Sunday, May 1, 2011

Julius is the man

Julius Oiboh made an immediate impact with 3 goals on his debut for Naga
The first of Sunday's Metfone C-League matches was all about one man, Naga Corp's new Nigerian import Julius Oiboh. He literally stole the show single-handedly. After a couple of disappointing displays, Naga coach Prak Sovannara decided to act swiftly and make changes. He introduced two new Nigerians in Oiboh and Omogba Esoh, re-introduced the experienced Sam Minar and dropped a few of the regular Naga faces to the bench. It worked a treat. However, it was 20 year old Oiboh who grabbed the headlines with a hat-trick on his debut and a performance that was head and shoulders, quite literally, above everyone else. The Army defence found out to their cost early on that dealing with Oiboh was going to be tough. In the tenth minute, he brushed aside Hout Sokunthea as they challenged for a bouncing ball and quickly slipped his shot wide of Sou Yaty for the first goal of the game. Twice more he went close before he netted a second in the 34th minute, when Kop Isa headed the ball on, Oiboh took it in his stride, rounded Yaty and clipped the ball past Thong Udom on the goal-line. It was all too easy for the strong lanky striker. His hat-trick came on 79 minutes when he showed his strength once more. Latching onto a long ball, he left Sokunthea stumbling in his wake, cut inside Udom and lashed a fierce shot past Yaty, who stood no chance. A great start to his C-League career. His Nigerian teammate Omogba Esoh was busy without flattering, whilst Minar was solid in the middle of midfield. Army sparked briefly when they levelled early on but after that they were a sorry second for much of the game. On 24 minutes, Naga's Neang Chenla took the ball away from his keeper as they initially left it for each other, only to give it away to Chin Chhoeurn who rolled his shot into the unguarded net. Two refereeing decisions by the man in the middle, Thong Chankethya, bewildered me. He booked Om Thavrak for simulation, when the Naga player was clearly fouled - it's a favoured decision by this referee who did the same against Chan Chaya in the 1st game of the season. Then as Julius Oiboh scored his third goal and lay on the ground, Army's Khek Khemarin kicked him in the head and should've been instantly dismissed. Instead he got a yellow card and a finger-wagging.
A rejuvenated Naga Corp starting eleven won 3-1
The Army defence were given a torrid time by Naga's new strikeforce, which even Sou Yaty couldn't keep out

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