Phnom Penh Crown edge out Kirivong Sok Sen Chey 2-0 Wednesday to go level in the table, while Naga Corp throw away a two-goal lead against Khemara Keila
Photo by: NICK SELLS nicksellsphotography.com
Phnom Penh Crown’s Keo Sokngorn (left) tries to beat Kirivong Sok Sen Chey’s Long Sopharith during their Cambodian Premier League game Wednesday.
Photo by: NICK SELLS nicksellsphotography.com
Khemara Keila’s Nhem Pheara (left) crunches in a challenge on Naga Corp’s Yemi Oyewole during their CPL game Wednesday at Olympic Stadium.
Aquickfire double in the second half was enough for Phnom Penh Crown to cruise to victory against second-placed Kirivong Sok Sen Chey Wednesday afternoon at Olympic Stadium.
An absorbing first half did not produce any goals but a number of chances came the way of both teams. In fact, it took just 30 seconds for the first effort on goal, when Kirivong's Julius Chukwumeka picked the ball up outside the box, cut inside his man and hit a rasping left-footed drive which the keeper just managed to tip over.
It was then Crown's turn to waste an opportunity when, in the 12th minute, a long ball over the top caught out the Kirivong defence and found Tunji Ayoyinka. The big striker had ample opportunity to lob onrushing Kem Makara, but instead succeeded only in taking a succession of poor touches and running the ball into the keeper's arms.
Just five minutes later though, Ayoyinka almost made up for his miss when a clever feint inside the box sold his marker and the hitherto cumbersome forward hit a fierce shot which Kem Makara was grateful to palm away.
The closest either side came to a goal was in the 32nd minute, when Mim Sophal raced down the left wing, shaped to cross but cut inside the defender before hitting a glorious effort with his instep, beating the goalkeeper but cracking the post and rebounding to safety.
If the first half was goalless but interesting, the second was somewhat the inverse. Crown dominated for the most part but there had been few incidents of note up until the 76th minute when they finally took the lead. Ek Sovannara floated over a cross from the right, which was misjudged by Kem Makara to allow Ayoyinka to get just about got enough on his header and see the ball cross the line.
The game was sewn up for the reigning champions just two minutes later, when Chan Chhaya, a real livewire since his 50th-minute introduction, sped past Long Sopharith and into the box. The defender was close enough to make a wild lunge however, and from the resultant penalty Keo Sokngorn blasted Crown's second to put them level on points and goal difference with their opponents.
Khemara Keila 2, Naga Corp 2
A second-half goal explosion in Wednesday's second game saw Khemara Keila and Naga Corp both blow the chance to go second, although it will be Naga applying the more potent self-flagellation after they let slip a two-goal lead.
It took just four minutes for a great opening to come Naga's way when Meas Channa whipped in a free-kick from the right. The goalkeeper was flailing and the ball was met by Teab Vathanak whose header somehow contrived to bounce up and over the unguarded goal.
Naga were on top for much of the opening period, and their dominance was rewarded after 15 minutes when Teab Vathanak atoned for his earlier miss with a fantastic solo goal. After picking the ball up on the edge of the area, the Cambodian international somehow managed to burst between three players and still have the presence of mind to caress the ball past Mak Theara.
Only two minutes later and it was almost two when Sunday Okonkwo managed to get a shot away, from a seemingly impossible angle, which clipped the far post and bounced away from danger.
Khemara Keila had offered surprisingly little going forward given their exciting strike duo, although Kuoch Sokumpheak went close twice before the interval.
In the 65th minute, Naga scored their second when Friday Nwakuna produced a beautiful, pirouette-like turn direct from a throw in and rolled the ball across to Okonkwo to tap in. Naga were on top and two goals ahead, it looked like a formality but Khemara's front two ensure they are never out of any game.
On 72 minutes, Anthony Alichigozie pulled back the first for Khemara when a deflected shot from Kuoch Sokumpheak fell kindly for him and the athletic striker applied a simple finish at the far post. Naga's Yemi Oyewole then missed a wonderful opportunity to head his side further ahead before Cambodia's golden boy, Kuoch Sokumpheak stole a point for his side.
Nwakuna gave away a needless free-kick on the left of his box, and David Adeyinka stepped up to deliver a low, whipped ball into the box. Kuoch Sokumpheak had stolen ahead of his marker and managed to glance a sumptuous header past the keeper and into the far corner for an unlikely but wonderfully dramatic equaliser.