Superior fire power carried the day for title holders Phnom Penh Crown as they stretched their lead at the top of the Metfone C-League standings on Saturday after an emphatic 2-0 victory over Chhlam Samuth at Olympic Stadium.
Very much against the odds and expectations, it had been a spirited three-match run for new comers Chhlam Samuth, but on the day the Sea Sharks were relatively toothless as Crown efficiently and effectively caged them into submission.
However, it was the Sharks who threatened a strike first when Meas Sophanna found the range but not the reach. The reigning champions responded instantly with a decisive counter. A moment of distraction in the backline led to a snap goal by Kouch Sokumpheak in the 29th minute, signalling the talented striker’s welcome return to goal scoring ways.
The growing anxiety in the Chhlam Samuth camp was quite evident even as Crown pressed home their advantage with some sharp moves after the breather.
Just when the Sharks were recovering their poise, with crafty midfielder Abosede Olab displaying his skills of control and distribution, in came a nasty challenge on Crown frontliner Chan Chaya by impetuous goalkeeper Sam Chamroeun. The U19 national team recruit timed his advance so poorly that he ended up with a yellow card and conceded a penalty. Captain Tieng Tiny sent Chamroeun the wrong way with a calm finish and Crown were looking for a quick wrap up.
With the equation on the pitch loaded in their favour, Crown’s Croatian coach Bojan Hodak slipped in teenager Hong Peng for his league debut in replacement of Sokhumpeak. After a long and anxious wait the youngster could not have hoped for a better setting, though he couldn’t come up with anything spectacular.
At the end of the game, Sharks management said the team were disappointed but not downhearted. There was some cheer that the midfield had again been manned efficiently by Olab, striking a good rapport with fellow Nigerian Sanny Dauda who came up with several pleasing drive ins and a couple of sharpish shots.
With victory Crown moved to 10 points at the summit, while Chhlam Samuth remained on seven points.
Kirivong stun Rithy Sen 5-0
Metfone C-League freshers Rithy Sen are fast acquiring a reputation as the whipping boys of the 2011 season. With just one goal to show for all their troubles and three heavy defeats, the tail-enders plunged to another low, this time a 5-0 thrashing at the hands of Kirivong Sok Sen Chey in Saturday’s late game.
Nigerian hitman Sunday Silva played a pivotal role, opening the scoring on 42 minutes and collecting his second after the break. Fellow countryman Nelson Oladiji netted his own brace in the second half, while Ouk Thorn rounded off the rout just past the hour mark.
The change of ends was a total change of fortune for Kirivong as Sunday and Oladiji came tellingly into the fold, often scattering the Rithy Sen defence. But for another bold display by Rithy Sen goalkeeper Oum Veasna, who even took a hard blow on his face from Sunday’s boot, the scoreline would have been even more galling for the Kampong Chhnang based side.
The only blot for Kirivong on an otherwise satisfying day was the marching orders given to Heng Kim Houng for two yellow cards.
Amid the overwhelming images of Rithy Sen scurrying for cover from Kirivong attacks most of the time, there was one notable effort worth recalling. A powerful freekick from Pov Phearith rammed the crossbar early in the game.
Missed chances like these hardly make up for the misery on the pitch, as the league newcomers found out to their chagrin. As Kirivong moved up to second step up in the standings to with seven points over Saturday night, Rithy Sen bottomed out the table.