Saturday, May 22, 2010

Saturday action

Naga coach Prak Sovannara reflects on his team's success after their return from Burma
As expected, there were wins this afternoon for Naga Corp, fresh from their Burmese adventures in the AFC President's Cup, and Phnom Penh Crown, who returned to top spot in the Metfone C-League. Naga beat Kirivong 2-1 in the first game today and just about deserved it. But their winner was handed to them on a plate by an outrageous dive by Teab Vatanak and gullible referee Sreng Haody. With 20 minutes on the clock in the 2nd half, Vatanak crumpled when confronted by Kirivong defender Bryan Edem and Haody couldn't run and point to the spot quick enough. Sun Sovanrithy stepped up and despatched the spot-kick to put Naga 2-1 ahead and that's how it stayed. They'd begun slowly and conceded the first goal after 8 minutes. Chan Darasokha clumsily brought down Un Sopheak and Julius Chukwumeka netted twice from the twice-taken penalty, the 2nd one counted. Within 5 minutes Joseph Oyewole had timed his run to perfection to nod in Meas Channa's pin-point center. Naga deserved a 2nd and got it on 36 minutes but a ridiculous decision by the linesman wiped out Chin Chum's header from another Channa cross. It looked an appalling decision from my seat in the grandstand. Both teams hit the woodwork late on, but it was Naga's day and they move into 4th spot.
The Naga Corp starting line-up front row adopt a very friendly pose
Kirivong look more business-like in their pre-match posture
Games between Phnom Penh Crown and Preah Khan Reach are always eagerly-awaited and this one proved to be as enthralling as ever. Crown eventually wore down their tired opponents but it was touch and go until Prince Justine levelled the scoring just after the hour mark and then it was one-way traffic. Up until then, Preah Khan had led through a Chea Samnang goal on 8 minutes after he benefitted from a moment of madness in his own 6-yard box from Keo Sokngorn. Another moment of red mist saw Preah Khan's big stopper Anthony Nzekwest sent off after 20 minutes for two bookable offences. His first yellow was for talking, his 2nd was a pull on the arm of Prince Justine as he sped away. He had no complaints. Crown levelled six minutes before the break, or they thought they had. Sani Saidu poked the ball over the line after Ouk Mic had fumbled a Tieng Ting free-kick but the linesman thought otherwise, with another shocker of a decision.
The PPCrown line-up: LtoR (back) Tiny, Nwakuna, Rithy, Bunchhay, Sokngorn, Saidu (front) Justine, Sokly, Chea, Narong, Sothearith.
After 3 misses, the Prince redeemed himself with a wallop of a shot that screamed into the roof of the net for a dramatic equaliser accompanied by his trademark somersault on 64 minutes. Two more goals in the last ten minutes wrapped it up for Crown. Keo Sokngorn made up for his earlier error with a scorcher of a shot from 25 yards that left Mic rooted to the spot. Two minutes later Prince Justine naughtily tapped in a shot from Hong Ratana on the line and was lucky not to be flagged for offside, but got away with it for his 2nd and Crown's third. He should've made it three in time added on but was foiled at the end of a surging run by Mic's body. Crown return to the top pending Sunday's games and their trip overseas for the Singapore Cup on Wednesday when they face the French team Etoile two days later.
A perfect toss by referee Duong Socheat, who went onto issue 6 yellow cards and 1 red
2-goal Prince Justine and Crown Manager Makara Be face the tv cameras after the game

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