Build Bright United’s 3-0 victory over Prek Pra Keila in the Metfone C-League on Saturday was overshadowed by ugly scenes in the stands, where fans of the defeated side incensed by referee decisions during the game clashed with military police.
Plastic bottles and other objects were hurled at the match officials as they came off the pitch and police personnel stepped in to take control of a rapidly escalating situation. It took a full 10 minutes to calm the crowd down, although no arrests were made.
The bad will stemmed from an incident in the 12th minute, when Prek Pra goalkeeper Yok Ary was given a straight red card after committing an apparent professional foul just outside the area on Oum Chandara as he ran clean through on goal.
Prek Pra coaches, players and supporters launched a sustained protest, suggesting that the BBU striker was initially offside, but the decision stood to see the Muslim community backed side reduced to 10 men. Players quickly resumed the game, although the vociferous fan base continued to direct expletives at referee Yean Kivathana.
On 18 minutes, Chea Sophany handed BBU the lead as he latched onto a cross from the left by Nhem Sovannara. In the latter stages of the fractious first half, Nhem Sovannara went against the popular proverb to show why defence is the best form of attack, as he set up yet another goal, this time for fellow fullback In Vireak.
Prek Pra hitman Mat Hasan came close on occasions either side of the interval, but found BBU star stopper Hem Simay more than his equal.
On the hour mark, Rim Bunhieng knocked in a free kick that was collected by second choice Prek Pra keeper Sen Mansoth. However, the ball was fumbled for Nhem Sovannara to tap in from close range to put the result beyond doubt.
The goal was yet another highly contested decision by Prek Pra supporters, who judged the BBU player to have manhandled Sen Mansoth.
After the match, Prek Pra coach El Fatal gave a diplomatic response to the violent remonstrations from his fan base.
“All my men play with a healthy respect for others and the rules of the game,” he said.
“I don’t know why the referees seem to give so many decisions against us. I hope [these ugly scenes] don’t occur again and again.”
The Football Federation of Cambodia addressed the issue yesterday, with General Secretary Kul Sophana confirming that their disciplinary committee would view statements from the military police and the match commissioner and take according action, which could include banning Prek Pra fans from attending a number of matches.
Crown reel in Sea Sharks
After the high drama of Saturday’s early game, the Phnom Penh Crown v Chhlam Samuth didn’t fail to disappoint with a seesaw 5-3 win for the league leaders that saw them edge ever closer to a title defence.
Crown got off to a sturdy start on 20 minutes as defender Odion Obadin powered in a header off a Sun Sophanha cross. The holders then pushed further ahead, as Sophanha and skipper Thul Sothearith bounced the ball between them before the former slotted home.
Undeterred, the Sea Sharks pegged one back shortly afterwards as the ever-impressive Paul Olabode clipped a delightful ball over the backline for team-mate Ayodele Silva to collect and score.
In injury time of the first half, Chhlam Samuth’s San Thydeth squandered a golden chance to draw things level as he blasted over from just yards out off a Sanny Dauda corner kick.
The second session saw the Sea Sharks bite their way back into the contest. On 63 minutes, Crown defender Tieng Tiny woefully miscued a clearance and Dauda emphatically pounced to fire in the equaliser.
Nine minutes later, the league new comers took the lead with the roles reversed as Olabode nodded in off a Silva setup.
With a notable upset looming, Crown managed to find another gear with Chan Chhaya making the most of acres of space afforded by a distracted defence who were trying to close down Kouch Sokumpheak.
Crown’s Nigerian forward Kingsley Metu then stepped into the spotlight to first supply a pinpoint cross for Sok Pheng to head in and reclaim the advantage on 80 minutes, before grabbing one for himself with the seconds ticking away.