Build Bright United captain Rieng Bunheang (right) kicks past Naga Corp’s Chan Dara during their Metfone C-League game at Olympic Stadium yesterday. Naga won the tie 3-0 to move to third in the standings. Photograph: Sreng Meng Srun/Phnom Penh Post
Defending champions Boeung Ket Rubber Field had to stretch themselves to the fullest before recording a 1-0 win over National Police Commissary in a Metfone C-League tie at Olympic Stadium yesterday.
Substitute Chan Vathanaka was Boeung Ket’s man of the moment as he made a foxtrot into the Police box to produce the match winner in the 69th minute. A scattered Police backline and befuddled goalkeeper Yasuyuki Yoshida watched in horror as national team star Vathanaka made good his unchallenged dash and greeted an empty goal with a soft yet deft placement.
This costly defensive lapse apart, the Police had fought quite a battle on level terms with the title holders, who went into their sixth game without leading scorer and star striker Bisan George due to fitness concerns.
The sixth straight win for Boeung Ket gave them an impressive top perch on the table with 18 points, five clear of Preah Khan Reach, who climbed into the second spot after their hard earned 1-0 win over Phnom Penh Crown on Saturday.
Boeung Ket’s newest African recruit Jean Marie Private, who signed barely a week ago, was arguably the day’s star midfielder for the side. He caught the eye with some intricate moves and kept threatening the Police cordon.
But during the first half of equal opportunities it was Police midfielder Sim Vutha who had Boeung Ket goalkeeper Peng Bunchhay at his mercy before sending his final effort soaring over the bar.
Early in the second session, the hard working Boeung Ket midfielder Momoh Sumaila let fly a stunning drive from 25 yards out only to be spectacularly saved one-handed by Yasuyuki Yoshida. But the Police goal fell minutes later in pathetic fashion when dealing with Chan Vathanaka.
After their first loss in six outings, Police tally stands at 9 points from two wins and three draws.
PKR push down Crown
Saturday’s big fight at the Olympic Stadium went the way of Preah Khan Reach thanks to Khoun Laboravy’s 72nd minute winning header which settled the issue 1-0 against Phnom Penh Crown.
The PKR striker, who was left out of the national team which returned days ago from two humiliating defeats in Manila, was sharp and alert when he got his head to the end of a neat cross from Samoeurn Pidor.
There was no quarter asked or given as the two sides went against each other tooth and claw in the first half.
After chances, misses and honours were almost even for nearly an hour, Crown suffered the misfortune of a Khim Borey goal being disallowed, referee Tuy Vichika seeing a hand play a part in it to the extent that the forward was penalised with a yellow card for the infraction.
Crown keeper Samrith Seiha managed to keep Khoun Laboravy at bay in a tough one-on-one in the dying minutes but time had clearly run out for Crown.
AEU hold back Army team
In Saturday’s second fixture, Ministry of National Defence had to settle for another frustrating draw, their third in six games on the top of three defeats, this time Asia Europe University holding the Army men 1-1.
Meak Chhordaravuth gave MND a 48th minute lead but AEU found the equaliser through Thon Darapich in the 65th minute.
At the Old Stadium on Saturday, Kirivong Sok Sen Chey trounced Senate Secretariat 4-0 to take their tally to 11 points.
Naga Corp bump off BBU
Two-time champions Naga Corp had no qualms handling a disoriented Build Bright United in yesterday’s late kick-off. Naga won 3-0 with first-half goals coming from Chan Dara and Ibrahim Ishola. Substitute Teab Vathanak scored the third in the second session. Naga’s third victory in six matches brackets them level on points with Crown and Kirivong but ahead on goal difference to claim third place.
Troubles within the camp are clearly impacting BBU’s performance on the pitch as they crashed to their fourth defeat. With three draws and three points, the University-backed side has put the ball into the net only three times in seven matches.