Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Apollo rockets in late winner for PKR, Prek Pra hold MND

Apollo rockets in late winner for PKR, Prek Pra hold MND

Apollo rockets in late winner for PKR, Prek Pra hold MND

Photo by: Sreng Meng Srun
Prek Pra Keila keeper Yom Ary (below) makes a vital save against National Defence Ministry’s Khim Borey (front, left) during their league match yesterday.

Preah Khan Reach 3 Wat Phnom 2
Preah Khan Reach should thank their lucky stars for substitute Ande Apollo’s last-gasp winner in their sensational 3-2 victory over a never-say-die Wat Phnom in the Metfone C-League at the Olympic Stadium yesterday. After Wat Phnom had bounced back with a late equaliser five minutes before time, Nigerian forward Apollo came to PKR’s rescue with a strike barely seconds before the final whistle.

If chances were goals, military police-backed PKR should have ended up with at least half a dozen. Solid defending and inspired breakaways by Wat Phnom put a cap on PKR’s relentless efforts, which were headed by a hardworking front trio of Khoun Laboravy, Prak Mony Udom and Sok Chanrasmey.

An audacious early goal from Wat Phnom’s Plong Chanthou caused quite a stir on 12 minutes, spurring PKR into action in pursuit of a leveler. Finally, a calmly headed finish five minutes before the break by Laboravy, off a neat move with his strike partners, gave the military police team some breathing space.

Another three-way passing bout paid dividends for PKR moments after the restart, when Chan Reaksmey was presented with a gem of a final pass to find the net with aplomb.

A plethora of spurned chances ensued, including a few off the post, before a random raid from Wat Phnom brought the sides level late on. Ry Phearoeun made the most of a disjointed PKR defence to make it 2-2.

However, super sub Ande Apollo emerged as the hero, with his goal at the death ensuring PKR move up to joint third with BBU in the league table.

MND 0 Prek Pra Keila 0
In yesterday’s second match of swiftly changing patterns that led to a goalless draw, reigning Samdech Hun Sen Cup champions National Defence Ministry were forced to share spoils by rock bottom Prek Pra Keila.

For all their superiority on paper and some long spells of domination on the pitch, the Army men simply couldn’t crack Prek Pra’s resolve in a fight to the finish and were left to rue their numerous near misses. Prek Pra also could’ve counted themselves unlucky, having squandered their fair share of opportunities.

“It was an honourable draw, and I am proud of what my boys have achieved today,” said Prek Pra coach Yep Phirum, who fielded a youthful lineup. “We were squarely beaten by the same team when we met in the first round. [But today] we managed a draw, and credit for this goes to all my players.

“I am also happy with the way some of our youngsters performed today. I am confident with more match experience they will do well,” he said.

MND coach Op Sam An, meanwhile, was at a loss to explain their sudden drop in form. “I really do not know what went wrong,” he said. “We did not play to our full potential. I have to discuss this with the players and find out what happened.”

The Army saw a lot more of the ball than Prek Pra and had a decidedly better organised midfield, yet when it came to the crucial conversion from possession to penetration, the side was always found wanting.

Prek Pra conjured three worthy attempts of their own. A long hack from the centre by the youthful Mat Hasan sailed inches over the bar, and substitute Put Sotheara smashed the ball into the side net when he had only the goalkeeper to beat. Most memorable for the crowd was Sen Soukey’s stinging drive that drew the sharpest reflexes from MND goalkeeper Samreth Seiha.

The Prek Pra goal nearly fell in the dying minutes, but the threat passed and with it MND’s hope of making a match of it.