Saturday, July 16, 2011

Njoku in a flash

"12 seconds, it took me that long," says a surprised Kingsley Njoku on his remarkable goal
Crown line-up: Back Row LtoR: Narong, Sopanha, Tiny, Obadin, Sothearith. Front Row: Ota, Virak, Chaya, Bunchhay, Narith, S Pheng.
A goal by Kingsley Njoku just twelve seconds after arriving on the pitch was the icing on the cake for Phnom Penh Crown, as they coasted to a 4-0 win over perennial strugglers Prek Pra Keila, though they didn't find the Muslim-backed club a pushover by any means. Determined to maintain their lead at the top of the Metfone C-League, Crown coach David Booth made just 1 change to his starting line-up, reintroducing San Narith at right-back. Prek Pra had the first shot on target when Adebayo Jimiv tried his luck from 30 yards, with Peng Bunchhay tipping the effort over the crossbar. However in the 3rd minute, Crown got their noses in front when Odion Obadin's ball forward was flicked on by the head of Sok Pheng and Suong Virak used his speed to outrun the defence and kept his cool by slipping the ball under Yok Ary in the Prek Pra goal. Pra Pra's only other shot on target in the whole game came two minutes later when Feut Sulkiply slipped his marker but fired straight at Bunchhay and that was the last we saw of Prek Pra's goal threat. Sok Pheng was wayward with his finishing on the half hour before Virak was denied a 2nd goal by a fingertip Yok Ary save a minute before the break. In the first minute of time added on, Sun Sopanha timed his pass to perfection, the recipient, Chan Chaya ran on, sat Yok Ary on his arse with a dummy before firing the ball into an empty net for Crown's second goal.

It took just four minutes of the 2nd half for Crown to increase their lead. Sopanha's deft touch set Suong Virak skating clear and as Yok Ary left his line, he slipped the ball to Sok Pheng who simply couldn't miss from a yard out. Pheng did miss two more guilt-edged chances, the 2nd bringing out a brilliant point-blank save from Ary before he was replaced by Kingsley Njoku on 55 minutes. The substitution was made as Crown lined up for a corner and Njoku made his way into the penalty box. Sopanha's corner to the near post was flicked on by Chan Chaya and Njoku had the simplest of tasks to touch the ball over the goal-line, a mere 12 seconds after entering the field. Perhaps the quickest goal ever scored by a player in the C-League? Kouch Sokumpheak, sporting a new auburn hair colour, joined the fray and should've done better when presented with a good opportunity by Virak, but he shot weakly at the keeper. Virak then fired a fierce 25-yard effort into Yok Ary's hands. On 72 minutes, substitute Hong Ratana also found Ary a difficult obstacle to by-pass as the keeper blocked his shot. Three minutes later Ratana lofted his shot over an empty goal from 25 yards after Ary had left his line, chasing after Njoku. The Nigerian striker was tackled as he was about to pull the trigger moments later from ten yards out and then fired a drive across the face of goal after being forced out wide.

That was it as far as goalmouth action was concerned with Crown coach David Booth's brief aftermatch assessment; "I'm pleased we won again but there's room for improvement. We gave them too much space and possession, especially in the first-half. We can get better. We scored good goals but we didn't press the advantage when we had it. The uneven ground didn't help but our passing wasn't good enough today And we slowed the game down too much. To be honest there wasn't much to choose between the two sides in the first half except that we scored our goals. At half-time I asked for more forward movement and it worked. The second half was a little better but I set high standards, I want us to be a good team with good players. We'll talk this week and try to organise things a bit better ahead of our next game."
Crown line-up: Bunchhay, Narith, Sothearith, Tiny, Obadin, Narong, Ota, Sopanha, Virak (Ratana 70), Chaya (Sokumpheak 63), S Pheng (Njoku 55). Subs not used: Visokra, Bunna, Dara, Vanthan, Sovan, Sovannrithy, Sophat, H Pheng. Bookings: None.
Prek Pra failed to muster any goal threat after five minutes, going down 4-0
Referee Neang Sorithya had a perfect game and began with this perfect coin toss
Thul Sothearith leads out his Crown teammates in blue
Crown coach David Booth (right) with his no 2, Bouy Dary
Kouch Sokumpheak sporting his new auburn hair style. He tried to say that the sun bleached his hair, but we know better.


Anonymous said...

Why sokumpheak is not in the XI ?
In the last 2 match, I saw he played as substitution in the 2nd half.

Andy Brouwer said...

Kouch Sokumpheak came back from international duty with an injury and then suffered a bout of sickness. This past week he missed a couple of training sessions so it was best to have him on the bench instead of starting the game. I'm sure with his new hair colouring he'll be back to full fitness very soon :-)