Monday, January 24, 2011

Laboravy 3 Neak Khiev 2

Preah Khan Reach just squeezed through to the QF's with a slender win over Neak Khiev
Yesterday's Hun Sen Cup games went according to expectations in terms of wins for Preah Khan Reach and Phnom Penh Crown, but for PKR they will breathe a huge sigh of relief after coming back from behind to kill the hopes of the underdogs with just 5 minutes of the game remaining. It was tough luck on the plucky players of the rubber plantation-backed Kompong Cham team Neak Khiev, under their coach Prak Vuthy, the brother of Naga coach Prak Sovannara. PKR had begun according to plan, taking a 10th minute lead when Khuon Laboravy volleyed in the dropping ball after Sam El Nasa's header had rebounded off the crossbar. Neak Khiev dusted themselves down and came storming back, not allowing PKR to settle into a rhythm, and they drew level on 23 minutes when lanky striker Yarb Ramatorn outpaced his marker and smashed the ball past Ouk Mic. Just after the half hour, the provincial team took the lead and deservedly so. Taing Sul, who'd set up Ramatorn for the 1st goal, flicked on a long ball and Sok Rithy reacted quickly to cut it out, only to send a toe-poke over the head of his own keeper to give Neak Khiev a 2-1 interval lead.
PKR were picking up bookings but little else, including a silly yellow card for Sam El Nasa for dissent that was soon to come back and haunt him. Then, 15 minutes into the 2nd half, Laboravy again showed his class to draw PKR level. A needlessly conceded free-kick, 25 yards out, was all he needed for a sight on goal as he curled his shot inside the near post of keeper Soun Pisal. Five minutes later and El Nasa was on his way to an early bath as PKR were reduced to ten men. He stuck out an arm to control the ball and gave referee Thong Chankethya little option to flash yellow and red in quick succession. Laboravy tested Soun Pisal with two more efforts before Taing Sul held his head in disbelief at the other end, when he fired wide when it looked easier to score. Up stepped Laboravy to win it for PKR with five minutes on the clock, and a penalty shoot-out looming. He was on the spot as Prak Mony Udom's corner was swung in and a well-placed header sent his team through to the quarter-finals, amidst some mightily-relieved PKR fans and officials.
Plucky is the perfect word for the performance of Neak Khiev against PKR
PKR skipper Sam El Nasa (red) and Neak Khiev's Phoeurn Saoroum

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