Naga Corp’s Prak Chanratana (C) tries to break through a pair of Saigon FC players during their friendly match at Olympic Stadium, Sunday, Dec 23, 2012. Saigon won the game 2-1. Photograph: Sreng Meng Srun/Phnom Penh Post
Saigon FC dominated in the early stages and held on for a 2-1 victory in their friendly match against Naga Corp yesterday at Olympic Stadium. The Vietnamese club had drawn 3-3 with Preah Khan Reach on the same field on Friday.
Naga struggled to control the visitors’ front pairing of Emeka Oguwike and Oladoja Suleiman from the outset, and it took just 10 minutes for Suleiman to latch on to his strike partner’s pass and open the scoring.
The hosts would take time to find their feet, but were thrown a lifeline when Suleiman was forced off through injury. As they pressed harder and harder for an equaliser, forward Choun Chum connected with a acrobatic overhead kick which was spectacularly saved by Saigon goalkeeper Nguyem Minh Nhut on the stroke of half time.
In the 59th minute, Choun Chum went one better by carving out the goal that got things back level.
However, the introduction of Saigon midfielder Moses Oloxa saw the tides turn once again in favour of the team who earned promotion to the V-League last year. The Vietnamese created numerous chances before finally reclaiming the lead on 68 minutes through Rodrigo Goncalves Lopez.
On Friday, reigning Samdech Hun Sen Cup champions PKR saw their 3-1 lead for most of the game squandered by a double blow in the dying moments.
Sok Chan Raksmey, Joseph Olatubosun and new Kenyan striker Emeka Oguwike netted for the Military Police-backed club, while Nguyen Doc Linh grabbed a goal before team-mates Melquiades Candelario Gomez and Moses Olaxa snuck in to steal victory with two late strikes.
The PKR management are to decide shortly if Oguwike will get a permanent contract for the upcoming league season, with his goal on Friday no doubt boosting his appeal.
To contact the reporter on this story: Chris Derbuc at [email protected]