Photo by: Sreng Meng Srun
Phnom Penh Crown’s Olisa Onyemerea (left) and Preah Khan Reach’s Tum Saray battle durign their Metfone C-League match.
PKR 3 Phnom Penh Crown 1
A revitalised Preah Khan Reach avenged their first-round loss to prime contenders Phnom Penh Crown, slamming their rivals with the same 3-1 scoreline in a rain-soaked Metfone C-League encounter at Olympic Stadium Saturday. The win could not have come at a better time for the military police-backed side, who leapfrogged Crown into third place with 38 points behind Naga Corp’s 43 and Build Bright United’s 39.
Crown, who had the bitter experience of winning the league phase last year but ending up fourth in the Super 4 playoffs, now square off against reigning champions and league leaders Naga next Sunday. PKR, meanwhile, will renew their fierce rivalry with BBU in next Saturday’s first Super 4 semifinal.
The early bustle in gilding sunshine Saturday belonged to Crown, when their imposing striker Olisa Onyemerea drove one wide from close range and then was a step slower to reach a promising cross with his header.
The skies opened up to produce a slushy pitch, with the heavy ball putting a premium on quality and keeping the sides goalless at the break.
With the elements turning somewhat friendlier in the second session, both sides suffered bouts of sloppy passing. Crown hauled on Uche Prince Justine from the bench, hoping the star striker would repeat his cameo performance of a brace when the two sides met previously in the season. However, the Nigerian picked up a yellow within 10 minutes and could never break away in the way he normally does, although a couple of his assists raised visions of a goal.
A cheeky chip moments after the restart by PKR top scorer Khuonla Boravy opened their account and set the attacking pattern. When four minutes later, substitute Chea Samnang tapped in to make the most of a melee inside the Crown box, the writing was on the wall for the casino-endorsed outfit. Despite Crown’s Keo Sokngorn pulling one back, PKR’s Sam El Nasa came up with a precision header off a Boravy free kick to put the result beyond doubt.
Wat Phnom 4 Naga Corp 9
Fleet-footed Naga Corp hitman Teab Vatanak hit a five-goal purple patch as the league toppers polished off their campaign with a 9-4 thrashing of lowly Wat Phnom Saturday, which also featured a hat trick by hard working midfielder Chin Chum. On a pitch badly churned up from the previous game, Naga were always ahead, though a brief rally by Wat Phnom did raise some concern.
Teab Vatanak gave Golden Boot frontrunner Julius Ononiwu of Kirivong Sok Sen Chey something to think about by reducing their gap to just two goals Saturday, with the Naga marksman still having two games in hand via the playoffs to overtake the Nigerian.
Lost in the maze of the Naga triumph was Wat Phnom spearhead Phlong Chanthou’s personal best of a hat trick. Ry Phearoeun also got on the Wat Phnom scoresheet late in the game, but their highest goal tally this season was not enough to avoid the relegation axe. Wat Phnom drops to the lower division along with Chhma Khmao, clearing the path for Prek Pra Keila to retain their top-tier status.