Boeung Ket Exorcise Ghosts Of Seasons Past

Aaron Chan
Writer / Editor
The Unofficial S.League Podcast

Christina Seah-Rodrigues
The Unofficial S.League Podcast

29 May 2016: When Boeung Ket FC last set foot on our shores, they capitulated to a 4-1 loss at the hands of Tanjong Pagar United in the preliminary round of the 2013 RHB Singapore Cup. 

As one of the four foreign invitees for this year's edition of the Cup, the Cambodian League champions were relieved when they were emerged as winners this time round, beating Warriors FC by the same scoreline last evening.

Both sides seemed to adopt a cautious approach to the game in the opening minutes and the match only sprang to life after the restart with all five goals coming in the second half.

Warriors should have opened the scoring early in the match when Ridhuan Muhammad floated in a picture perfect cross for Syaqir Sulaiman in the 3rd minute and Boeng Ket custodian Sou Vaty displayed lightning fast reflexes to palm the defender's powerful header over his crossbar.

The visitors would threaten with a quick counter in the 22nd minute when captain Khuon Labovary pulled off a shot in the Warriors box which Hafiz Osman did well to block off with a sliding tackle.

Ajayi Samuel, who raised plenty of eyebrows by donning the number 99 jersey for Boeung Ket, took advantage of a gaffe by Joel Tshibamba to nick the ball off the Dutchman in the 53rd minute before running the length of the pitch to deliver a fantastic pass for fellow Nigerian Esoh Omogba to knock in for the opening goal.

That goal proved to undo Warriors' resilience as Samuel turned from scorer to provider just two minutes later, cutting past Hafiz to float in a brilliant cross for Labovary to score with a diving header at the far post.

The Warriors were then reduced to ten men in the 67th minute when Baihakki Khaizan reacted poorly after being booked for a reckless challenge and received a second yellow mere seconds later amidst protests from the home side.

Warriors Coach Razif Onn brought on his Prime League starlet Clay Silvas in place of Tshibamba in the 72nd minute but the numerical disadvantage proved to be too much of a challenge for the home side to carve out chances for the young American to pull off a couple of his trademark blazing runs.

Cambodian International Laboravy managed to beat the offside trap three minutes later to break free of the Warriors defence and dink the ball over Hyrulnizam Juma'at for Boeung Ket's third goal before Hafiz Osman punted a long ball into the path of Nafiz Nor in the 77th minute, who slotted it between Yaty's legs to pull one back for the Warriors.   

Laboravy quashed all hopes of a comeback five minutes later when he completed his hat-trick, ghosting in remarkably behind the Warriors' defence to latch on to a through ball before tucking in underneath Hyrulnizam to make it 4-1.

Boeung Ket Coach Hao Socheat felt that his team did very well today and the key to their win was the good understanding and combination of play throughout the team. While he felt that Baihakki's red card was one factor which helped his team, Socheat felt that Warriors were off colour during the Cup tie. "Warriors did not play at their best. Some of their players did not perform. Of course, when their team was reduced to ten men, it certainly made it harder for them to come back. Also, Warriors had a lot of chances but they lacked a bit of luck and we had better luck."

On how far he thought Boeung Ket would go in the Cup this season, Socheat seemed conservative. "This is our second time taking part in this tournament. This is also our first win (in the RHB Cup) as we were eliminated in the first round the last time we took part. Hence, I just want to take a step-by-step approach as I still do not know who we will be facing in the next round. However, I have already achieved my target of getting past the first round."

Warriors Coach Razif Onn was understandably disappointed with the result. "We have to focus for the entire 90 minutes. Conceding the first goal was demoralizing for the team and for the next few goals, we played a very high line and they managed to tear our defence apart."

On the red card decision, Razif added "To be fair to our opponent, it was a red card because of Baihakki’s reaction. And it was not easy to contain Boeung Ket with a numerical disadvantage."

The 62 year old, who has been with Warriors since 1999, also hinted that changes may soon take place at Choa Chu Kang. "We may need to do something drastic to change the team. We've scored 18 goals in the S.League so far but it could have been a much higher number as we also missed several chances in the matches we've played so far. Looking at our goal difference, we've conceded as much as we've scored (Warriors have a GF-GA record of 18-16 so far) and this is not acceptable. Therefore, we may be looking to shore up both the front and the back lines."

With the international break taking place, Warriors will only play their next match on 16th June against a resurgent Geylang International. It remains to be seen if there would be any new faces coming in before the Geylang encounter as the S.League transfer window only closes on 22nd June. 

Full-Time at Choa Chu Kang Stadium - RHB Singapore Cup (29 May 2017):

Warriors FC - 1
Boeung Ket FC - 4


Warriors FC - Hafiz Nor 77'
Boeung Ket FC- Ajayi Samuel 53', Khuon Labovary 55', 75' 82'

Warriors FC: Hyrulnizam Juma’at (GK), Emmeric Ong, Baihakki Khaizan (C), Syaqir Sulaiman (Poh Yi Feng 84’), Zulfadli Zainal, Ridhuan Muhammad, Hafiz Osman, Kento Fukuda, Hafiz Nor (Fazli Jaffar 85’), Shahril Ishak, Joel Tshibamba (Clay Mathew Silvas 72’)

Boeung Ket FC: Sou Yaty (GK), Ly Vahed (Touch Pancharong 76’), Hikaru Mizuno (Sath Rosib 90’), Khuon Laboravy (C), Chhun Sothearath, Ly Mizan (Math Yamoin 86’), Sun Sovanrithy, Rous Samoeum, Esoh Omogba, Ajayi Samuel

All copyrights © 2017 are attributed to the respective contributors above.