Asia Europe’s Sary Matnorodin (L) contests an aerial battle with Preah Khan Reach’s Sok Samnang in yesterday’s game, Thursday, Dec. 27, 2012. Photograph: Sreng Meng Srun/Phnom Penh Post
Preah Khan Reach suffered a shock 3-1 defeat at the hands of Asia Europe University in their Group D clash in the seventh Samdech Hun Sen Cup at Old Stadium yesterday, inflicting a major dent on their hopes of lifting a third straight trophy.
From the offset, the Preah Vihear-based college club dictated the tempo and style of the game, allowing their military police-backed rivals no chance to establish their strengths of passing and creating space.
A broken-up PKR play granted Sary Matnorodin a one-on-one with keeper Aim Sovannarath, which the University man duly dispatched.
PKR were still blinking in astonishment when Matnorodin struck again, speeding down the left flank to fire in his second. From that point on, it was all about maintaining their lead.
Asia Europe threw as many men behind the ball as possible, with many suffering knocks for the cause to keep the medical staff busy. The time for a PKR comeback was fast running out, but, midway through the second session, Moung Makara sprang up to score a header off a cross from Sok Chanraksmey.
The inertia proved too great, however, with Asia Europe’s Cheng Sang scoring late on to condemn PKR to one of the biggest upsets in seven years of the Cambodian competition.
Group D’s late kick-off at Old Stadium involving two-time winners Phnom Penh Crown and cross-town minnows Khan Por Sen Chey held few surprises, with the two-time winners completing a 5-0 rout.
The gulf in class was laid bare in the first half as Crown dominated midfield and Por Sen Chey were reduced to a handful of half-chances off mistakes by the favourites.
Crown suffered a lack of conviction in their finishing, requiring a whole host of chances to net their first of the game in the 33rd minute. Mart Hassan hit a cross-come-shot that dumbfounded keeper Kul Samnang to nestle in the back of the net.
Soon after, the advantage was doubled via a free kick which deflected wildly off Por Sen Chey captain Sang Sarath.
Por Sen Chey continued to squander the scraps of chances gifted to them by Crown, with former national team player Hok Sotitya missing an open goal after the usually reliable Crown keeper Samrith Seiha had stumbled over the ball.
A goal from Mart Hassan and a brace by Khim Borey sealed the deal for Crown, with their new head coach Sam Schweingruber telling the Post he was “glad with how the game went”.
“We dominated the midfield and made a strong appearance in the first game. We have to watch out that we don’t do give our opponent too many chances by making mistakes in our defence.
“A better team could have punished us because of this today,” he said.
Regarding their future opponents in the group stage, Schweingruber noted that they had comfortably beaten Asia Europe in a friendly a couple weeks ago.
“But I must hand it to them, they played very clever today and it might become a harder challenge than we would have thought.”
Boeung Ket, Kirivong win
Reigning Metfone C-League champions Boeung Ket Rubber Field were never off the bit in outclassing Svay Rieng province 3-0 at Olympic Stadium yesterday.
Though Svay Rieng were totally ill-equipped to deal with a potent team like Boeung Ket, the provincial side did manage to defend well until the half-hour mark. The top-tier titleists opened the scoring through Chan Vathanaka and crossed over armed with that narrow lead.
The first-half scorer was back to double his contribution in the 61st minute. Savy Setsody rounded off the tally in the 81st minute.
In the day’s second Group C fixture, Kirivong Sok Sen Chey proved too strong and wily for Pailin in a runaway 6-0 victory.
The Takeo outfit’s goal hunt was led by Sok Pheng, who struck a fine hat-trick.
He was well supported by Chan Chhaya, Hour Sambo and Savoan Ratana Visa, who hammered in a goal each.