Crown v BBU: Back Row LtoR: C Dara, Nwafor, Narith, Visokra, Obadin, Sothearith. Front Row: Virak, H Pheng, Sovannrithy, Njoku, ChayaPhnom Penh Crown warmed up for the start of the Metfone C-League season next week, in more ways than one. Not only did they sizzle in front of goal, especially in the 2nd half, to beat the students from Build Bright United 5-1, but the game descended into chaos when Nuth Sinoun punched Thul Sothearith in the face and Sothearith retaliated. In the melee, the referee called the teams off and then back on again, brandishing the red card to both players. The match had already been a bad-tempered affair especially a tackle by Rim Bunhieng on Kingsley Njoku that would've earned him a court appearance in the UK for GBH. As Njoku lay in a heap following the thigh-high karate kick, Bunhieng walked over to him and kicked him in the shoulder as he lay there. The referee just about managed to show him a yellow card before the BBU bench pulled the deranged defender off the field. Crown began the game like a train and took a 7th minute lead when San Narith's corner deceived everyone as it spun across the six-yard box where Sun Sovannrithy was awake to poke it past the attempted block of Hem Simay. Young recruit Hong Pheng will be kicking himself that he failed to get on the scoresheet in the 1st half. Twice he outfoxed Simay but both times his shot was cleared off the line and a third, a chip, was held by the veteran keeper. Kingsley Njoku was also wasteful, firing a flying bicycle kick just inches high and rolling another chance the wrong side of the post. On 38 minutes, BBU nicked an equalizer when Odion Obadin was adjudged to have handled and Oum Chandara tucked away the penalty kick, sending Hong Visokra the wrong way. There was just enough time for Rim Bunhieng's moment of madness on Njoku before the referee signalled the end of round one.
Njoku and Pheng both had opportunities after the restart, as did Chan Chaya, but Sos Proshim was equal to them in the BBU goal. However, he had no answer as Crown hit the students with a flurry of goals, four in fact, in just 7 minutes. On 69 minutes, Hong Ratana was thwarted by Proshim but Kingsley Njoku picked up the loose ball, took it round four static defenders and walloped the ball under the keeper from ten yards for a great individual goal. Three minutes later, Njoku won a tackle, fired in a low shot which Proshim could only fingertip into the path of Hok Sochivorn, who made no mistake from a few yards out. On 74 minutes, Sochivorn and Ratana combined to set up Sovannrithy who finished with a low drive under Proshim's dive. Chan Chaya completed the rout a couple of minutes later when he powered in a far post header from Njoku's inch-perfect cross. Crown were 5-1 up and coasting.
With just five minutes remaining it all went a bit haywire. Nuth Sinoun punched Thul Sothearith in the cheek, the Crown skipper hit back and a free-for-all ensued. The BBU bench waved their players off, the referee lost the plot before order was restored, the players returned five minutes later and both culprits were given an early bath. The game ended soon after with Crown getting a tinge of revenge for the Hun Sen Cup quarter-final defeat by the students a few weeks earlier, though more importantly, it was the type of game Crown coach Bojan Hodak was looking for before the season opener next Saturday against Naga. Crown line-up: Visokra, Dara, Sovannrithy (Vanthan 85), Obadin, Sothearith, Narith, Nwafor (Narong 45), Chaya (Sophat 90), Virak (Ratana 55), H Pheng (Sochivorn 61), Njoku (Sophanal 85). Subs not used; K Dara, Sovan.