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Top draw makes top viewing

Top draw makes top viewing

A 2-2 draw between Phnom Penh Crown and Khemara Keila Saturday kept fans entertained throughout after Build Bright United had blasted Prek Pra Keila 4-1


Phnom Penh Crown’s Uche Prince Justine (right) appeals his booking and disallowed goal during the match against Khemara Keila.

Prek Pra Keila’s Sos Hanaphy (below) puts in a challenge on Build Bright United’s Chea Sophany during their match Saturday.
Photos by: Nick Sells (www.nicksellsphotography.com)

PREK Pra Keila went down to their fourth straight defeat but showed a lot of determination and never-say-die attitude in this Metfone C-League clash with Build Bright United (BBU) at Olympic Stadium Saturday. With more composure in front of goal they should’ve made the final result a lot closer.

BBU started strongly with skipper Prum Putsethy netting a neat header from a quickly-taken free-kick on two minutes, only for his effort to be ruled out. He then headed against the upright on eleven minutes with the Prek Pra custodian stranded. BBU’s pressure finally told on 33 minutes, when full-back Chan Pech Chealy popped up at the far post to tap in a bobbling cross from the busy Chan Veasna.

Prek Pra recovered from the set-back to apply their own pressure, and with half-time approaching they squandered two guilt-edged chances. Wilson Mene should’ve done better after rounding BBU keeper Sos Proshim, but his chip at goal was cleared by a rapidly recovering Ung Marady.

Seconds later, Feut Soulkiphly burst into the penalty area but was crowded out only for Mene’s follow-up shot to take a goal-line deflection.

The second half was nip and tuck throughout. Both teams had early chances with the best falling to Prek Pra’s Philip Ali, who missed a sitter from just five yards out. With Prek Pra pushing forward, BBU caught them with a sucker punch on the hourmark.

Prum Putsethy picked the ball up 25 yards from goal and unleashed a thunderbolt that opposing keeper Yok Ary got a hand to but couldn’t keep out.

Ten minutes later, BBU added to their advantage with a neat one-two between Chhun Sothearath and Putsethy, the latter coolly lifting his shot into the top corner.

Prek Pra didn’t cave in and Mat Hasan twice came close, but wayward shooting let him down.

On 78 minutes, Wilson Mene stumbled over a challenge from BBU’s Sos Proshim to earn Prek Pra a penalty. Philip Ali converted to give the league novices a glimmer of hope.

However, this was quickly extinquished four minutes later when Augustine Ogbeni broke down the right and Phin Pheara was on hand to sweep in his pinpoint center and seal the result for BBU.

Khemara Keila 2 PP Crown 2
Khemara gave Crown a run for their money in this thrilling Metfone C-League encounter Saturday at Olympic Stadium. Early season results had confirmed Crown as title favourites, but Khemara paid scant attention to the formbook and were just seconds away from victory before an injury time equaliser cruelly dashed their hopes.

The first half belonged to Crown. They were dangerous going forward from the first whistle and deservedly led at the half-time interval. Uche Prince Justine shinned a great opportunity over the bar from five yards out early on, and then had a wonderful effort ruled out on 13 minutes, getting booked for his troubles. Justine combined with Oscar Mpoko to carve open the Khemara defence with ease and finished clinically only for referee Tuy Vichheka to claim he saw a handball and cancel out the goal. It was rough justice for the league’s top marksman.

The Khemara rearguard action finally crumbled on 32 minutes when Sun Sopanha’s 30 yard freekick was touched onto the crossbar, leaving Oscar Mpoko the simple task of tapping the loose ball into the unguarded net.

The second half began with a flurry of niggly tackles which kept referee Tuy Vichheka busy. The match official went onto caution twelve players in a game that didn’t merit that much card action, though it did boil over on 66 minutes. National team skipper Kuoch Sokumpheak got caught up in the moment, and his late tackle on Sani Saidu earned him a straight red card, though Saidu’s piercing scream may have influenced the match official. Saidu got up moments later.

The dismissal of their influential captain galvanized Khemara. Within three minutes, Ek Vannak fed Sophal Udom, and the striker’s first touch took him around Crown keeper Peng Bunchhay to roll the ball into the empty net for the equaliser.

Just two minutes later and Khemara took the lead. Samut Dalin broke quickly down the right flank and his firmly-struck low cross-shot was touched in on the goal line by Sophal Udom for his, and Khemara’s second. A few minutes later Ek Vannak was an inch away from increasing their lead even further before Crown staged their late recovery.

Uche Prince Justine’s powerful drive from twenty yards out stung the fingertips of Khemara keeper Ly Sokheng, but Hong Ratana lacked conviction with the follow-up. Ly Sokheng was again in the thick of the action, keeping out a low drive from Srey Veasna at the foot of the near post.

Khemara were sensing a rare victory over their much-fancied rivals when hotshot Uche Prince Justine struck two minutes into time added on. As Ouk Chheng Hort dallied in clearing his lines, Justine wrapped his foot around the ball and whipped it into the net before Ly Sokheng could react.

Crown were ecstatic with their late point, Khemara were crestfallen to have not won, though football was the winner in what turned out to be a great advert for the Metfone C-League.

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