Kirivong Sok Sen Chey watched in horror as their two-goal cushion disappeared in a matter of minutes with Svay Rieng FC restoring parity late in the second half to force an honourable 2-2 draw in a Metfone C-League tie at Olympic Stadium yesterday.
After a somewhat even, goal-less first session, Kirivong stormed ahead in the 50th minute when Ek Vannak rammed in a rebound. The visitors from Takeo doubled the lead when substitute Savorn Rathnak Visal turned his first touch into a screamer of a goal from no less than 25 yards and Kirivong appeared to be coasting home.
Then came a twist as late in the 76th minute that would poke a dagger into the Kirivong heart. A powerful volley from Sok Rithy off a set piece sequence following a flag kick, brushed the inside of the right post and angled into the goal.
Within two minutes of this unexpected event came another blow. This time striker Khun Laboravy tapped the ball in after a goal-mouth fracas even as the Kirivong backline were looking pleadingly at a hesitant linesman, who clearly had his flag up for an offside call.
The referee, who was better placed to judge the situation, was in no doubt that the goal was legitimate. It stood and so did Svay Rieng’s pride in eking out a draw that had seemed unlikely barely minutes before.
The one point that Svay Rieng had to fight so hard for helped them to a total of 23 and a clear second behind the runaway leaders Boeung Ket Rubber Field.
The draw took Kirivong’s 12-game total to 18 points. For less than hour they held fourth slot in the standings. That was until Naga Corp’s destruction of Senate Secretariat.
Naga’s 12-0 win hauled them past Phnom Penh Crown into third with Kirivong sliding down to fifth.
Choun Chum led the Naga goal hunt with six, Teab Vathanak hit a double while Prak Chanratana, Anderson Zogbe, Sun Sovanrithy and Chhim Sambo contributing a goal each.