Saturday, March 6, 2010

PKR grab 3rd spot

Heang Saravuth was the matchwinner for Preah Khan in today's 3rd place decider
Today's 3rd place play-off in the Hun Sen Cup saw Preah Khan Reach run out 3-2 winners in a nail-biter against Naga Corp. With two of the country's best teams facing each other, it was always going to be a close affair and so it proved though Naga began like a train and with 2 goals from Kop Isa in a frantic three minute spell, they took a stranglehold of the tie and looked a good bet at the half-time interval. Both teams left two of their best players on the bench, Sun Sovannrithy for Naga and Sam El Nasa for PKR, and that gave Kop Isa a rare opportunity to start. His two goals, on 15 and 18 minutes, justified his inclusion. His first was a neat and tidy finish after a Teab Vatanak header sent him on a clear run at goal. He fired home his second from eight yards after Kim Chanbunrith's byline pull back found him in space. After the goals, PKR brought on Sam El Nasa and his introduction gave them more impetus, but Naga's keeper Pich Rovin Yothin was in great form with some brave saves, getting a foot in the face twice, for his troubles.
Ten minutes in the second half, Naga's Vatanak had his low drive through a ruck of players saved by the feet of PKR keeper Ouk Mic but PKR were upping their game and reduced the deficit five minutes later. With Sam El Nasa pushed up front, it was the former national team captain that netted with a calm finish from Kao Kiry's pass. The writing was on the wall as PKR put on the pressure and on 72 minutes, Khuon Laboravy had the easiest of finishes after Heang Saravuth had broken clear and unselfishly squared it to his teammate. Seven minutes later and Saravuth scored PKR's third, albeit with a fluke of a finish after he mis-controlled a pass from Prak Mony Udom and lobbed the ball over the onrushing Pich Rovin Yothin, almost by accident. Less than a minute later, Naga were given the opportunity to level the scoreline. Sovannrithy, a replacement early in the second half, was tapped by Sok Rithy and referee Khuon Virak couldn't wait to point to the spot. There was no way anyone apart from Sovannrithy was going to take the penalty but his spot-kick wasn't the best and Ouk Mic dived low to his left to smother his shot. Penalty kicks have come to haunt Naga in this competition, after they lost to them in last week's semi-final. PKR's Sam El Nasa was shown his second yellow, and a red card with six minutes to go but Naga had already had the stuffing knocked out of them and PKR ran out 3-2 winners, earning themselves 20 million riel. Referee Virak had a busy day too, flashing 9 yellows and that late red card.
Preah Khan, bedecked in their red kit, came back from a 2-goal deficit to win
Naga Corp came out guns blazing but couldn't hold onto their advantage
Referee Khuon Virak keeps a close eye on his coin as the captains await his call

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