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Goalfests, stalemates in MCL

Naga Corp’s Teab Vathanak (left) is challenged by Build Bright United’s Yamagata Yusuke during their Metfone C-League clash
Naga Corp’s Teab Vathanak (left) is challenged by Build Bright United’s Yamagata Yusuke during their Metfone C-League clash at the Old Stadium on Saturday. Sreng Meng Srun

Goalfests, stalemates in MCL

Scuffed chances on both sides marked a hard fought goal-less draw between Western University and Ministry of National Defence in a Metfone C-League tie at the Olympic Stadium yesterday.

The university-backed side enjoyed a slight advantage in the first half while the Armymen had greater say in the second session, but neither side could pack a punch that would hurt the other.

Western’s attacking spearhead David Njoku came tantalisingly close to a goal twice but on the day the stars seemingly refused to align in his favour. A firm Njoku shot from the top of the box was well anticipated by MND goalkeeper Oum Vichet and next time around, the striker sent the ball soaring over the crossbar from closer range.

The Armymen, somewhat subdued in the first half, came out charging in the second, stumbling upon a fair number of set piece chances. While most of MND’s flagkicks created a stir in the Western box, none of the half a dozen posed a real threat.

Western coach Meas Sam Oeun introduced a double substitution on the hour mark to reorganise his attacking formations but none of his schemes would work against a side that put up a stout defence while losing no chance to counter attack. In the final analysis, sharing a point each seemed a fair deal for both.

In Saturday’s action at the Old Stadium, last year’s runners-up Boeung Ket suffered their second successive defeat, this time at the hands of National Police Commissary following their last week’s loss to TriAsia, ironically by the same 2-1 scoreline.

After a first half that produced thrills but no goals, the second half came bustling into life when Tani Reuni gave the Police a 1-0 advantage.

Former Svay Rieng striker Khuon Laboravy, who joined the Boeung Ket ranks this season, leveled the score ten minutes later. But the Police redoubled their effort and Ul Ravy got the go-ahead goal as late as the 88th minute to deal Boeung Ket a serious blow. It may still be early days in the league but for any side, back-to-back defeats should be quite unsettling.

Coming out of last week’s goal-less draw against Kirivong Sok Sen Chey, Naga presented a completely different outlook when they met Build Bright United. What followed was a pleasing transformation and a 5-0 victory for the 2009 champions.

It took just 12 minutes for Naga to size up the opposition and Sun Sovannarithy was the first to crack the BBU resolve when he nailed the opening goal and came back bang on regulation time to complete his double.

In between Sovannarithy’s deserving brace came goals in the second half courtesy of South Korean Jang In Yong and Choun Chum, with Meak Chordaravuth rounding off the dominant performance.

Naga coach Prak Sovannara’s take on the big margin of victory was interesting. “All the clubs this season are stronger and more competitive [than last year],”he told the Post.

“We have learned a lot about our rivals, both their strengths and weaknesses. We could gain an upper hand because we played as a unit and BBU mostly stuck to individualistic play.

“The big obstacles remain heavyweights like Boeung Ket, Svay Rieng and Phnom Penh Crown,” added Sonannara, who is back as Naga head coach after spending the last season with the national team.

TriAsia batter Niigata
New entrants TriAsia scored a huge 8-1 win over Albirex Niigata in an evening fixture at the Olympic Stadium on Saturday. The victory took the top tier first seasoners to the top of the table, ahead of some of the big guns at least for that celebratory evening.

An ecstatic TriAsia coach Daisuke Yoshioka said he was pleased with the way the attacking formations he had set out worked.

“My aim was to not only stabilise the side by using experienced players but also to streamline our attack. We had the game our way from the word go,” Yoshioka stated in an interview posted on the club’s facebook fanpage yesterday.

A hat-trick by hard working midfielder Kouch Dany was the feature of TriAsia’s second win in three games. Chan Raksmey chipped in with a double while Chan Rithy, Vy Lika and Kihara Masakazu contributed a goal each. For Albirex, Pen Chanthy scored a solitary consolation goal.

In Saturday’s opening fixture, reigning champions Svay Rieng were held to a surprise goalless draw by Asia Europe University.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY CHENG SERYRITH

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