Saturday, March 12, 2011

Laboravy - man of the moment

Preah Khan's scorers in the cup final, Sam El Nasa (left) and Khuon Laboravy
The celebrations begin as Preah Khan receive the Hun Sen Cup from Kep Chuktema
I recovered face by predicting the winners of both today's Hun Sen Cup Final and yesterday's 3rd place play-off, but to be honest, it didn't take a genius to work it out. Naga proved that old heads do win trophies, if only it's the third place cheque rather than silverware, whilst Preah Khan Reach proved a bit too strong for the students of BBU today, as predicted. It was left to the competition's leading scorer Khuon Laboravy to fittingly add the final nail in the BBU coffin after Sam El Nasa had given the Military Police-backed side the lead on 35 minutes. El Nasa was johnny-on-the-spot after Sos Proshim spilled a shot from Tum Saray and the national team striker made no mistake from eight yards out. The veteran striker looked certain to have netted a second a minute before the break when Lay Raksmey's pinpoint cross landed on his forehead, but uncharacteristically, he nodded it inches wide and BBU went into the break just a goal down and with a fighting chance. Five minutes into the 2nd half and BBU's best chance came and went when Chan Sokunthina had his shot stopped by Ouk Mic and his follow up shot rebounded off the cross-bar, after that it was all PKR. Most of the offensive action came through Laboravy. He's always a danger on the break, though today he looked a little under-par until the 76th minute when he ghosted into the near post to head in a Prak Mony Udom corner and seal PKR's cup success. It was his 22nd goal of the competition and a well-deserved Golden Boot award awaited him at the final whistle. That was it, bar the shouting and celebrations as referee Thong Chankethya blew for full-time and the first Hun Sen Cup success for the in-form PKR team. Lifting the cup will give them bags of confidence ahead of the new season as the governor of Phnom Penh, Kep Chuktema, handed over the medals, winner's cheque and cup to the winning team.
An unexpected sight was the appearance of Srey Veasna on the pitch for BBU. Last season he played for Phnom Penh Crown before joining Thai third tier team Loei City, so to see him turn up for the cup final and get a game was a surprise to say the least. Presumably, he's broken his contract with Loei (who he played for last week), completed his international transfer certificate and signed-on for BBU before the expiry of the cup registration deadline, which was about two months ago. If he didn't fulfil those criteria there's no way he should've been playing in today's game. If BBU had won, I would've been very interested in what PKR had to say about it.
The PKR starting line-up, 2-nil cup final winners
The students of BBU were found wanting at the final hurdle
Referee Thong Chankethya manages to compete the toss-up without booking anyone
The two fashion-conscious coaches shake hands after the final whistle. Left is Rith Dikar and right is BBU's Meas Sam OeurnMan of the moment and top scorer with 22 goals, Khuon Laboravy, faces the television cameras
PKR's successful coach Rith Dikar answers the press
Another opportunity to celebrate their cup success for PKR

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