Saturday, April 21, 2012

Njoku is back

PPCFC v BBU. Back Row LtoR: Obadin, Njoku, Rady, Frimpong, H Pheng, Ary. Front: Tiny, Sovan, Suhana, Sokumpheak, Borey
Not much was going his way on his return to first-team action for Kingsley Njoku until he took a pass from Khim Borey in his stride on the left wing with 14 minutes remaining. Picking up speed he left two BBU defenders in his exhaust fumes before slotting a neat finish under the body of the BBU keeper Sos Proshim to announce he is back to the rest of the Metfone C-League audience. It was Phnom Penh Crown's second goal and essentially put the result beyond doubt. Kouch Sokumpheak's fine finish just over a minute later did just that as Crown ran out comfortable 3-0 winners. The opening goal honours went to midfield playmaker Emmanuel Frimpong, who struck a 30-yard screamer for his 5th goal of the season, just after the half-hour. His eye for goal is certainly catching everyone's attention.With Chan Chaya out with sickness, Hong Pheng started in his place with Kingsly Njoku returning to the starting line-up following his eight-match AFC ban, at the expense of Melvin Tarley. Crown began the game with purpose with Frimpong getting in a 25-yard range-finding shot which Proshim touched over the cross-bar in the third minute. Borey's neat touch gave Sokumpheak a sniff of goal on twelve minutes but Proshim was off his line quickly to deny the Crown skipper's attempted chip. Sos Suhana, who played for Cambodia's U-22s in midweek, fired over and had a mis-hit shot blocked, as well as putting in Sokumpheak, who turned and hit a low drive which Proshim again kept out at his near post on 22 minutes. Frimpong struck his opening goal, which he arrowed into the corner giving Proshim no chance from all of thirty yards out, when Borey touched a free-kick to him and his trusty left foot did the rest. That was on 33 minutes and it was what Crown fully deserved. Suhana should've done better with a header from a Borey cross but his powder-puff nod down gave Proshim the opportunity to push it aside, whilst a minute into added on time, Hong Pheng raced clear of the last defender and looked to have chipped his shot neatly past Proshim, only for the ball to rebound to safety off the foot of the post.

The 2nd half began in increasing gloom as the cloud and rain arrived and the floodlights were switched on. A quick break saw Njoku and Sok Pheng set up Borey at the far post but his clip past Proshim could only find the side netting. Sokumpheak whacked a 20-yarder into the keeper's midriff and then Proshim was out quickly to snuff out the danger when Njoku looked dangerous. At the other end, BBU were using the strong wind to their advantage and Yok Ary had to be quick to clear his lines when BBU broke the offside trap, and then tipped a 20-yard free kick from Chhun Sothearath over the top. Sok Pheng, on for Hong Pheng, got it wrong in his own area and his pass allowed Heng Sokly a shot which he blazed over. A minute later he was booked for shirt-pulling. On 76 minutes, Kingsley Njoku calmed any Crown nerves with a fine solo goal, showing both speed, strength and a calm eye for goal, after running the BBU defence ragged. A minute later, Frimpong sent Sokumpheak clear, he rounded Proshim and kept his feet to fire his side into a three-goal lead. In the final dregs of the game, Sok Pheng whipped in a 20-yard drive which Proshim did well to fingertip wide and Sokumpheak blasted over after after leaving his marker for dead. It was a 3-0 win that Crown fully deserved and they now meet Kirivong next Sunday, in their final game before their AFC President's Cup adventures in early May. 

PPCFC line-up v BBU: Ary, Sovan, Rady, Tiny, Obadin (Dara 83), Frimpong, Borey (Sothy 76), Suhana, H Pheng (S Pheng 57), Njoku, Sokumpheak. Subs not used: Chamrouen, Vanthan, Seyha, Lika, Sophanal, Rathanak, Makara, Sovanna. Bookings: Obadin, S Pheng, Njoku.
David Booth speaks to his players before the kick-off
Coach David Booth makes his point whilst Kingsley Njoku dreams of scoring on his return
Inside the huddle before today's game begins

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