Navy side Phouchung Neak grabbed their first CPL point of the season with a 1-1 draw against Build Bright United Saturday but were in no mood to celebrate
Build Bright United’s Nigerian midfielder Adeseye Ogunsanwo (centre) attempts a volley towards the Phouchung Neak goal during the first half of their CPL game Saturday.
SATURDAY'S only Cambodian Premier League game at Olympic Stadium between navy-affiliated side Phouchung Neak and Super Four hopefuls Build Bright United, ended in an entertaining 1-1 draw to grant bottom-placing Phouchung their first points of the season.
Build Bright United kicked off with the greater intensity, forcing Phouchung keeper Sar Sophea to make a double save from the headed effort and rebound by Adeseye "Seye" Ogunsanwo in the opening minutes.
Despite a lack of conviction in the midfield, the navy side showed attacking potential, and a ferocious strike by Peter Onuhejike from 35 yards thumped off the crossbar to give BBU keeper Chea Zena a scare.
BBU's Nhem Sovannara went in the book after twenty minutes for an overzealous midair challenge into the back of Phouchung's Ouk Thon, with the navy man staying down for several minutes before rising from the turf scratching his head.
With Phouchung gaining momentum through the centre park, a move pushed wide to the right saw Chham Bunchhay collect just outside the area. His scooped attempt at a cross had everyone stumped as it ricocheted off bar and post to bounce unluckily off the keeper's legs to nestle in the net. For a team sitting firmly at the foot of the table, Phouchung were in need of a bit of luck and seem inspired by the fluke goal.
However, BBU were not without fighting spirit, and a powerful drive to the byline by playmaker Seye allowed him the time to look up and find teammate Un Viputh free in the box with a pullback. As the target opened up invitingly, the Cambodian opted for power over precision and skied his kick well over the bar.
With just three minutes to go in the half, a stern shot from Phouchung's Sim Dara was deflected wide by Chea Zena after a clever back heel by Joseph Olatubosn had opened up the space in front of goal.
Then, in injury time in the first half, Ogunsanwo latched onto a delicate flick over the defensive line by Prum Puthsethy, but the BBU player's volley fell straight into the hands of the navy keeper.
BBU came out after the interval with renewed determination. Kang Sopheak exhibited a dazzling piece of individual skill to beat his man, but the attack was quickly broken down. A breakthrough seemed inevitable with continued pressure of the Phouchung defence, who were cut to shreds when BBU's Cliff Goodluck slid a delightful through ball to In Puthearithy on the right. With Sar Sophea racing out to close down the attack, the BBU winger showed a cool head to step around the navy keeper and chip in a cross for the omnipresent Seye to walk it into an empty net and level the score.
Both teams were still in with a sniff of victory and chances at either end saw a goalyard scramble have shots by Onuhejike and Heng Sokly absorbed by a tightly packed BBU box whereas a free kick from distance by BBU's Chhum Sothearath spun off the top of the wall, only to land safe in the keeper's arms.
With the game's final seconds ticking away, Ouk Thon was put clean through by a terrific long pass from Tuy Sam, but the navy forward leaned back too much and fired over to squander any last-gasp heroics.
The final whistle blew leaving the sides locked at a goal apiece, but despite Phouchung's finally obtaining a point in the league, players walked off wondering why they couldn't have grabbed two more.
Photos by Nick Sells (www.nicksellsphotography.com)