Boeung Ket Rubber Field’s Keo Sokpheng gets lifted up by team-mates Sumaila Momoh (left) and Yop Romaton after scoring against Phnom Penh Crown during their Metfone C-League game yesterday. Photograph: Sreng Meng Srun/Phnom Penh Post
Title chasing National Police Commissary battled back from a goal down to force a 1-1 draw against third from the bottom Kirivong Sok Sen Chey in their Metfone C-League tie at the Olympic Stadium.
In an earlier kickoff, Boeung Ket Rubber Field, fast emerging as a first season sensation, stretched themselves to their robust best to outplay defending champions Phnom Penh Crown 5-1, built around Keo Sokpheng triple strike.
The contrasting results had no marked bearing on the top of the standings except that the Police now jointly lead the table with Preah Khan Reach on 26 points each, though the Hun Sen Cup winners enjoy a substantially better goal difference and have played 12 matches to Police outfit’s 13.
Naga Corp are clear third heading to this weekend with 24 points, ahead of Boeung Ket, who upped their tally to 21 with their sixth win from 12 games. It is worth recalling that Boeung Ket had won their first round fixture against Crown 2-1 when they met on April 1.
The Police, who had beaten Kirivong 2-0 in their previous meeting this year, must thank their lucky stars and hard working Jole Omoraka for the point earned, because at one stage they were in danger of getting none.
The goalless first half saw fierce exchanges on a sodden pitch, but the visitors from Takeo had more regretful misses than their Police rivals.
At the hour mark came Kirivong’s goal from the boot of midfielder Ek Sopheap – a sting in the tail for the Cops that sent them on a goal hunt for nearly 20 odd minutes.
In the midst of a melee, a corner kick created inside the Kirivong box, came Omoraka’s opportunistic strike that squared things up. There were some mad rushes at both ends in the dying minutes but both sides were hell bent on survival.
When Crown hit the front nine minutes into their game yesterday through Emanuel Frimpong, it looked as if the defending champs were determined to put their shaky start to the season behind them.
They held on to that advantage for quite a while until Boeung Ket conjured two goals in less than five minutes heading for half-time.
The skies opened up when play resumed and the balance of power was beginning to shift the way of the Kampong Cham club.
Savy Set Soudy struck first for the league newcomers, then Keo Sokpheng virtually took over. Just after the second goal of his hat-trick came Nwakuna Friday’s neat penalty conversion.
There were two near misses for Crown at the start of the second half. If they had got those right the script would perhaps have been different.
As neatly as things unfolded for Boeung Ket, they just kept piling on the pressure and their victory never seemed in doubt.
Crown’s sixth loss in 13 games pushes them to mid-table or worse at 17 points, same as Ministry of National Defence, who have played a game less.
To contact the reporter on this story: H S Manjunath at [email protected]