Preah Khan Reach Svay Rieng football club easily dispatched Master 7 FC of Laos to advance to the group stage of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup 2020.
Playing on their home turf did not help Master 7 FC as PKR Svay Rieng FC carved out a triumphant 3-0 win in the second leg of the AFC Cup 2020 playoffs at the New Laos National Stadium in Vientiane on Wednesday.
The first leg of the playoffs between the two teams was held at the Olympic Stadium in Phnom Penh last week, where PKR Svay Rieng FC routed Master 7 FC, 4-1. The Cambodian team only needed a draw in Laos in order to advance.
PKR Svay Rieng FC showed its much vaunted attacking prowess early on. In the 22nd minute, defender Pidor Sam Oeun caught a long pass and slotted home a goal past goalkeeper Shota Wada of Japan, who momentarily left his post in a futile effort to stop the Cambodian team from scoring.
Striker Jean Befolo “Privat” Mbarga of Cameroon was also aggressive from the get-go. Only the timely reaction of a quick-thinking Wada prevented him from scoring in the 38th minute.
Mbarga’s persistence and aggressive technique finally paid off just before halftime when his attempt hit the back of the net. Mbarga’s first goal of the game gave PKR Svay Rieng FC a 2-0 lead going into the second half.
In the previous game against Master 7 FC, Mbarga scored two of the team’s four goals.
In the 72nd minute, an attacking combination featuring Brazilian striker Thiago de Jesus Santos and midfielder Hoy Phallin took advantage of their opposition’s defensive lapses as PKR Svay Rieng FC raced to a 3-0 advantage with less than 20 minutes to go.
Santos sent a cross to Hoy, who easily evaded defender At Viengkham for his first goal of the night.
In all three instances where PKR Svay Rieng FC scored, Wada was out of position. His aggressiveness at the goal proved to be his team’s undoing.
For the home team, there were only a few scoring opportunities. Every time Master 7 FC threatened to attack, PKR Svay Rieng’s powerful backline prevented them from getting too close.
Malian star Souleymane Coulibaly was uncharacteristically ineffective, while midfielder Keoviengphet Liththideth once more did not live up to his billing as the top scorer in the Lao Premier League.
In the group stages, PKR Svay Rieng FC will face Negros-Ceres FC of the Philippines, Than Quang Ninh of Vietnam and Bali United of Indonesia in Group G.
“It will be the toughest group stage that Cambodia will have faced in a long while,” Conor Nestor, KPR Svay Rieng FC head coach, said in a prior media briefing.
PKR Svay Rieng FC will open its group stage campaign versus Negros-Ceres FC on Feb 11 at the Pana-ad Park and Football Stadium in Bacolod City, Philippines.