Preah Khan Reach’s Tum Saray (centre) goes for a high ball against Build Bright United’s Chan Veasna during their game on Saturday. Photo by: Sreng Meng Srun
After a protracted battle for supremacy, title holders Phnom Penh Crown found a solitary match-winner in Kouch Sokumpheak’s 82nd minute strike to wear down National Defence Ministry in their Metfone C-League game at Olympic Stadium on Saturday.
Dogged by an own goal, Build Bright United went down 2-1 to last year’s runners-up Preah Khan Reach in the day’s second match.
A winning start for caretaker coach Bouy Dary following the exit of Croatian tactician Bojan Hodak helped Crown clamber back on top of the table with 17 points, one ahead of hard chasing Naga Corp. The third defeat for the Armymen leaves them mid-table with 12 points.
The Army’s tales of woe began as early as the 17th minute when their trusted goalkeeper Sou Yati, who is among the most agile of the league, hurt himself in a goal mouth incident following an attempt by Crown striker Anthony Obadin.
A hand injury to Yati forced him to be replaced by U19 national team keeper Oum Vichet, who handled a tough job well enough until the guiles of Kouch Sokumpheak beat him hollow.
While the Crown strikers misfired a couple of times, the Army attack threw away gilt edged chances in search for that elusive equaliser.
PKR peg back BBU
BBU are the most generous when it comes to own goals this season, and the University backed side succumbed to another early on against PKR. Nhim Sovanara’s anxiety got the better of him in dealing with a Khoun Laboravy shot and the BBU backliner turned the ball into his own net.
Armed with this gift, PKR tried their best to keep the initiative only to lose it minutes before the break. Making up for his earlier mistake, Nhim Sovanara delivered a terrific free kick for unmarked Pich Sena to head the ball home and level the scores.
The first notable change on the pitch was the introduction of promising youngster Chea Samnang in place of the vastly experienced Sam El Nasa. But PKR had to wait at least half an hour for that substitution to reap dividends.
To the amazement of his teammates, Chea Samnang fired the tie-clinching goal in the 86th minute to ensure PKR’s third straight win.
It has been a topsy turvy campaign so far this season for the Military Police backed side, who are just beginning to find their feet coming into the seventh week of this competition. BBU has been the worst off among last year’s top four, struggling with just seven points.