The talismanic qualities of striker Julius Oiboh came to the fore yet again on Saturday as he struck two classy goals to drive Naga Corp past Preah Khan Reach 2-0 in their Metfone C-League tie at Olympic Stadium.
There are few strikers this season who are as tactical and tormenting as Oiboh, and his 17 goals in eight games have set him apart as the most feared striker in the competition.
It wasn’t until the half-hour mark that the Nigerian got going. But once he did, there was no stopping him.
Latching on to a stray ball from around the midfield, he worked his way to the top of the box, shaking off two of his pursuers into the bargain.
His splendid legwork left him with a simple knock into an unguarded net, as PKR goalkeeper Ouk Mich had wandered off his line to cover defenders.
This is the kind of solo strike that many teams have succumbed to when Oiboh gets the ball on the end of his boot.
Minutes before the breather, he nearly caused the crossbar to crack when he whipped in a right-footed blast from 20 metres out.
In one of their rare break-aways during the first session, PKR striker Khuon Laboravy saw Naga keeper Phon Ratana block his stinging first-timer from close range.
On resumption, however, the military police-backed side were again dealt a cruel blow.
This time, Oiboh invaded the privacy of the six-metre box and capped his daring dash with a side-foot stub into the net with at least three defenders around him.
A clearly shell-shocked PKR could hardly do anything right on their counters. A weighty cross by Prak Mony Odum had goal written all over it until Laboravy headed wide when presented with an open goal.
Crown make it look easy
Three backline blunders in the first quarter sealed Build Bright United’s fate on Saturday as Phnom Penh Crown nailed them with panache to grab a 4-1 victory and retain their four-point lead at the top the table.
Midfielder San Narith was the man of the moment for Crown as he touched his scoring best with a hat-trick that included two penalty conversions and an extra-time goal.
A triple-teaming on Crown striker Kuoch Sokumpheak led only to one of the BBU defenders bringing him down inside the box.
This seventh-minute penalty presented San Narith with his first opportunity to score, and he wrong-footed BBU goal- keeper Heng Simmay with a neat placement.
The nippy Crown striker was again at work, picking up a midfield pass and darting down the right flank.
BBU goalkeeper Hem Simay came charging out to tackle Sokumpheak, only to be expertly sidestepped as the national-team star slotted into an empty net to double his side’s advantage.
As BBU were dealing with the shock deficit, along came a third for the league champions. Sokumpheak was again at the centre of the storm, earning another crucial penalty for San Narith to convert in the 20th minute.
BBU launched a few desperate counters in an attempt to reduce the arrears, and a tinge of relief came in the 74th minute when Nhim Sovanara let fly a stunner from 40 metres to catch the Crown camp by surprise.
This snap goal did lift BBU out of their malaise, but not enough to prevent San Narith driving in from the wing and gleefully polishing off to take home the match ball.