|PPCFC v BBU. Back Row. LtoR: Njoku, H Pheng, Rady, Dara, Tiny. Front: Sovan, Chaya, Seiha, Sovanna, Borey, Vanthan. Click to enlarge|
Phnom Penh Crown coach David Booth made it clear to the players in his dressing room team talk that only a victory was good enough and his players duly obliged, despite the absence of three of their 1st choice regulars, against Build Bright United at Olympic Stadium this afternoon. 3-0 was the final result and temporarily Crown moved up into fourth spot, though Boeung Ket's 2-0 success over Army in the late kick-off sent then back above Crown with a point advantage. In hot sunshine, Crown got their noses in front after 18 minutes when Khim Borey's run into the box and pass to Kingsley Njoku, squirmed out to Chan Chaya, who cut inside onto his right foot and aimed his low drive into the far corner. Crown keeper Samrith Seiha was called into action a couple of minutes later, when his full-length diving save kept out a stinging effort from Badmus Bolaji. On 26 minutes, Hong Pheng fed Njoku but his snap strike was smothered by goalkeeper Sos Proshim and Borey's follow-up shot was blocked by a forest of legs. Four minutes on and Sos Suhana replaced the limping Chhum Sovanna and a few moments later, referee Lim Bunthoeurn flashed a yellow card to BBU's Tuy Sam for an off the ball punch in the back of Chaya's head, but failed to award Crown a free-kick. A soft free-kick and caution for Njoku gave BBU a free-kick 25-yards from the Crown goal, from which Dan Ito swung his drive against the upright and Seiha was relieved to grab the loose ball, just after the half-hour. The first-half petered out with both sides being unable to hold onto the ball for long periods and with Crown leading by a single goal.
Six minutes into the second-half and Sos Suhana's deft touch and composed finish put Crown two goals ahead. Borey fed Chaya who cut inside his marker, before picking out Suhana's run and the Crown substitute spun neatly before rolling the ball past Proshim and inside the far post. It was pretty much one-way traffic with Chaya breaking clear only to shuffle his shot the wrong side of the upright and Njoku fired high and wide when well-placed. Prum Puthsethy headed over from close-in at the end of a rare BBU foray, but Njoku fired wide after leaving three defenders in his wake at the other end, as Crown pressed home their advantage. With ten minutes to go, Njoku latched onto a Sam back-header but his touch over Proshim saw the ball bounce onto the cross-bar and away to safety. Twice, in the space of as many minutes and substitute Sok Pheng will be scratching his head that he didn't increase Crown's lead. Released by Njoku, the striker screwed his shot a foot wide of the post when a goal seemed certain, and then raced clear onto a Borey pass, only to allow Proshim the opportunity to smother his delayed shot. In the sixth minute of time added on at the end of the game, Chaya finally claimed the goal Crown had been threatening when he cashed in on a poor clearance, saw his first shot kept out by Proshim but the ball fell neatly back into his path and he rolled it in to give his side a 3-nil success. It was fully deserved.
PPCFC line-up: Seiha, Rady, Vanthan (Srin 75), Thiny, Sovan, Sovanna (Suhana 30), Dara, Borey, Chaya, H Pheng (S Pheng 72), Njoku. Subs not used: Ary, Da, Lika, Seyha, Sophanal, Sothy, Asonibe, Makara. Bookings: Njoku, Borey.
|Crown getting ready for the pre-match handshakes|