Photo by: Sreng Meng Srun
Prek Pra Keila's Mat Hasan fends off a challenge from Khemara Keila's Peter Oladiji during their Metfone C-League match yesterday at Olympic Stadium.
Preah Khan Reach 3 MND 1
Preah Khan Reach snatched the last Super 4 playoffs berth with a well-merited 3-1 victory over National Defence Ministry (MND) in the Metfone C-League at Olympic Stadium yesterday.
The Military Police-backed side upped their 17-match tally to 35 points with a game in hand to sit fourth behind Naga Corp, Phnom Penh Crown and Build Bright United, slamming the playoff door shut on Kirivong Sok Sen Chey.
It was a highly combative contest, with PKR resolutely fighting back from a goal down to assume absolute second-half control. But the spirit of the game was somewhat dented when players on both sides lost their cool and nearly came to blows barely seconds before the final whistle. Match officials intervened quickly to restore calm, even as a few team officials joined the fracas.
A 25th minute chance goal by MND skipper Khim Borey briefly threatened to disrupt PKR's mission. PKR goalkeeper Ouk Mich came off his line more out of courage than confidence, and when the two hit the turf at the same time, Borey's right foot thrust had enough steam to carry the ball slowly into an unattended goal.
Within six minutes, PKR’s Chea Samnang nodded a corner kick home for the equaliser, his fourth goal of the season.
A pep talk at the break by coach Rith Dikar acted as an agent to put a fresh set of springs in PKR’s heels. Seven minutes after the restart, the ever-dependable Devide Njoku unlocked the Army defence with a well- directed hit.
Armed with the lead and renewed attacking vigour, PKR's Khuon Laboravy capped his solo run with a deft finish.
The PKR coach was understandably happy and relieved that the Super 4 fight had been put to rest. His message to the squad was simple and straight. "We have to climb as high as we can."
Khemara Keila 2 Prek Pra Keila 2
Prek Pra Keila's fight for survival got a big boost when Sman Sokrey powered home a late equaliser to force a 2-2 draw against Khemara Keila yesterday.
Amid growing tension both on the pitch and in the stands, the Prek Pra midfielder kept his cool as his team, cheered on by a legion of faithful fans, collected a crucial point towards their relegation battle with Wat Phnom.
Hard-working striker Mat Hasan exploited a goal mouth skirmish to fire a grounder through a horde of legs. But with hardly a minute left for half time, Kuoch Sokumpheak connected a cool header above a frenzied crowd to pull the teams back even.
In the second period, Khemara’s Peter Oluwase made his mark on the game with a neat header. Tempers frayed in those closing stages among a few players, but the situation did not get out of hand as Prek Pra netted the dramatic late leveler to steal a share of the points.