IN a climax fit for the theatre, a resurgent Build Bright United brought down a highly motivated Khemara Keila 2-1 with an injury-time match winner in their Metfone C-League match at Olympic Stadium yesterday. Stepping in as a substitute during an action-packed second half, BBU spearhead Nuth Sinoun was spot on with his late penalty to seize victory after captain Prum Puthsethy had fired a 61st minute equaliser to Suon Makara’s sixth-minute goal that Khemara had diligently held on to.
In a rare, mad rush inside the Khemara goal, BBU defender Thul Sothearath was knocked down inside the box by Khemara substitute Khan Kat with hardly seconds left on the clock. Referee Kuong Ly flashed a yellow card and made no hesitation in awarding the penalty. A calm conversion later, BBU were celebrating a win that had seemed highly unlikely.
This thrilling match hauled BBU into second in the league standings on 39 points, with their final table finish depending on the outcome of the Phnom Penh Crown v Preah Khan Reach encounter this Saturday.
In a game where Khemara had nothing to lose and BBU everything to gain, the early bustle came from a three-man link of Kuoch Sokumpheak, Suon Makara and Huo Sambo that forced BBU on the backfoot.
It was one such chain that put Khemara in front, with Sokumpheak squaring the ball right across the goal mouth for the advancing Suon Makara to polish off.
The response from the University-backed side was long and painful. There were several prominent crosses that went begging, while runs down the wing were well-blocked and the central Khemara defence remained solid.
When BBU brought on fresh legs, their midfield regained its fluidity leading to the captain’s timely strike just after the hour mark. Once parity was restored, BBU attacked with renewed vigour, and although the Khemara backline held its own, that fateful late incident made all the difference.
The Khemara camp had reasons to be satisfied with the team’s showing at the tail end of the campaign and had garnered enough positives to stay optimistic for next season. The team management, however, had a quirky feeling that the side had let BBU off the hook.