Saturday, April 9, 2011

Dull and lifeless

Army's two talented keepers, Sou Yaty (left) and Oum Vichet
Week 1 of the new Metfone C-League saw it raining goals, 21 of them in the five matches played. This week's opening two matches, at the Olympic Stadium this afternoon, were the opposite side of the coin, both were turgid, lifeless affairs, with little goal threat offered up by all four teams involved. Both games were crying out for someone with the skill and talent to take the game by the scruff of the neck but alas it was not to be. With the Army and Kirivong kicking-off at 2pm and both with a win to their name from week 1, I expected better than I got. They canceled each other out in the 1st half, the game lacking any invention and only debutant referee Lim Bunthoeun kept himself busy with four bookings (out of a total of 7 in the match). Kirivong threw on the tiny Chhaing Sophal at the interval and he was conspicuous by his absence until 2 minutes from the end when he was tackled from behind by Khek Khemarin and referee Bunthoeun had his biggest decision of the match to make - he waved away the penalty appeals. Players like Phlong Chanthou, who netted a hat-trick last week, and Nelson Oladiji, who scored twice, as well as In Vichheka, Chhin Choeurn and Phoung Soksana were anonymous throughout, and it was left to the Army skipper, Thong Udom to come up with the game's most decisive moment eleven minutes from the end. Always a threat at set pieces, the center-half was big and strong as he met a Soeung Chan Vanno corner to the near post with a thunderous header for the winning goal. Army keeper Sou Yaty looked assured in dealing with a late Mom Sophol shot and got my vote as MotM for his safe handling and rock solid presence. I hope the watching national team coach took note.
Army pose before their 1-0 success over Kirivong
Kirivong were deflated by Army's 1-0 victory this afternoon
Army, in blue, and Kirivong take to the field
In the 4pm kick-off, the first half was as dull as the previous game and the 2nd half was only marginally better. The National Police team lacked any spark, with Sophal Udom having an off day and Prek Pra weren't good enough to break them down. The better chances came in the 2nd period and at the death, Prek Pra should've done better. Debutant Adebayo Jamiv headed straight at keeper Hin Sarith and in time added on, Sos Hanafy's 40-yard arrowing free-kick was tipped over the top. Earlier, the Police's Ol Ravy and Sophal Udom had goal-bound efforts kept out by Prek Pra's reliable stopper Yok Ary and when Udom did get the ball in the net, it was ruled out for offside. A 0-0 draw was not what the fans in the stadium had come to see. Nor me. Let's hope tomorrow's matches produce a better show for all concerned.
The National Police, held at 0-0 by Prek Pra Keila
Prek Pra line-up before the goal-less draw with the National Police

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