Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Crown claim sweet revenge on Naga in semi

Crown claim sweet revenge on Naga in semi

Crown claim sweet revenge on Naga in semi

Photo by: Sreng Meng Srun
Phnom Penh Crown's Chan Dara challenges Naga Corp's Sun Sovanrithy during their Metfone C-League Super 4 playoff semifinal yesterday at Olympic Stadium.

Naga Corp 2 Phnom Penh Crown 4
A spectacular second-half surge by league toppers Naga Corp was inadequate to contain lion-hearted Phnom Penh Crown as mercurial striker Uche Prince Justine’s regal touch helped his side settle an old score for an emphatic 4-2 victory in their Super 4 playoff at Olympic Stadium yesterday. The rip-roaring Crown win, watched by a huge turnout, set up a final showdown with Preah Khan Reach for seasonal honours this Saturday.

For the second year running, the league’s fourth place finishers overcame the top team in the playoff semifinals, with the roles reversed last time out for the casino backed sides.

There were also shades of their Samdech Hun Sen Cup semifinal earlier this year, when Crown registered a first half scoreline of 3-0, only for Naga to storm back to level pegging in the second period but then lose on penalties. This time out, Crown took another 3-0 cushion into the break, before Naga staged another comeback with two quick goals as another thrilling finish looked on the cards. But two minutes before the final hooter, Crown midfielder Sun Sopanha settled the argument once and for all with the screamer of a free kick into the top corner to echo his thunderous first half strike.

Crown manager Be Makara expressed his satisfaction with the result. “I was very confident, my team was very confident and our second round victory acted as a spur,” he said. “We saw it coming.”

Naga coach Prak Sovanara, meanwhile, took a more philosophical tone. “We let Crown too far ahead in the first half. Our second half display was good, but as it turned out not good enough.”

Crown opted for a one-man strike force consisting of Uche Prince Justine, resting the towering Olisa Onyemerea to give preference to strengthening the midfield.

After a couple of initial thrusts had gone to the Naga account, the tide turned the other way with Crown's breakaways having far more sting and depth. A long haul in the box by midfielder Srey Veasana’s seemed a safe collection for Naga keeper Kha Kheara, until Justine’s crept in to plant a firm header for the opener.

Minutes later, a piercing run by Justine was rashly curtailed by one of the Naga defenders, and the resultant free kick from the edge of the area was just the kind that Sun Sopanha thrives upon. His kick was duly whipped over the wall and nestled in the top corner.

Having scored the first and then created the next, it was then Justine's turn to assist for the third. His delightful on the run pass to the fast moving Sok Pheng set him up a fierce drive that went between the goalkeeper’s legs.

However, victory against Naga should never be taken for granted, and within minutes of the restart, Yemi Oyewole had pulled one back. The Nigerian midfielder was the tallest man in the bunch to deal with a dipping corner kick to offer a cool headed finish.

Crown defenders Thul Sothea and Tieng Tany then produced a costly intervention on Teab Vatanak, who was awarded a penalty after being sent crashing to the turf. Sun Sovanarithy banged the spotkick home to reduce the margin to 3-2.

Crown stopper Peng Bunchhay came up with the save of the match when he tipped over Meas Channa's cheeky chip. Then, with time nearly up, Crown netted their fourth through the sublime Sun Sopanha to put the result beyond doubt. Crown now wait for their potential coronation next Saturday, while Naga will face BBU Friday for third place.

MOST VIEWED

  • PM to vet NY holiday dates

    The Ministry of Economy and Finance submitted a letter to Prime Minister Hun Sen asking him to formally set a five-day national holiday from August 17-21 to make up for the Khmer New Year holiday in April that was postponed. Finance minister Aun Pornmoniroth sent

  • Cambodia rejects UN rights claim

    Cambodia's Permanent Mission to the UN Office in Geneva on Friday hit back at David Kaye, the UN special rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression after he raised concerns over the repression of free speech and

  • Snaring may spawn diseases

    The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has warned that snaring of animals has become a crisis that poses a serious risk to wildlife in Southeast Asia and could spawn the transmission of zoonotic diseases to humans. Its July 9 report entitled Silence of the Snares: Southeast Asia’

  • Ex-party leader, gov’t critic named as secretary of state

    A former political party leader known for being critical of the government has been appointed secretary of state at the Ministry of Rural Development, a royal decree dated July 9 said. Sourn Serey Ratha, the former president of the Khmer Power Party (KPP), told The Post

  • Residence cards set for over 80,000 immigrants

    The Ministry of Interior plans to grant residence cards to more than 80,000 immigrants to better keep track of them. The ministry announced the plan on July 10, following the results of an immigration census. “An inter-ministerial committee and many operational working groups have been set up

  • Kingdom produces PPE gear

    Medical supplies from Cambodia have been donated to member countries of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to assist in the fight against Covid-19, said an ADB report published on July 9. The report stated that the supplies were donated as a response to global efforts to

  • Kingdom, US vow stronger ties

    At an academic forum on Saturday to celebrate 70 years of Cambodia-US diplomatic ties, Cambodian researchers and officials expressed hope of encouraging US investments and for that country to deepen and improve its bilateral relations. Held at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, it reviewed the past 70

  • ‘Single Portal’ integrated registration system welcomes nearly 50 firms

    Forty-seven companies have successfully registered via a newly-launched information technology e-business registration platform as of the end of the second week of this month, Ministry of Economy and Finance secretary of state Phan Phalla said. Six ministries and state-run institutions have been integrated into a

  • Battambang artist brings giant animals to life

    The giant reptile’s gaping mouth appears ready to consume its latest victim. It stands taller than a person and is incredibly life-like with authentic colours, a long spiky tail and detailed scales adorning its entire body. If it wasn’t 13m long, you may

  • Fifteen Cambodians from Saudi get Covid-19

    The Ministry of Health on Sunday confirmed 15 more imported cases of Covid. The 15 men ‒ all Cambodian aged 21 to 33 ‒ arrived from Saudi Arabia on Friday via a connecting flight in Malaysia. They were travelling with 79 other passengers, three of them women. The ministry said 80 of the