Sunday, April 25, 2010

Prince to the rescue

Sophal Udom chipped in with 2 goals for Khemara to put them ahead
You can forgive Khemara Keila for wanting to kick the cat after yesterday's Metfone C-League thriller at Olympic Stadium. They were just seconds away from recording a rare success over Phnom Penh Crown before Ouk Chheng Hort dallied and The Prince seized the opportunity to claim a point for the title favourites. Chheng Hort will have nightmares about his tardiness for weeks to come. For The Prince, as he rested on his knees with his arms outstretched in prayer, it was a sign of relief after a game where little went to plan for the league's top marksman. The first half belonged to Crown. Uche Prince Justine shinned a sitter over the bar from five yards out early on and then had the goal of the season ruled out on 13 minutes, and was booked for his troubles. The Prince combined with Oscar Mpoko to carve open the Khemara defence with not one but two 1-2's and finished clinically only for referee Tuy Vichheka to claim he saw a handball and cancel the goal. It was rough justice for The Prince as Nick Sells' photos show it was defender Sok Vannak who handled as he tried to fend off the bustling Crown striker.
The Khemara rearguard action finally crumbled on 32 minutes when Sun Sopanha's 30 yard free-kick was touched onto the crossbar, leaving Oscar Mpoko with a simple tap in. A few niggly tackles began the second half and sent the match referee Tuy Vichheka on what is fast becoming his normal course of action, card flashing. He totalled 12 yellow cards in this game and on 66 minutes sent off national team skipper Kuoch Sokumpheak with a straight red. Sokumpheak was seconds late as Sani Saidu cleared but the defender's piercing scream was enough to shatter windows and convince Vichheka of the need for action. Saidu got to his feet within seconds of seeing Sokumpheak take his lonely walk.
Perversely, the dismissal of their talismanic skipper galvanized Khemara. Within three minutes, Ek Vannak fed Sophal Udom and the striker's first touch took him around Crown keeper Peng Bunchhay and he rolled his shot into the empty net for the equalizer. 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 to surprise everyone, including the Khemara bench. Sensing victory over their much-fancied rivals, Khemara were undone when The Prince struck two minutes into time added on. For the neutrals, the game was a great advert for the C-league.
The Phnom Penh Crown team that salvaged an injury time point
The 10-men of Khemara nearly produced the shock result of the season so far
Khemara coach Solomon Demagudu with defender Peter Olajide at the post-match press interviews

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