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Naga add to Khemara's woes

Naga add to Khemara's woes

Naga Corp issued Khemara Keila’s fifth straight Metfone C-League defeat Wednesday, with Yemi Oyewole and Chin Chum scoring at Olympic Stadium


Naga Corp’s Yemi Oyewole (left) powers past Khemara Keila’s Ouk Chheng Hat during their Metfone C-League match Wednesday at Olympic Stadium.

Naga Corp’s Chin Chum (right) heads past Khemara Keila keeper Ly Sok Heng to open the scoring Wednesday.
Photos by Nick Sells (www.nicksellsphotography.com)

NAGA Corp’s second game in four days Wednesday following their return from Myanmar and the AFC President’s Cup ended in a largely pedestrian 2-0 victory over Khemara Keila at Olympic Stadium.

Khemara were looking to end their recent losing streak, which included Sunday’s 5-1 thrashing at the hands of Metfone C-League leaders Build Bright United. However, two goals either side of the interval from Naga’s Chin Chun and Yemi Oyewole confined coach Solomon Demagudu’s side to their fifth straight defeat.

Naga coach Prak Sovanara had urged his men to play at a high tempo before the game, but it was Khemara who sprang off the blocks quicker with a good chance after six minutes. Naga keeper Kha Theara had to be alert to punch away Chhun Kirivatho’s effort, as Khemara failed to convert their momentum and allowed Naga a foothold in the game.

Meas Channa blasted a wayward shot past the Khemara goalframe to signal Naga’s intent on 16 minutes, and three minutes later the winger found himself in another dangerous position. A string of passes between Teab Vathanak and Yemi Oyewole opened up the Khemara rearguard before Oyewole sent a through pass to Meas Channa. Khemara defender Peter Olatunde raced back to shield a dangerous cutback and put the ball out for a corner.

The Nigerian soon came to the rescue again for Khemara, denying Teab Vatanak after Oyewole had made one of his mesmerising moves to outpace his marker.

Despite Naga’s dominance, they created few opportunities. Meas Channa should’ve done better when Khemara stopper Ly Sok Heng fumbled the ball to gift him a shot on the half-hour mark. However, the keeper redeemed himself by palming the strike away.

The best chance of the half fell to Oyewole at the edge of the six-yard box, but the Nigerian midfielder sent his header inches wide from Pok Chanthan’s tasty cross.

Naga kept piling on the pressure, and two minutes before the break the Khemara defence finally caved in. Oyewole, who had been causing problems with his pace and drive in the middle of the park, sent a reverse pass to Teab Vathanak on the right, who in turn sent a delicious lob across the danger area. Ly Sok Heng mistimed his catch, and the ball carried to Chin Chum to head home for the Naga lead.

The second period saw an improvement by Khemara, although it was the reigning champions who made the better chances. Oyewole continued to threaten, and could have doubled their advantage three minutes after the restart, but his shot was deflected by Ly Sok Heng.

Khemara responded with a chance of their own at the other end. Chhun Kirivatho’s strike was acrobatically saved by Kha Theara, who had virtually been on holiday for the best part of the match. Khemara’s Soun Makara came on for injured Hou Sambo in the 66th minute, and found himself played in between Samuel Oseika and Neang Chenla. Makara managed to squeeze off a shot, but Kha Theara blocked and then made a secondary dive to smother the ball after it had crept underneath him. The Naga keeper then came up with a big save 10 minutes from time, getting fingertips to a cracking volley by Suon Makara.

As the minutes ticked away, Naga finally put the game beyond doubt when Yemi Oyewole crowned his all-round display by curling in a 20-yard free kick on 83 minutes. With the victory, Naga maintained their fourth place and opened up a four-point gap on fifth placed Preah Khan Reach, and with a game in hand.

“We lost concentration and were punished for it,” said Khemara coach Demagudu after the game. “We have been woeful in the first round ... but [we] will go back and prepare for the second round, and hopefully our season will take off from there.” Khemara will be back at Olympic Stadium on June 9 against National Defence Ministry to kick start the second round of fixtures.

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