Hun Sen Cup winners Preah Khan Reach opened their 2012 Metfone C-League account with a convincing 3-0 victory over defending champions Phnom Penh Crown at Olympic Stadium yesterday.
Predictably, it was PKR’s most potent striker, Khuon Laboravy, who did the bulk of the damage with a classy double as the Crown backline had a tough time dealing with sustained pressure it came under for much of the contest.
Carrying the psychological edge of having beaten Crown 4-0 in February’s Cup campaign, PKR got off to a confident start and within 14 minutes stood to gain from their disciplined approach.
A Chan Raksmey through pass inspired an aggressive run-in by Khuon Laboravy, and the crafty hitman worked around a defender to slot the ball in.
The Military Police-backed PKR doubled their lead in the 37th minute when a standard free kick by Prak Mony Udom saw Crown keeper York Ary fumble the collection, allowing the the ball to slip through his butter fingers.
Crown’s brief moment of joy was lost when Odion Obadin headed the ball straight to PKR stopper Um Vichet.
After the changeover, however, Crown showed greater mobility and purpose. In one sweeping five-minute spell, the side three times came close to scoring, only to see those chances slip by.
Sos Souhana hit the near post on the run after forcing himself into the box. Ouk Sothy headed over when presented with an open goal.
Khim Borey, who appeared in a competitive game at Olympic Stadium after a hiatus of nearly 18 months, was slightly slow in getting to a good Sos Souhana cross.
Even as Crown were trying desperately hard to get back in the game, along came another jolt.
Right on the stroke of regulation time, Khuon Laboravy found easy access to the box to get his deserving brace and his side’s third goal.
One of the features of PKR’s dominant first-half showing was young Hoy Palin’s splendid work in the middle of the park before taking the bench.
In the late kick-off yesterday, National Defence Ministry did just enough to edge Kirivong Sok Sen Chey 1-0.
The decisive strike came from 11 metres as Pov Phearith converted a penalty in the 67th minute after Kirivong captain In Vichheka had handled in the area.