Saturday, April 30, 2011

Surprise, surprise

Kirivong gave a good account of themselves against Preah Khan Reach today
More surprises from this afternoon's Metfone C-League games with Preah Khan Reach failing yet again to register their 1st win of the campaign, only drawing 2-2 with Kirivong Sok Sen Che y and to be honest, Kirivong probably just shaded it. However PKR have Khuon Laboravy in their ranks and their best player by a country mile, stepped up to the plate, yet again, to earn them a point, their third in three matches. In the 2nd game, referee Khuon Virak wanted to dominate proceedings and he ended up flashing 3 red cards and 10 yellow cards as the National Police team earned themselves the scalp of a sorry-looking Build Bright United, whose early season promise has well and truly evaporated. Police won 3-1 but Virak did his absolute best to spoil the game and the Federation have got to take a long hard look at their officials, as the boys in black are having way too much impact on games with their willingness to flash the card. I did hear that the clubs get fined for each caution and the money raised goes into the referee's end of season knees-up, or am I just being facetious.

The only event of note in the 1st half of the Preah Khan versus Kirivong encounter was the opening Kirivong goal on 41 minutes. In Vichheka sent Nelson Oladiji racing away and his well-taken drive from the edge of the box stretched the PKR net, as well as their patience as the whole team and head coach claimed the Kirivong striker was yards offside. Referee Tuy Vichhika was having none of it. PKR restored parity just a minute and a half into the 2nd period. Lay Raksmey's floated cross found the head of Khuon Laboravy, but his header struck the foot of the upright only for Tum Saray to turn the rebound over the goal-line. Kirivong refused to lie down and after Oladiji was thwarted by keeper Ouk Mic, he made no mistake on 63 minutes with a tap-in after Vichheka has weaved his way to the byeline and delivered an unmissable opportunity. An accidental clash with his own defender saw Kirivong keeper Khoum Makara stretchered off and within two minutes of his arrival, in the 73rd minute, his replacement Koun Thnou could only divert Laboravy's shot inside the post to make it 2-2. This time it was Kirvong's turn to protest at the absence of an offside flag, but to no avail. Both teams had a chance at the death when Oladiji was again denied by Mic and Prak Mony Udom had time to pick his spot but only managed to find the head of Bryan Edem on the goal-line instead. Laboravy raced clear again well into injury time but the tackle of the game by Touch Sokheng made sure the two teams shared the points.
Referee Tuy Vichhika in full tossing action
Preah Khan Reach managed their third draw in as many games v Kirivong
National Police recorded a 3-1 win despite ending the game with just 9 men
I'd rather not talk about match referees but when they take center-stage like Khuon Virak, it's hard not to. And it's something he's done before. I recall last season, he sent off six players in two games just after the half-way mark in the season. Today it took him just 18 minutes to dismiss Ngoun Chansothea for two bookable offences, a late tackle and a shirt-pull, and then he managed to even it up when BBU's influential skipper Chhun Sothearath lifted his foot to around knee height and incurred the referee's wrath for the second time, getting a 2nd yellow and a red in quick succession. You could almost see the beaming smile on Virak's face. That was two minutes before the interval. At the half-time whistle, Virak had shown 7 yellows and 2 red cards. The National Police were also a goal to the good, when Ieng Tin's fine cross was headed home by skipper Sophal Udom from fifteen yards out six minutes before the break. The 2nd half was less about Virak and more about BBU's lack of thrust and cutting edge, which they'd displayed in abundance in the pre-season Hun Sen Cup competition. The fire in their belly seems to extinguished for the students as they surrendered meekly to the Police. Tith Dina played a sweet pass to Sim Vutha on 67 minutes and he fired under the advancing Hem Simay, and the same player laid a third goal on a plate for Sophal Udom on 75 minutes after outwitting Nhim Sovannara. Despite their clear lead, the Police lost a 2nd player, Ieng Tin, to a second yellow and red combination just three minutes later. With the game petering out, BBU's Prum Putsethy tapped in a low cross from Seng Kosen with three minutes remaining but it was too little too late and BBU trudged off looking forlorn as the Police team, arms aloft, celebrated their continuing success in their 1st season in the top flight.
Has the bubble burst for the students of BBU?
Referee Khuon Virak tells the captains that its his coin, his ball and he's the star of the game, and they'd better not forget it

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