambodge 5-4.
Keo Sokngon, Brak Thiva, Sin Kakada, In Sodavid and Keo Sokpheng scored for Crown, while Norun, Chom and Rotha (two) got on the EDC scoresheet.
At the Old Stadium on Saturday, goals from Bisan George and Sameul Ajayi Gbenga helped Asia Europe United overcome National Police 2-1 after the 2014 Hun Sen Cup winners led by an early goal from Ol Ravy.