Cambodian League Week 2 Roundup: Boeung Ket enjoy big win, Crown held at home

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Chan Vathanaka - Boeung Ket Angkor

Samuel Gbenga Ajayi proved unguardable in Saturday’s Metfone C-League highlight, as the Nigerian attacker’s two goals bookended a 6-0 FC demolition of Western FC at the National Olympic Stadium.

Western, who had held 2015 C-League playoff finalists NagaWorld FC to a 1-1 draw last Sunday, were up against Prak Sovannara’s 2015 Toyota Mekong Club Championship finalists, who were guilty of producing an uncharacteristically lethargic performance in their C-League opening game against Asia Euro United FC. Ultimately, it was none other than Chan Vathanaka who had come off the bench to spare their blushes last Sunday, hitting the winning strike in a 3-2 victory.

Vathanaka was rewarded for last weekend’s heroics with a spot on the bench as coach Sovannara kept faith in the triumvirate of Khuon Laboravy, Esoh Paul Omogba and Gbenga. With a largely unchanged squad from their last campaign, Cambodian national team forward Teab Vathanak, a close season transfer from NagaWorld, settled alongside Vathanaka on the Boeung Ket bench.

Boeung Ket settled into their rhythm quickly. The African duo of Omogba and Gbenga harried the opposition fullbacks into submission. Gbenga proved deadly from the wing as his pinpoint cross into the box in the opening minutes should have been converted by Laboravy, although the resulting header went woefully wide of the target. However, the burly Nigerian forward carved out a goal of his own doing minutes later with a powerful run into the opposition box. From there the forward coolly clipped the ball over the onrushing keeper with the outside of his right boot, putting his side a goal up in the twelfth minute.

A swift counter-attack led to a fine strike from Western midfielder Sen Bunny, although his shot from distance was tipped over the bar in fine fashion by Boeung Ket keeper Sou Yaty. Bunny had posted an early contender for Goal of the Season in last weekend’s match against Naga, although unfortunately for Bunny, Yaty proved to be a tougher challenge to beat.

A second goal for Boeung Ket followed through Sok Sovan, as the Boeung Ket defender soared higher than his Western counterpart to meet Omogba’s impeccable right wing cross into the box. Sovan powered the header home for Boeng Ket’s second in just the 22nd minute. A little over a minute later, Laboravy made it three, this time Gbenga providing the right-wing cross into the box for the Cambodian national team striker to guide into the back of the net with his left boot. Wada hit a fourth goal in the 33rd minute after a poor clearance from a Gbenga corner found the feet of the Japanese metronome who smashed the delivery into the roof of the net from 10 yards out, to give Boeung Ket an unassailable four goal cushion before the half-time whistle.

The introduction of Vathanaka in the second-half paid dividends for Boeung Ket as the Cambodian attacker notched up his third goal of the season at the stroke of the hour. A left-wing layoff from Gbenga left the 22-year-old to attempt a textbook finish in the box. His left-footed strike rose above the grounded goalkeeper to nestle into the corner of the net for Boeung Ket’s fifth goal of the game.

The game’s final goal, and Gbenga’s second, came in the 82nd minute capping an extraordinary display for the fleet-footed Nigerian. A trademark run into the box saw the forward walk the ball into the goal after indefatigably finding a way past a host of Western defenders, and finally a hapless Western keeper.

Army Win Again, Police Arrest Crown

Saturday’s afternoon fixture at the Olympic Stadium had seen a tight meeting between NagaWorld and Ministry of National Defense FC. After a turgid first half which provided little in the way of entertainment let alone goals, North Korean import Choe Myong-ho broke the deadlock with a thumping header past the keeper in the 64th minute. The goal secured a second-straight victory for the Army side. Naga, 2015 C-League playoff finalists and 2015 Hun Sen Cup finalists, are still looking for a first win of the 2016 season after their 1-1 draw with Western in their season opener.

The previous day had seen champions FC held to a goalless draw at home. Crown, in their first away game of the season, were clad for the very first time in a new green jerseys as a result of their partnership with Smart. Crown, however, will see the result as two points dropped, with star signing George Kelechi Stanley yet to reproduce the fireworks he displayed in his 23-goal 2015 C-League season at AEU. Worryingly for Crown coach Oriol Mohedano, Shane Booysen, who had grabbed a C-League opening day hat-trick in the previous gameweek, was forced off just minutes into the game after suffering a twisted knee. This latest injury adds to that of Bin Thierry and Keo Sokpheng who were also unavailable for selection.

Mohedano spoke of his frustration after the match. “Not a happy day for us. We expected more from the game. We should’ve done better in the first half, but we didn’t attack well. Respect to our opponents in the first half who surprised us with their intensity. The sensations after such a match; we are disappointed, the result is not enough for us. We pushed for the win, but it never came,” he said.

Preah Khan Svay Rieng stay top

Preah Khan Svay Rieng FC hit six goals for the second consecutive Metfone C-League game at the Svay Rieng Stadium as they handed Cambodian Tiger a 6-1 defeat and a further loss to add to their opening day defeat at Phnom Penh Crown FC.

Atuheire Kipson and Sok Samnang both scored for the second successive match for the Hun Sen Cup holders, although the plaudits will rightfully go to South Korean attacker Lee Jong ho who notched up a superb hat-trick.

Kipson opened the floodgates in the games 22nd minute before Lee Jong ho stabbed home a second three minutes later. The South Korean, receiving the ball in the centre circle, drove forward and skilfully rounded the keeper for his opening goal of the game.  His second, and Svay Rieng’s third, came just five minutes later; a sublime strike of beauty as he fired an unstoppable long range effort from thirty yards beyond the flailing Tiger keeper.

The former Paris Saint Germain youth player, who trialed for champions Phnom Penh Crown FC ahead of the 2016 season, completed his hat-trick early in the second half. The 29-year old dizzied the backtracking Tiger defender with a flurry of stepovers before slotting the ball calmly into the far post. Sok Samnang ensured there was a Cambodian presence on the scoresheet with a fine left-footed finish in the 71st minute before Japanese forward Tomoki Muramatsu hit back for Tiger with ten minutes to go. However, Kipson completed the rout in the 83rd stabbing home the ball after ‘…’s curling free-kick cannoned off the post.

The stunning victory sees Svay Rieng maintain top spot in the C-League standings on goal difference, ahead of Boeung Ket Angkor FC and Ministry of National Defense FC who also boast 100 percent records. Tiger meanwhile, dwell at the very bottom of the table; the 2015 C-League playoff semi-finalists still looking for their first points of the season.

Elsewhere on Sunday, the second hat-trick of the day was scored by CMAC United FC’s Timothy Okereke as he led his side to a fifth win in their short history with a 5-1 thumping of Asia Europe United FC at the National Olympic Stadium. Matthew Rhoda and Hong Makara also converted, while Moneke Obi Ugochukwu was on target for AEU.

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