A dominant display featuring a brace by striker Meas Sophanna carried the day for Chhlam Samuth as they outplayed Rithy Sen 3-1 in their Metfone C-League clash of the promotees at Olympic Stadium yesterday.
The Sea Sharks not only controlled space but also managed it well, enjoying the majority of possession over their rivals from Kampong Chhnang. The score line ought to have presented a much healthier look had Chhlam Samuth’s finishing matched their good approach work, with chances aplenty that were frittered away.
Two huge gaps in the defence allowed Sophanna a free run into the 18-yard box. The rest was a matter of timing and adjustment as the striker craftily found the net with his deft right foot.
As the Sharks piled on the pressure, there were at least two good chances for Rithy Sen to level the scores. A thunderous volley by Ly Tomann was parried away by goalkeeper Sam Chamroeun, and minutes later, Seth Kamel completely misjudged a one-to-one with the keeper, driving the ball straight into his legs.
Even as Rithy Sen were ruing those chances, Sophanna failed to shoot a sitting duck from close range to a collective sigh of relief from the opposition dugout. The provincial outfit managed to cross over the halfway mark with just the one goal deficit.
On resumption, it was Rithy Sen who came closest in pursuit of an equaliser. This time Sum Sokkhy misfired from yards out when the Sharks back four were left scattered and helpless.
As if to punish them for the missed opportunity, Sophanna threaded his way to the box once again and in the midst of a frenzy, got the ball home with a neat turn and tuck.
A snap move on the left then briefly caught the Chhlam Samuth defence off guard, with Peh Matsaum driving in and neatly placing it beyond Sam Chamroeun.
However, the Sharks were quick and decisive in response with a splendid strike from hardworking Nigerian midfielder Sanny Dauda to regain their two-goal cushion.
Chhlam Samuth team management left the field more than happy that they have managed to extend their unbeaten run to three games and currently lead the standings ahead of this weekend’s remaining round three fixtures.