Vathanaka’s return not enough

Ismail Vorajee / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
Chan Vathanaka (left) was making his first start for Boeung Ket in almost a year. KT/Yeun Punlue

Cambodia’s Chan Vathanaka made a less than ideal return in Boeung Ket colours when he saw the 2016 Metfone C-League champions crash out of the Toyota Mekong Club Championship (TMCC) to the sixth-placed V.League 1 side yesterday evening.

BK suffered a galling 5-1 (9-5 on aggregate) second-leg defeat to Sanna Khanh Hoa of Vietnam in their clash at Phnom Penh’s National Olympic Stadium.

After drawing the first leg in Hanoi on Saturday 4-4, Boeung Ket coach Hao Socheat named the strongest line-up at his disposal with Brazilian hat-trick hero Maycon Calijuri spearheading a triumvirate of himself, Nigerian attacker Samuel Gbenga Ajayi and returning fan favourite Vathanaka.

Despite the host’s propensity in attack, a 13th minute penalty was converted by clinical SKH forward Youssef Toure, sending Boeung Ket keeper Sou Yaty the wrong way to put the visitors in front.

They then went two goals down moments later in sensational fashion after precocious SKH midfielder Le Duy Thanh evaded the host defence to fire an unstoppable right-footed effort into the roof of the net.

BK’s Sok Sovan put the Cambodians back in the game, turning in the ball after connecting with Vathanaka’s tricky corner kick into the box. Only 20 minutes into the tie, fans at the National Olympic Stadium had already witnessed the ball hit the back of the net on three occasions.

However, with BK chasing an equaliser and SKH defending deep, indiscipline threatened to spill over. With half-time looming, Vathanaka came close to a card after jumping into the fray after Le Coa Hoai An and Yaty almost came to blows in the box.

The BK custodian was on the receiving end of a late challenge, with his coach forced to replace the injured keeper minutes later.

An early flashpoint in the second period saw an elbow from Tran Dinh Khuong bring down BK’s Gbenga in the box. The referee had little hesitation in pointing to the spot for the second time in the match.

However, Maycon’s spot kick was beaten away to safety by Nguyen Tuan Manh in between the sticks for the Vietnamese club.

As BK tired, the visitors then secured the win with a quick-fire third, fourth and fifth goals. The irrepressible Toure slotted the ball through to Hoang Quoc Chi, who sent the ball past BK substitute keeper Kim Makara before Toure hit a fourth in the 78th minute – a left-footed bullet from inside the box.

The fifth and final goal came with five minutes to go through the boot of Nguyen Doan Duy Anh.

Among the last acts of the match, and one which summed up BK’s torrid display, saw substitute forward Khuon Laboravy fail to score with the goal at his mercy and deep into stoppage time.

Boeung Ket, after crashing out of the TMCC, will now turn to retaining their 2016 C-League title in the impending C-League play-off final on December 30.

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