Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Crown wobble but clinch top spot

Crown wobble but clinch top spot

Crown wobble but clinch top spot

Phnom Penh Crown hold out for a nervy 3-2 victory over resilient Prek Pra Keila on Wednesday

Phnom Penh Crown were made to sweat for the three points against a dogged Prek Pra Keila on Wednesday, but their hard-fought 3-2 win saw them leapfrog Naga Corp to the top of the Metfone C-League standings.

Crown, coming off from their 9-1 thrashing Sunday of Chhma Khmao, looked ready for another goalfest, but had their nerves tested as Prek Pra pegged two goals back after being three down to give the game an exciting finale.

Crown showed their intentions early, with Prek Pra guilty of playing too high up the pitch. It was evident these tactics would be their undoing when, in the fifth minute, Uche Prince Justine beat an offside trap but hit his attempt straight into keeper Yok Ary’s hands.

Crown eventually opened the scoring nine minutes later, when a superb cross from Chan Chaya found Justine at the edge of the six-yard box. He eluded the defence to volley past Yok Ary.

Despite the goal, Crown were unable to assert their dominance, with some stunning football by Prek Pra keeping the favourites on edge. A strike by Feut Soulkiphly came within inches of the equaliser in the 19th minute, while a shot on the other end by Justine scampered well wide moments later.

The next quarter of an hour became a slogfest, with neither team managing to gain the upper hand. However, two penalties to Crown in quick succession around the half-hour mark saw the game swing firmly in their favour.

Justine was brought down inside the box by Prek Pray’s Christopher Kingston in what appeared to be a soft challenge, but the referee immediately pointed to the spot.

Amazingly, Justine’s penalty attempt was punched away, but Chan Chaya controlled the rebound and slotted the ball home for a 2-0 lead.

Just two minutes later, in a case of history repeating, Kingston was given a yellow card for an identical challenge on Justine in the area, with the striker redeeming himself from the spotkick to give Crown a three-goal advantage at the break.

With the score threatening to become a blowout, the underdogs showed their fighting spirit and made a game of it in the second half. Just five minutes after the restart, Denis Nwaizu sent a cross into the box, with Sos Souhana controlling a Mat Hassan nod down to send the ball into the bottom corner.

The goal seemed to spur the team and just moments later, substitute You Arafat brilliantly set up Hassan, who fired home in similar fashion to bring the margin back to within one.

Prek Pray missed some wonderful opportunities to draw level against a tiring Crown side, none more so than in the 84th minute when, with the keeper at his mercy, Sos Souhana’s shot sailed over the posts.

Nevertheless, Crown managed to hold on for the win, which saw them jump over juggernauts Naga Corp to top spot in the league standings on goal difference. Prek Pra, meanwhile, remain rooted in the relegation zone.

Crown manager Makara Be was furious with his side’s performance, in particular their notable lack of stamina towards the end.

“We were lucky to have won this match,” he declared. “We started brightly and were coasting home before my players suddenly lost gas. I am happy with the result, but not the performance.

“We rotated the squad to give the players a breather,” he added. “But they were tired in the second half, and full credit to Prek Pra for their good performance.”

Makara Be also blamed the fact that his players had stayed up to watch Wednesday’s late World Cup matches, which kicked off at 1:30am, citing it as a reason for the lacklustre performance.

MOST VIEWED

  • NagaWorld casinos set to reopen, schools to follow

    NAGACORP Ltd has requested that it be allowed to reopen its NagaWorld integrated resorts in Phnom Penh after the government recently approved casinos to operate again, provided they follow Covid-19 prevention measures set by the Ministry of Health. Mey Vann, the director-general of the Ministry

  • Rubber exports stretch 17%

    Cambodia exported 97,175 tonnes of natural rubber in the first five months of this year, surging 17 per cent compared to the same period last year as the Covid-19 pandemic stretches on, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries official Khuong Phalla told The Post on Thursday. Phalla,

  • ASEM supports Kingdom’s proposal to postpone meeting amid Covid

    The 13th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM13) scheduled to be held in Cambodia in November has been postponed until mid-2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation press statement released on Saturday said. The decision was made during a two-day meeting

  • Coffee maker roasted for producing fake product

    The Ministry of Interior’s Counter Counterfeit Committee will send a suspect to court on Monday after she allegedly roasted coffee mixed with soybeans and other ingredients, creating a product which could pose a high risk to consumers’ health. On the afternoon of July 2, the

  • Cash handout programme 80% complete

    Minister of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation Vong Soth confirmed on Thursday that the implementation of the Cash Transfer Programme For Poor and Vulnerable Households During Covid-19 had been implemented for more than 80% of the over 560,000 families. The programme was introduced one week ago.

  • Cambodia armed with money laundering laws

    Money laundering will now carry a penalty of up to five years in prison while those convicted of financing terrorists will be jailed for up to 20 years, according to new laws promulgated by King Norodom Sihamoni and seen by The Post on Thursday. Comprising nine

  • Where is Cambodia’s exit strategy that can save the economy?

    With the prospect of being slammed by a double whammy, the government is working on an economic recovery plan to deliver it from Covid-19 and the EU’s partial withdrawal of the Everything But Arms scheme in the next two to three years Cambodia is

  • Schools to be reopened in ‘three stages’

    With guidance from Prime Minister Hun Sen, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, is in the process of reopening schools in three stages. But no timeline has been set, ministry spokesperson Ros Soveacha said on Thursday. Soveacha said the first stage will be to

  • Thai border crossings eased

    The Cambodian Embassy in Thailand said in an announcement on Wednesday that Thailand’s government has allowed certain passengers from several countries to enter its borders. The visitors must go back to their country immediately after their duties in Thailand are fulfilled, the embassy said.

  • Gov’t says tourism recovers slightly despite pandemic

    The Ministry of Tourism and the Phnom Penh municipal administration have recognised 33 tourism businesses in the capital which have consistently implemented safety measures for tourists and adhered to the code of conduct issued by the ministry. Recently, the ministry announced that tourism businesses had to