Khemara Keila and Preah Khan Reach advance from the last 16 with 5-0 wins over Prek Pra Keila and Oddar Meanchey
Photo by: NICK SELLS (www.nicksellsphotography.com)
Khemara Keila hat-trick hero Sophal Udom (centre) fends off attention from Prek Pra Keila’s Sen Makai during their Hun Sen Cup tie Sunday.
Khemara Keila were able to overcome the absence of superstar skipper Kuoch Sokumpheak to trounce newly promoted CPL club Prek Pra Keila 5-0 at Olympic Stadium Sunday and book their place in the Samdech Hun Sen Cup quarterfinals.
Khemara struggled initially to adjust to the loss of skipper Kuoch Sokumpheak – red-carded last week – as they bumbled plenty of scoring opportunities in the first half, most notably when Sophal Udom hit the woodwork on the half-hour.
However, the forward recovered to beautifully head home off a perfectly judged corner 10 minutes later to send his side into the interval 1-0 up.
Prek Pra continued to give it everything in the second half, but lacked the strike power or combinations up front to ever really threaten the goal, and when Khemara started to gel, the game was effectively over.
Sophal Udom belted home another header in the 54th minute, before Ty Bunvicheth sealed the blowout with a brace in the final 20 minutes. Sophal Udom had the last laugh, kicking home his hat-trick goal in injury time to bring up the final score.
PKR 5 Oddar Meanchey 0
In the later game Sunday, Preak Khan Reach (PKR) beat provincial minnows Oddar Meanchey by an identical scoreline in a game overshadowed by poor refereeing and PKR’s inability to dominate proceedings until late in the piece.
In a decision that drew considerable ire from the crowd, the referee showed a red card to Oddar Meanchey right back Sob Ravy in only the 13th minute for tackling from behind. The dismissal set a strong officiating precedent for the game, with the referee being overly pedantic in awarding three yellow cards for kicking the ball away.
Despite being a man down, the provincial squad conceded just one goal in the first period thanks to defenders Seng Lundy and Huy Ratana, who crowded the ball in the box and frustrated the Premier League heavyweights. With just two minutes left in the half, PKR captain Samel Nasa clipped in a perfect free kick from outside the box past the outstretched hands of the keeper.
The Oddar Meanchey defence stayed strong after the break until the 60th minute, when Samel Nasa lofted a pass to substitute Tum Saray, who nodded in to double their lead.
The game then quickly turned into a farce, with poor officiating infuriating Oddar Meanchey, and the stop-start nature of the match sapping the energy from the pro-underdogs crowd.
Two late goals by forward Heng Saravuth and another by striker Khounla Boravy made sure of PHR’s progression into the next round.
Oddar Meanchey manager Koeu Slaymann was livid with the performance of the referee, who was booed by the crowd whenever he came close to the main stand. “He made many wrong decisions, especially sending off my player in the early moments,” said the manager after the match. “The result might’ve been better for my team if we had the full eleven players for the match.”
PKR manager Prak Sovannara gave a diplomatic response to the questionable officiating. “We need a fair-play game, so the referee can send off the one who makes errors,” he noted. “The spectators had their reaction on [the red card], so it showed that our football sector has developed. They reacted strongly because they love the team, so it’s a good sign for football” in the Kingdom.
Khemara Keila and PKR will face each other in the quarterfinals at 4pm next Sunday.