|PPCFC v BBU. Back Row, LtoR: Obadin, Katanha, Bisan, Thierry, Boris, Borey. Front Row: Srin, Makara, Pheng, Yaty, Sokumpheak - click to enlarge|
Phnom Penh Crown were seeking a victory to return to the top of the Metfone C-League table against Build Bright United on Sunday afternoon at Olympic Stadium, and they achieved it in some style. With Newton Katanha returning to the starting line-up, George Bisan played just behind the main striker and created havoc for BBU whenever he was in possession, starting in the second minute as he robbed Phlong Chanthou though his shot was deflected into the hands of the game's busiest man, keeper Sos Proshim. For BBU this was a foretaste of things to come. A minute later, Proshim had to be alert to keep out a low drive from Leng Makara and on eleven minutes, he was off his line quickly to save at the feet of Katanha with his own sliding tackle. Before we had time to breathe, Bisan moved onto a Hong Pheng throw-in, strode into the area but Proshim was again on his toes, sliding in to dispossess the striker as he dallied on the ball. Just seconds later Phin Pheara was the man to thank as Makara shaped to shot inside the box. Bisan tried his luck from 35 yards out, but the ball flew over and on 22 minutes, Bin Thierry's precise pass sent the big Nigerian scampering into the area only for his low near post effort to be blocked by Proshim's prostrate body. A goal had to come and the pressure finally told on 23 minutes as Kim Borey converted a spot-kick with confidence, after Makara had dispossessed Chanthou from a poor goal-kick, sprinted around the onrushing keeper, only for Chanthou to bowl him over as he shaped to shoot. The only surprise was the referee's failure to act on the last man rule and dismiss the defender. He wasn't even cautioned. A minute later and Borey nearly made it two from a 30-yard free-kick, which arrowed towards the top corner only for Proshim to get his fingertips to it, help it onto the cross-bar and away from danger. In less than sixty seconds, Borey sent another long range effort towards the far corner, Proshim's diving push-out didn't go far enough and Bisan was onto it in a flash, but toe-poked his effort wide of Proshim and the upright. It was total domination by Crown, who kept the ball, and used it purposefully to continue to create a string of chances.
Borey continued to pepper shots towards the BBU keeper as another went narrowly wide, before Kok Boris sent Katanha away, he held off Chanthou but again found Proshim's body blocking his near post strike. Thierry followed Borey's example and sent a stinging 30-yarder skidding inches wide of the post before Katanha opened up his Crown account on 37 minutes with an expertly-taken goal. Bisan's header on the half-way line sent Katanha away, he beat his marker and his aim was true as he rifled in a low drive inside the near post for two-nil. Two minutes later he neatly headed in Makara's right-wing center only to look up and see the linesman's raised flag for offside. It was marginal. Bisan was hungry for a goal as he robbed BBU's Japanese defender Yusuke Yamagata and tried his luck by making space but Proshim denied him again with his feet. It was a common story of the first-half but that all changed on 42 minutes. Thierry and Makara put pressure on the BBU back-line and Bisan latched onto the latter's knock-down to rifle his shot in off the upright from just inside the penalty box. It was a relief after a fistful of near misses and he displayed a t-shirt in his celebrations, dedicated to his skipper's son's birthday. With two seconds of the half to go, Crown went in even happier with a fourth goal from Makara, who raced onto Ngoy Sin's long ball over the top, outpaced the defender and slotted it neatly wide of Proshim. A first-half display to wow the Olympic crowd and the watching TV audience.
For the opening twenty minutes of the second half, Crown continued to push on and dominate proceedings. Borey sent an early diving header well wide, and then chipped a superb pass to Katanha whose shot was smothered by Proshim at close range. Eight minutes in and Bisan was denied what appeared to be a perfectly timed header by the linesman's flag, after his pass to Katanha was palmed aside by Proshim and he followed up to nod home. It was not to be. Borey's shooting and passing continued to make its mark and another chip saw Bisan escape the BBU marking only to volley the ball over the top, when he had time to bring it down. Captain Kouch Sokumpheak's ball to the far post was headed into the side netting by Makara, as Crown took their foot off the gas for a ten minute spell. Three times BBU sent shots goalwards in that spell and each was easily collected by an otherwise redundant Sou Yaty in the Crown goal. Two Thierry free-kicks failed to produce any real danger, Bisan and Makara got in each other's way and the former sent another 20-yard effort wide of the target. With five minutes of the match left, Neou Sosela sent over an inviting cross which Bisan controlled on his chest, held off a defender and though his first shot was blocked by Proshim, he reacted swiftly to poke home the rebound for his second and Crown's fifth. In time added on, Sosela twice missed the target when it looked easier to score. The first from Makara's break and Borey's touch, the second from Bisan's set-up, and both times, the picture of Sosela with his head in his hands, told the story. A dominant display, an avalanche of goals and Crown go to the top of the Metfone C-League on goal difference.
PPCFC v BBU: Yaty, Srin, Pheng (Dara 66), Boris (Sothy 80), Obadin, Thierry, Sokumpheak,. Borey, Makara, George, Katanha (Sosela 77). Subs not used: Ary, Sarak, Da, Tola, Sokheng, Boran, Suhana, Pisa. Bookings: None. MOTM: Bisan - he was danger personified and scored twice, though Makara and Borey ran him close. Goals: Borey pen (23), Katanha (37), Bisan 2 (42, 85), Makara (45).