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Sokpheng stars in MSL opener

Ismail Vorajee / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
Keo Sokpheng scored the match-winner. Courtesy PKNP

With four of Cambodia’s finest footballers making the leap to the Malaysian Super League (MSL) this year, Khmer Times is keeping fans abreast of their fortunes after this weekend’s opening round of fixtures.

It was former Boeung Ket and Phnom Penh Crown player Keo Sokpheng who stole the limelight in the opening round of matches as his new employers Perbadanan Kemajuan Negeri Perak (PKNP) made a winning start with a narrow 1-0 home victory on Saturday over Negeri Sembilan.

Sokpheng, who was not expected to recover from injury in time for Saturday’s kick-off, scored the match winner in the 49th minute, the goal coming from a superb through ball from former Crown teammate Korean attacker Gisung Yeon.

As Sokpheng slotted the ball expertly through the visiting keeper’s legs, his goal gave him the distinction of being the first goalscorer of the 2018 MSL season.

Reacting on social media, Sokpheng, 25, posted a photo alongside Gisung and was grateful for the support from his fans.

“Thank you so much [for the assist]. I hope we will do better and thank you all for supporting our Cambodian players,” it reads.

Sokpheng and Gisung are up for a huge test in their next match tonight, which will see PKNP travel to Johor to face Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT), who have won the league title for four successive seasons since 2014.

Former Preah Khan Reach Svay Rieng winger Prak Mony Udom, who joined Negeri Sembilan last week and featured in Saturday’s match, was largely anonymous as his compatriot took the fans’ plaudits.

Mony Udom, 23, will hope for a better performance in tomorrow’s afternoon match-up against Kuala Lumpur FA at the Tuanku Abdul Rahman Stadium.

Elsewhere, Chan Vathanaka, who signed for Pahang FA, was named in the starting 11 for his side’s Sunday evening late kick-off with Perak. The Cambodian starlet showed brief flashes of brilliance, but was hauled off midway through the second-half.

Formerly of Boeung Ket, Vathanaka, 24, is in line for a second bite of the Malaysian Super League cherry when his side meets Selangor PKNS tomorrow evening at the Stadium Shah Alam for their second league match.

Also in action over the opening weekend was Terengganu FC midfielder Thierry Chantha Bin, formerly of Phnom Penh Crown and Thailand’s Krabi FC.

Chantha Bin, 26, began the match in the heart of midfield and looked lively as the match ended in a 2-2 draw. Chantha Bin’s side will now travel away for this afternoon’s tie against Kelantan.

It is understood a deal is still not in place for a major Cambodian television station to stream Malaysian Super League matches, however with the recent partnership between the iflix streaming service and the MLS, fans can watch their favourite Cambodian footballers with a simple subscription.

The Malaysian Football Association announced late last year they would be emulating their Thai counterparts by implementing an Asean player quota.

The Malaysian Football Association confirmed the quota would be in effect on a trial basis for five seasons starting from the 2018 season before a review in 2022.

Under the new rules, Malaysian Super League clubs are able to register three foreign players, one Asian player and an Asean player. Previously, clubs were only allowed to register a maximum of four foreigners with one signing coming from Asia.

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