Preah Khan Reach's 2-0 win over Post Tel Sunday pushes them two points clear of the rest after Build Bright United had held the lead over Saturday night
Kirivong Sok Sen Chey’s Him Salam (left, orange shirt) skips over a sliding challenge from Build Bright United’s Nhem Sovannara during their Cambodian Premier League game at Olympic Stadium Saturday.
SATURDAY'S first CPL matchup saw National Defence Ministry (MND) face Spark FC. Two goals in the last fifteen minutes brought the contest to life in what had been an otherwise drab affair. The crowd at the Olympic Stadium had been looking forward to the head-to-head between last season's Golden Book winner Khim Borey of MND and current CPL leading scorer, Spark's Justine Prince.
As it turned out, both strikers had a frustrating afternoon with a poor supply line leaving them with no clear opportunities throughout the game. With goalmouth action at a premium in a forgettable first half, the heavens opened and rain lashed down as the second period got underway. But it wasn't until the 75th minute that MND cranked up the action level, when Thong Oudom bundled home a corner from Nov Sokseila that evaded the Spark goalkeeper, to put his side a goal ahead.
Five minutes later, Spark substitute Plong Chanthou made a telling contribution with his first touch, crossing from the right-hand byeline for Meak Chhordaravuth to flex his neck muscles and send his header under the crossbar for the equaliser. With only one team looking for a winning goal, MND's Nov Sokseila hit a powerful drive from way out that was well saved, and in time added on, Phuong Soksana walloped a shot that thundered back off the crossbar. The final whistle went soon after to ensure honours were shared.
Build Bright United hop to the top
In Saturday's second game, Build Bright United (BBU) leapfrogged Kirivong Sok Sen Chey into top spot in the Cambodia Premier League with a hard-fought 1-0 success over the Takeo province team. Man of the moment was makeshift striker Prum Puthsethy who latched onto a long hopeful ball over the top of the defence from Nigerian teammate Oriola Adeseye and finished coolly with a low drive that nestled in the corner of the net with just two minutes of the first-half remaining. It was pretty tame fare for most of the first period, with only the goal and Vietnamese Lam Than Tang's volley for Kirivong that flew wide brightening up the game.
After the break, Kirivong did most of the pressing as you might expect, but two efforts from Adesye were the closest they got to finding an equaliser. At the other end, a rare mistake by Samuel Oseika allowed BBU's Cliff Goodluck to weave his way into the penalty area, though his sweetly-struck shot came back into play off the upright. The game wasn't a classic by any stretch of the imagination, though BBU weren't worrying too much about it as they sat atop the CPL table overnight Saturday.
Phouchung Neak’s Joseph Olatubosn (right) chases the ball past Naga Corp captain Oum Thavarak during their game Sunday at Olympic Stadium.
Naga swallow up Phouchung
In Sunday's early fixture, Naga Corp relaunched their campaign with a 5-2 thumping of Phouchung Neak. Naga dominated from start to finish with Sunday Okonkwo leading the charge with a goal in each half.
The first period saw Friday Nwakuna and Meas Channa also finding the net for Naga, while Phouchung's solitary reply came from a sweetly struck penalty by substitute Ouk Thon.
After the interval, Naga sub Neang Chenla added to Naga's plight along with Okonkwo's second, and Pov Samnang grabbed a second consolation goal for Phouchung.
With time added on, Oghenekevwe Auwara compounded the problems for Phouchung by getting sent off for an elbow on Meas Channa. Phouchung remain firmly at the foot of the table, with no points from five games and a negative ten goal difference.
Preah Khan Reach for the stars
In a rather unconvincing win in Sunday's later kickoff, Preah Khan Reach (PKR) put two past Post Tel Club to reclaim their place at the head of the table.
Being one up at the break thanks to Samel Nasa's sixth minute tap-in, PKR's Olisa Onyemerea was very wasteful, missing a quartet of second half headed chances. An own goal by Post Tel's Soth Sotheavy in the dying moments of the game helped confirm the victory although Post Tel had a Gafar Surosinmi penalty saved in the last minute by PKR keeper Ouk Mich.
With the win, Preah Khan Reach go two points clear at the summit on 12 points from a possible 15, with BBU hot on their trail. Phnom Penh Crown will look to climb the league with a win over struggling Khemara Keila Wednesday to put them three points off the pace of the leader.
Photos by Nick Sells (www.nicksellsphotography.com)